What's your criteria for keeping or decluttering a face product?

First is if I really love the formula, because if I personally LOVE a product, then I am more apt to keep it regardless of its utility to me as a reviewer. If it’s exceptionally bad across the board, then I don’t bother keeping at all because who even needs to hold onto to compare later on?

Otherwise, I look at the brand, whether I feel like it’s popular enough to merit keeping for potential comparisons or being able to refresh my memory on formula later on down the road. If it’s a limited edition product, I am less likely to keep these days. I don’t have room, and I don’t go back into the archives nearly as much now as I did years ago (because my photo quality is more consistent and has improved over time).

For foundations, if it doesn’t match me, I usually declutter because I will not wear it. I try to keep an assortment of popular foundations/concealers on hand in my shade range (or there about), and then I’ll just declutter when they get discontinued or a brand comes out with a new formula that seems to be more well-received. I avoid keeping liquid and cream products, whether highlighter, blush, or bronzer, unless it’s a shade I absolutely love. Then, I’ll keep it in and try to use it occasionally for photos or the like. They just don’t keep as long as powder-based products, so I try to pass them along while they’re still good.

— Christine


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Valerie Avatar

As with lip and eye products, I keep everything unless it’s gone bad. I tend to switch products periodically and love having options in my rotation.

Lesley Avatar

If a product settles into pores and lines, it goes immediately. I can pretty much make anything else work by mixing things together and/or refining my application methods and that’s what I have been doing to avoid the waste.

Ana Maria Avatar

With me owning just one face product of each (primer, foundation, concealer, powder) and repurchasing same items again and again, there’s no need for declutter.

But as a general rule I declutter whatever is not a shade match, especially if the undertone is bad. I don’t tan and my color doesn’t variate during the years, so for me it’s useless to keep wrong shades.

I usually can make almost any primer, foundation or concealer to work, by experimenting with application techniques, combining specific products (e.g. some foundations don’t do well with a specific primer, but look amazing with others), etc. But if the powder doesn’t set my makeup on place, doesn’t last and it starts separating… it’s out!

Nancy T Avatar

For liquid face products; I will get rid of it it begins to smell bad or just no longer works for me.
For powder products; that’s another story altogether! It has to look really bad on me for me to declutter it. Even hard pan may not be a reason to toss it if it’s something I absolutely love and still enjoy how it looks on me.
Cream products are in another category all their own. Those can turn in various ways. CP SS Cheek products can dry out, yet something that is a true cream can go off and no longer be healthy to use on ones face. If that happens, I’ll toss it out.

Z Avatar

Face products are my least, and most critical, purchased products. If I buy a blush, concealer, bronzer, foundation, etc…it’s gone through the ringer as far as wear to make sure the ingredients get along with my skin, the color is right, and the formula doesn’t dry out my skin. So everything I’m keeping is because it works. And I’ll keep it until it goes bad, same as the rest.

Genevieve Avatar

I very rarely declutter a face product, simply because I only have one kind of foundation – L’Oreal’s True Match that I use all the time. And ditto for blushes – at the moment I am ‘using’ The Balm’s Hot Mama and I have Clinique’s Melon Pop when I have finished Hot Mama.

Mariella Avatar

If it smells, has separated in a bad way (not just needing a good shake) or just “gone off”, it’s tossed. For powder blushes, even if the colour is so wrong for me, I still hang onto it if it’s on the pricier side (MAC’s Early Morning is a prime example) because there are rare times I will use it, just because I paid a fair bit of cash for it. I have MAC’s Desert Rose – the first blush I ever bought from them and I’ve had it for years and years – and finally discarded it because not only had I hit pan (first time ever!) but it had also developed “hard pan”.

Suzie Q. Miller Avatar

I may have a hoarder mentality because I rarely declutter face products. After reading your post, Christine, it did inspire me to go through and declutter some things–I went through my foundation drawer last night and plan to go through the blush and highlighter drawer next. Foundation drawer includes foundations per se, primers, TM, BB and CC creams, and concealers. I declutter foundation if it breaks up on my skin in less than 8 hours or oxidizes significantly. No need to keep those, they are not going to get used no matter how much $$$ spent. If a foundation is not a shade match, that is not necessarily a deal breaker, I am known to mix and match. In fact I will mix and match different formulas until I am happy and enjoy the experimentation process. I usually keep one that is too light and one that is too dark to mix with the daily foundation in order to alter the tone for those inbetween seasons, like summer going into fall and spring going into summer when my color changes a lot. I got rid of anything that does not work no matter how I tried, which was a few things and some older foundations which I knew were past expiration. I kept all the concealers but creasing or lifting foundation underneath would be a reason to toss. Primers I toss if they don’t work that is to say if they don’t extend the wear time of the foundation, unless they add some SPF protection factor or make a foundation go on better. I destashed one face powder, LM Glow because it had a weird golden shine to it and I wish I had known this before I bought a full size. I was using for decollate but I decided, why? No reason to toss any powders unless they were too shiny or too dark for shade match. My plan is to really look at my extensive highlighters and blush and get rid of duplicates unless they are outstanding formula. My criteria would be anything too dark for my complexion or too shiny as in “you can see me from space” gets tossed. I will look at tossing any cream or liquid based products that are over 2 years old.

Deanne Avatar

I’m similar to you, and it’s hard for me to declutter because I hate the waste and there’s only so many people I can pass things to, especially now when people are more germ aware. Cleaning products is easy though 🙂 I’m trying to take one product at a time and make an effort to use it. If I really hate it though I will throw it away.

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