How to Organize Your Makeup

Catherine Q. O'Neill, Allure magazine

After working at Allure for more than a year, you'd think I'd have the vanity of every girl's dreams. But to be honest with you, it stresses me out. Every morning, I rifle through 45 lipsticks to find the one I wear each day. On date night, I open 10 palettes before finding the black smoky kit-as opposed to the brown, grey, blue, purple, tan, pink, gold, neon, and pastel smoky kits (it's a sickness). I needed help, so when I met Jill Pollack, organizational expert for the Schick Intuition Simplicity Project, I turned my vanity over to her. Here are her tips for beauty junkies like me:

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Make it your space. This is the one time during the day that you get to be by yourself and concentrate on feeling beautiful, Pollack says. So personalize it. Instead of stashing products in stale plastic bins, collect them in sentimental objects that you're not using. You can drop eyeshadows in your grandmother's old teacups, or arrange your makeup brushes in a pretty votive or an antique glass, Pollack says.

Don't hide it all away.
Some people feel like they shouldn't keep anything on the counter, but it's called a vanity for a reason. "There's nothing wrong with a bouquet of mascaras or makeup brushes," Pollack says. "Every kitchen has a ceramic pitcher of wooden spatulas-and you're basically prepping your face."

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Create a "shopping area."
So you have a few (or dozens of) trendy shadows that you can't bear to part with? Just separate them from your basics. Pollack has her own mini-Sephora tucked away in a box in a drawer. In it she keeps the new products that she hasn't tried yet, but would like to one day. "I know it's there if I run out of anything," she says. "But it doesn't get in my way."

Have a go bag.
If you're like me, you probably can't fit all your cosmetics in one makeup bag. So create an emergency kit that you keep in a side drawer that you can grab and take with you on mornings when you don't you don't have time to sit down at your (newly-spruced up) vanity. It should include products like concealer, mascara, liner, and a gloss or lipstick-"just enough so that you feel refreshed," says Pollock. "You don't need an entire eyeshadow palette in there."

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Be willing to say goodbye.
Think of your vanity like your closet. When something goes out of style, get rid of it. "You're probably not going to wear that cobalt blue eyeshadow again," Pollock says. "Unless you work at a fashion magazine." (See my problem now?)

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