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How to curate a capsule make-up collection

How to curate a capsule make-up collection


In a world where thousands of new products are launched daily, promising to deliver results you could only dream of, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Our dressing tables quickly become cluttered and our bathroom shelves overflow, and yet it’s impossible to get through the sheer volume.  

We’ve all seen the make-up collection videos on Youtube with whole rooms dedicated to the stuff, but skincare and make-up are perishable — meaning one day they will ‘go off’ — and so we must be mindful to use up what we have within those timeframes to minimise waste. I’m a huge advocate of finding the right products that work for you, are easy to use and are multipurpose. Having a curated make-up collection also means you’ll save time getting ready in the morning and there’s less room for error — no more running out the door with brown eyeshadow smeared across your cheeks mistaking it for blusher!

Gather all your make-up and lay it out in front of you. Separate everything into 4 piles:


  • gone off/past it’s use-by date/just plain yucky
  • things you don’t like and won’t use (but a friend might)
  • products to prioritise — they’re already open and need to be used up soon
  • the Holy Grail pile


The first thing to do is easy — get rid of any gone off make-up. You can usually tell if something is gone off because it will have an odd smell or the ingredients may have separated, changing its appearance. Check the use-by date and the ‘open jar’ symbol. Scoop out any leftover product, clean the packaging and separate any lids, etc. You can then take the empty, clean packaging to your local beauty recycling initiative, such as John Lewis’ BeautyCycle or The Body Shop’s Return Recycle Repeat program.

Next, focus on the products you either don’t like or just never use. They deserve a better home. Share them out between family and friends. If you have any unopened and unused products you could investigate donating them to a women’s refuge (call to check first) or check out websites such as www.beautybanks.org.uk.

Step three — the ‘products to prioritise’ pile — is an important one. These are the things that need to be used up first, before they go bad. This is probably the hardest part of the whole process because you may not absolutely love a product, but it’s also not awful and you don’t want it to go to waste. You’ll need to use it as often as possible over the next few weeks until every last drop has gone, which can be a tedious task.

And now for the Holy Grail products. These are the products that you just adore and repurchase over and over again; they always make you feel good and never let you down, just like your favourite pair of jeans. Give everything a clean and arrange them within your make-up bag.

After all this purging, you may find that you’re missing a few essential items. It’s a good idea to make a list and do some research so you can make mindful purchases. Here’s a list of a minimal yet comprehensive make-up kit that should suit most people for pretty much any occasion:


  • Foundation/tinted moisturiser — depending on your preference
  • Concealer
  • Setting powder
  • Blusher (I personally prefer a cream blush as it adds a lovely glow and works well on the lips and eyes, too)
  • Your preferred brow product — powder/pomade/gel/pencil
  • Eye make-up (this is a broad category and everyone has different levels of confidence with it, but in general I like a mid-tone taupe cream eyeshadow and a soft kohl liner)
  • A great mascara
  • 2 lipsticks — a natural, easy-to-wear shade and something bolder for evenings and parties (both from Juni, of course)


There’s plenty of room for interpretation when decluttering and refining your capsule make-up collection, so do what feels right for you and enjoy the process.

Madeleine x