How to Build a Capsule Makeup Collection

CC BY 2.0. Mainstream

Learn how to pare down your makeup collection to the basics, and there will be no more frantic digging through your makeup bag in search of an elusive item!

Do you have a makeup bag bursting with partially-used eye shadow palettes, old tubes of mascara, and foundation that doesn’t match your skin tone properly? Maybe it’s time for a purge and a new approach to how you organize your makeup. Learn how to create a “capsule makeup collection” that features only items you really use and like.

Applying the same method that you use when creating a capsule wardrobe will result in a carefully curated, versatile, and smaller makeup collection. It will be easier to find exactly what you need, whenever you need it. No more frantic digging through your makeup bag in search of an elusive item!

Erin Verena is a video blogger who talks about eco-fashion, minimalism, and non-toxic beauty items. One of her excellent vlogs explains how to create the perfect capsule makeup collection, and the main points below are taken from that video.

Define your goals:

Ask yourself what you want from your makeup collection before doing anything else. Do you want to create a signature look? Are you leaning toward an easier, faster makeup routine? Do you wish to become a makeup minimalist? Do you want plastic-free, cruelty-free, or non-toxic products?

Do a purge:

Start by getting rid of any old, expired, broken, damaged, or dried-up products, as well as anything you know for sure you don’t like anymore or never use. Be ruthless.

Start with your favorites:

Build your capsule by selecting the ‘go-to’ products that you reach for on a daily basis, the ones you can’t live without. Be critical during this stage: do you really love it? Don’t keep things out of habit.

Seek inspiration:

This is the fun part. You’re starting anew, which means it is a great chance to pinpoint your ideal look and start building it. Collect reference images of a general look you want. Watch simple beauty tutorials online that will teach you how to achieve it. In other words, know what you want before you start shopping again.

Fill out your capsule:

Start shopping, but don’t head to the drugstore. Support makeup companies whose mission statements and ethics you endorse, whether it’s cruelty-free, plastic-free and biodegradable, non-toxic ingredients, fair trade, etc. Search TreeHugger’s archives for interesting companies doing great work.

Versatility is key:

Choose products that work together both in terms of color and appearance, but also physically. Some lip colors can double as cheek tints; some eye shadows can be used on your lips or as eye liner, etc. Verena loves jojoba oil for moisturizing skin, smoothing hair, and removing makeup. Have looks that can build on each other without requiring separate sets of makeup.

Be critical of new products:

Before buying something, ask yourself, “How will this fit into my routine?” When trying new items, order samples to make sure you actually like them first. Remember that blocking new, unwanted products from your makeup capsule is much easier than having to purge them later.