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Makeup Must Haves: How to Build a Capsule Makeup Collection

Updated: Mar 18

Has it been more that 6 months since you cleaned out your makeup drawer or cosmetic bag? Is your collection overflowing with multiple eye shadow palettes, dried out mascaras, expired foundations, or dozens of lip colors? Do you wish you could simplify your products and streamline your routine? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then this blog is just for you!

Makeup is the finishing touch, the final accessory.” – Marc Jacobs

As a self-professed makeup lover, seller of cosmetics, and makeup artist over the last 28 years you could say that my makeup collection is pretty vast. Each season, when a new collection is launched I often buy one product in every new shade. I probably have at least 50 different products between lipsticks, lip glosses, lip liners, and lip balms. And that's just lip products! I am running out of room to store it all. Sure I use up product and throw away expired items from time to time, but it's still too much. It's like my closet from 4 years ago - stuffed so full I don't even know what I have and there's no way I could ever wear it all.

I used to stand in front of my closet with an overwhelming amount of possible outfit combinations and think "I have nothing to wear" even though I literally couldn't fit one more thing in there. Some days I'd try on 3-4 outfits before finally deciding on something that was "good enough" and usually I'd end up running late to work. Or I'd buy a new outfit for any kind of event whether it was a job interview, holiday party, or even just a first date. Which only added to the problem. Then I was introduced to Style by Color and the Closet Outfit Planner. Between learning my color code and finally learning how to build a capsule wardrobe, my outfit planning became more streamlined. I knew exactly which hues and pieces worked for my coloring and body type. Getting dressed each morning was so much less stressful and almost became effortless. Bonus, I often get compliments on my outfits each day!

Last year I realized that even though I had simplified my outfits, I was taking way too long each morning to decide what makeup look I was going to wear that day. My wardrobe woes were solved but now I had another area I could improve upon to save even more time each morning. I don't know about you but I like to get ready pretty quickly each morning as it allows me to sleep in just a tiny bit longer. I have no desire to wake up 2-3 hours before work just to spend that entire time getting ready. I like to be out the door in less than an hour if possible. Now I know a lot of women who also like to do the same thing will just skip out on wearing makeup all together. Whether or not to wear makeup is an individual choice but I personally like having it on most days, especially when I'm going into the office. I do feel it gives me a slightly more professional appearance. I will occasionally go makeup free but that's usually on the weekends or my work from home days.

To streamline my mornings I began to experiment with a "capsule makeup wardrobe". I figured if it worked for my closet, it would work for my cosmetics too. I narrowed down the specific products that I needed each day to create a professional, every day makeup look. Plus this collection is very easy to add on to when I want to create more glamorous looks for a special occasion. And I can even pare it down to just a few of the items for a dash out the door look.

If you want to simplify or refresh your makeup collection here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Go through your cosmetics and throw away any expired products

  2. Learn your best colors and purge anything that's not in your color code

  3. Figure out your skin type and let go of anything that doesn't work for it

  4. Get rid of everything you don't love or wouldn't purchase again

  5. Pull out the products you absolutely can't live without and start to build your capsule around those

If you want to know what's in my makeup bag, download my free checklist here:

Makeup Must Haves 10 Makeup Basics
Download PDF • 563KB

I also have a brand new makeup tutorial that will walk you through how I use those 10 products to create my signature, everyday look.

By having a curated selection of makeup items, you eliminate decision fatigue and simplify your morning routine, allowing you to get ready quickly and efficiently each day. Plus you'll save money by only purchasing items that you know you'll wear and love.

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Is It Time to Dump Your Makeup?

When's the last time you cleaned out your makeup bag? Most makeup products do not list manufacturing or expiration dates so how do you know when it’s time to toss an item? In the United States there a


This is brilliant, Dawn. I’ve been trying to downsize my products for some time. I have everything stored neatly, but so many products! And I feel guilty when I toss anything. I wish products came with an actual expiration date.

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That would really be a help.

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