Before: Compact Clutter
1 / 10
34, art director
Nicole is packing too many eye shadow quads and face powders, which eat up a ton of space.
2 / 10
Invest in a customizable palette. "Nicole can choose her favorite colors and swap them out each season," says Wade.
Here: Mary Kay Compact Pro, $35 (makeup and brushes sold separately)
Before: Downright Dirty
3 / 10
"Beth has good makeup, but it's grubby because the inside of her case is such a mess," says Wade.
4 / 10
A case with two pouches keeps cosmetics more organized. Wade recommends that Beth separate powders from creams and pack cleansing cloths for quick mop-ups.
Sonia Kashuk bag, $10; Yes To Cucumbers towelettes, $3; Maybelline New York Eye Studio Eyeshadow, $10; Revlon blush, $10; Origins foundation, $26.50; L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist, $9; Rimmel Royal Gloss, $5; Avon SuperMagnify Mascara, $8.50
Before: Lipstick Overload
5 / 10
Debbie wastes time trying to find stuff—and she's carrying eight lipsticks!
6 / 10
Who says lipstick has to come in a tube? Save space with a compact DIY lip palette. "Fill it with your 'greatest hits' of color so they're always in reach," says Wade.
Japonesque Lipstick Palette, $18 (lipstick not included)
Best If Used By...
7 / 10
How fresh is your makeup? Under ideal conditions it has at most a two-year shelf life, says Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetics chemist in Fairfield, New Jersey. "As soon as you open a product, the clock starts ticking." Make the most of your countdown with these simple rules:
1. STORE WISELY: Keep makeup in a dry environment, like your bedroom. Bacteria, mold, and yeast grow more easily in humid bathrooms.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO PACKAGING: Look for pump bottles when possible. Foundation or concealer with twist-off caps or pots that you dip your finger into allow bacteria to enter.
3. KNOW YOUR NATURALS: If you go green, plan on replacing your products more frequently. "Organic makeup lasts about half as long as traditional formulas," says Wilson.
4. USE YOUR SENSES: Be wary of foul odors or liquid makeup that has separated. It's the first sign that a product has gone bad.
When to toss
Mascara: Three to six months
Liquid eyeliner: Six months
Powder, blush, eye shadow, foundation: 1 year
Concealer, lipstick, lip gloss: 2 years
In the Bag
8 / 10
Looking for a better storage solution? These three cases are pretty and practical.
CHIC CARRYALL: Tory Burch Cindie case, $75: Splurge-worthy, thanks to the stout shape and stylish print.
9 / 10
TRIPLE THREAT: LeSportsac 3-Zip Cosmetic in Gum Drop, $20: Perfectly sized for your purse, and the zippered sections keep you organized.
10 / 10
JET-SETTER: Trina Audrey 3 Piece Travel Pouch set, $32: The clear bag doubles as a luxe (and reusable) plastic baggie for travel.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, October 2010.