Makeup Bag Overhaul Part Two: Going Minimalist.

Hi there! I hope your weekend is off to a lovely start

In my last post, I wrote about the challenges of making sure that your makeup bag and bathroom cabinets contain products that are safe, natural, and eco-friendly.

Today, we’re talking about step one: reducing the number of products that you use. This is arguably the most important step. When we buy less stuff, we automatically decrease the waste that we produce (lessening our negative impact on the environment!), and we also decrease risks to our health. Imagine that your only beauty product was a simple bar of soap (unrealistic for most people, I know). You would be producing very, very little waste- a simple bar of soap does not have a lot of wasteful packaging. And it would be simple to research your soap brand and make sure that is free of toxins and chemicals. Now compare that to a makeup bag chock full of eyeshadow, mascara, lipsticks, foundation, shampoo, conditioner, three kinds of body wash… you get the idea. Simplifying is easier on the environment, our wallets, and our health.

But how exactly does this consolidating go? I’ve broken it down for you: 

1)   First thing’s first: throw away everything that’s old and icky. This includes any eye makeup that is more than three months old.

2)   Make a pile of your everyday essentials. This includes things like shampoo, deodorant, and foundation (if you use it).

3)   Put everything else in a box and hide it in the bottom of your closet. Or bury it in your backyard. Or just throw it away right off the bat (you’ll do that eventually, so might as well cut to the chase).

4)   Now, you are just left with your everyday essentials! That’s great. But if you’re anything like me, you’re probably staring at the pile of your “essentials”… and it’s huge! Don’t panic.

With just a little research, it’s easy to find ways to pare down and eliminate some products altogether. I’ve compiled a list of the ones that I thought were most useful!

Swaps and substitutions:

  • Ditch the lip balm and just use your regular moisturizer (with SPF). It might not taste like vanilla, but it gets the job done just as well.
  • Use a simple bar of soap in place of body wash. Soap has less packaging (think of how much plastic a bottle of body wash uses!), lasts longer, and is much more cost-effective. If you live in a setting where you have to share a shower with multiple people, buy a soap caddy to store your soap!
  • You don’t need to wear foundation, powder, AND concealer every day. It’s fine to stash these away for special occasions, but use only ONE of these every day to cover up blemishes. I like to mix a few drops of foundation in with my moisturizer. Some women just dab on concealer as needed.
  • Eyeshadow and highlighter can be used interchangeably.
  • Similarly, lipstick can be used as cream blush (they also make lip/cheek stains).
  • A sun-kissed face from hiking/swimming/surfing/adventuring > bronzer. Every time.
  • Use either mascara OR eyeliner to define your eyes. Both is unnecessary.
  • Coconut oil is a super beauty product- you can use it in place of body lotion, lip balm, makeup remover, and hair product, among many, many other things. Oh, and you can cook with it too! Just Google coconut oil uses and you’ll come up with more than you ever needed to know. 🙂
  • You do not need multiple types of face wash. Pick one gentle cleanser, and if you are feeling like you need to exfoliate, look up some homemade exfoliators online (one easy one: add a little bit of sugar to your normal cleanser).
  • Go bare-faced every once in a while!
  • Use homemade treatments if you want to, say, deep-condition your hair or use a face mask. You’ll know exactly what you’re putting on your skin, and it can be fun to come up with new concoctions!

Things to skip altogether:

  • Toner, primer, extra shades of eyeshadow, special creams and lotions, towelettes of any kind, mouthwash.

Here is my pared-down list of necessities: SPF 30 facial moisturizer, foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, face wash, coconut oil, sunscreen.

I can definitely pare down this list even more (I’m thinking about ditching the face wash altogether and just using soap – has anyone tried this?!), but for now, I think I’ve made some pretty good progress! It feels really, really great to know that I don’t have to lug a huge makeup bag along with me wherever I go in order to feel confident; a few basics will work just fine. This is also awesome in terms of traveling – lighter suitcase = better always.

Bottom line: You need way less than you think you do! Pare down and learn how to use products in multiple ways, and you’ll find your wallet fuller and your skin and the earth happier. Stay tuned for the next post; it’ll be about the best natural products to phase into your makeup bag.

Any tips for reducing the amount of beauty products you use? What multi-purpose product do you love? 


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