What's your criteria for keeping or decluttering a lip 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 lip products, it’s really about a formula that I’d actually want to wear again. I know I very, very rarely reach for a liquid matte or even full-on matte lipstick, so I find I pass those along sooner rather than later. I like a lot of colors, and since the cost is sunk for me, I will keep entire formulas over just a few shades if I really love the formula. It’s very rare that I’ll keep one shade and not its siblings!

— Christine


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Z Avatar

1 – Does it have mold? (only one set of lipsticks have ever molded on me. Indie brand. Typical “oooh preservatives are bad, y’all!” spiel…obvs molded within a year and I don’t know about you, but I find bacteria and mold to be way more “toxic” than preservatives; but here we are in the age of cultivating and spreading ignorance for the sake of the mighty dollar and what sells better than fear (or sex. or fear of not getting enough sex?) Anyway!

2 – Does it have an absolutely obnoxious scent?

3 – Is it pink, purple, or mauve?

4 – Is the formula too drying or finicky?

5 – If none of 1-4 applies I keep it even if I haven’t used it in over a year. I like lipsticks and it’s a weird thing I seemingly can’t (or won’t try to) stop collecting.

Ana Maria Avatar

Good point on preservatives.
I understand that people are sometimes more concerned about preservatives in lip products, since lip products can be easily ingested, even in small quantities without realizing. But lipsticks are also meant to carry around, to re-apply during the day. It faces more temperature changes than a foundation sitting in a vanity at room temperature always, and it’s exposed to more germs, and the creamier formula of a lipstick makes a good Petri dish.
So I’ll also take the preservatives (of course, ones that are safe and scientifically approved) over the mold and bacteria.

DVa Avatar

I recently did this, however I didn’t dig deep enough.
I’m going to de-clutter again soon.
Out: old liquid matte formulas and shades I’ll never wear.
From there ‘ll look at shades I would wear but see how many dupes I have, and get rid of the poorer quality ones.

Rachel R. Avatar

1. Has it changed? If it has changed appearance, scent, taste, or how well it works, it gets thrown out It’s expired.

2. Do I like the formula? If not, it gets passed on to someone who might get on with it, or thrown out.

3. Do I like the color? I might keep a great, unique color in a less preferred (but not terrible) formula.

Ana Maria Avatar

For me the first criteria is how well the shade looks on me. I have a particular complexion and few lipstick shades really suit me. Pre-pandemic, I would have never purchased a shade before trying in store with my regular makeup on.

Otherwise, I just declutter lipsticks if they expire or the formula goes bad (consistency and smell of lipstick change).

For me formula is also a factor; I only like comfortable mattes and satins. I don’t like too creamy formulas that easily move around. If I receive a lipstick sample for free in a formula that I don’t like, that’s also an instant declutter.

Valerie Avatar

I hoard lip things. The only reason I get rid of something is if it’s gone bad (look or smell). I’ve kept lip products for many years, from back when there were *no* expiration dates on cosmetics. A lot contain preservatives and have stayed fresh as the day I met them. Oddly, some newer formulas haven’t kept as well. I don’t buy green/clean formulas anymore – I just don’t go through anything in under a year.

Nancy T Avatar

1.) Has it gone off and now smells or looks funky? That would be my main reason to declutter it. If it happens to be in special packaging that actually means something to me, I may not.
2.) Do I ever even use it anymore? If not, then what am I waiting for, right? Trashcan or Back-to-MAC time!
3.) Does this shade/formula still flatter my face anymore? If not, and only lightly used, I might just sterilize it thoroughly and gift it to someone who would actually enjoy wearing it!
4.) Liquid lipsticks that have dried out or don’t look quite right 😉

Nina Avatar

Just this morning I decluttered 7 Revlon SL Glass Shine lipsticks. I never liked the colors but mostly they were too glossy/greasy/slippery and the case had that nasty unremoveable sticker. I have a few dc’d MAC lipsticks that I reach for and are fine. I’m pretty careful before I buy any makeup that it’s near perfect so I don’t have to toss but rather use it.

Genevieve Avatar

Well, this is an interesting question for me to answer as I am about to declutter my lipstick bag.
What stays: lipsticks that I find comfortable on my lips and the shades don’t turn pink on me. These include: CP’s Foolish, Tea Thyme, LA Lady, Gallop; Maybelline’s Spice for Me, Mauve for Me; Laura Geller’s Battery Park Bronze and a few others

What is a maybe: CP’s Slow Dance and 21 Questions – because of the vanilla taste that I don’t particularly like but the lipstick is still good.

What gets given away (to my sister and daughter in law): CP’s Liquid Courage (turns pink) and a few pinkish tones to my daughter in law

What goes: anything broken or far too dark for me to wear now.

The hard part of owning so many CP lipsticks is that the tubes are all the same and it makes finding the one you want a bit tricky. I do wish they had lids, like Maybelline, that show the colour and are easy to identify in a bag.

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