Makeup Declutter: Creating a Cruelty-Free Makeup Collection

It’s the changing of the season and that means it’s time for a makeup declutter. You would think after all these years of trying to declutter my life I would have gotten my makeup under control. However, I have chosen to focus most of my energy on my closet and changing over to a vegan lifestyle. Now that I’m more comfortable with where I am, it’s time to tackle my makeup collection.

This is not my first massive declutter and I know it might not be my last. When I first went vegan I made an effort to get rid of the items that were not cruelty-free. This meant a lot of Maybelline lipsticks and L’Oreal mascaras. It was tough at the time to say goodbye to so many of my favorite items. It was tougher to come to terms with the fact that so many of my favorite items were tested on animals.

At the time I didn’t worry about which items were vegan. It was tough enough to try to figure out the cruelty-free status of my entire collection. However, I did make the promise to myself that I would only purchase vegan and cruelty-free items from then on! Eventually, I plan to mark all of my non-vegan items and replace them slowly with their vegan counterparts!


Before we start, here are some helpful resources if you’re trying to navigate the world of Cruelty-Free and Vegan Beauty. These pages really helped me and made the already stressful process of decluttering, a lot less stressful.

Logical Harmony – New To Cruelty-Free? Start Here.

Ethical Elephant – Vegan Beauty & Cosmetics Explained

Cruelty-Free Kitty – List of Officially Cruelty-Free Brands — 2018

My Makeup Collection

I was obsessed with YouTube beauty gurus and my interest with makeup became a full-blown obsession. My collection kept growing as I learned about new techniques and new products. Ironically, at this time I didn’t wear a lot of makeup (and still don’t), but I kept telling myself that I needed more. Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that the life I was living was not the one I wanted. Something had to change. It was then that I knew I needed to declutter.

My perfect makeup collection gives me the option for natural and bold makeup looks! I want to be able to express myself no matter the situation. I am attracted to pictures with bold looks, big lashes, and bright lips. At the same time, I love the look of natural, dewy, no-makeup looks. Not to mention, my collection must also be vegan and cruelty-free! That is my only non-negotiable.

I love having the option of wearing a full-face, but for the most part, I like to focus on eating well and taking care of my skin so that I can look and feel great! With this in mind, it didn’t make sense for me to keep most of the items that I had on hand.

Read More: My Skincare Routine (Vegan & Cruelty-Free)

Just like when I first discovered the concept of the capsule wardrobe, I had to come to terms that to get the life I want I have to make some hard decisions. By decluttering my collection, I can see what items I have that fit my wants and needs without being distracted by the items that don’t. In this post, I’ll be talking about the products that I decided to keep and why. I don’t plan on going too in-depth on the products I’m decluttering because then this post would be twice as long!

Read More: My Capsule Wardrobe For Fall 2018

V – this product is vegan!


Base Products

This was the easiest category of all because I already had it paired down to a minimum. I wear a full-face maybe 5-7 times a year, so I don’t have a lot of products. After getting rid of my non-cruelty-free items during my first round declutter I was left with these items. In an ideal world, these would all be my holy grail items. I intend on phasing them out one by one until they are, but for now, they will do!

Wet n Wild Coverall Face Primer – I am not too crazy about this primer, but it was the only primer that I had left after my initial declutter of non-cruelty-free items. It feels a bit drying on my skin and I don’t know if it does much to extend the life of my makeup. I am going to use this up any way that I can and eventually replace it with a primer that gives me moisture and glow.

NYX HD Concealer (06 Glow) V – I bought this concealer during a fervor to buy the perfect highlighting concealer. I like the consistency and I like to use it every once in a while for my under-eye area. I enjoy it for its low cost, but I don’t think it’s a good color match for me.

Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation (03 Light Beige) – This foundation is higher coverage so I thin it down with oil or primer. I go through a cycle of buying full coverage foundation once a year for a wedding or holiday party and then getting rid of it during the warmer months. To end that cycle I’m keeping this on hand until I find something better.

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Setting Spray V Not pictured. This got lost somewhere and I didn’t see it until I was almost done with this post. Setting spray is the only face product that I I’m crazy about. Maybe it’s just the hot Arizona weather, but nothing makes me happier than spraying my face after doing my makeup. The setting spray is decent, but I’m always on the lookout for something new.

Kept: 4 out of 4


Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

My blush collection before my initial declutter to get rid of non-cruelty-free items was ridiculous. I went through a phase of needing every single color blush especially bold blushes like dark purples and bright corals. However, I came to the sad realization that when worn sheer (which is what I tend to do) most blushes look the same. Similarly, I realized that while I love cooled-tone purples and bright red blushes on models, I don’t like them on myself.

e.l.f. Powder Blush Palette (Dark) V – I kept the dark palette and not the light palette because fall and winter are around the corner. I want to make sure I have darker blushes on hand. An item I’ll mention later in the highlighting section had some lighter blushes, so it made no sense to keep both. I like this packaging for travel because the pans are interchangeable with the contour and illuminating palettes. The huge mirror is also a plus for me!

Kept: 1 out of 6


Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

I went through a brief period being completely obsessed with highlighters. I wanted every single color, the more intense the better. I wanted to cover my entire face in highlighter (sometimes I still do). I wanted to glow like a glazed donut! The crazier the color, the more I pined over it! I had to come to terms that a highlighter with purple or green reflects didn’t make sense in my life, nor did most of the highlighters I was hoarding. Now I just admire them on Instagram in between pictures of cute pigs and burritos.

e.l.f. Illuminating Palette V – This was supposed to be my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette dupe, but not quite. I kept this because I wanted to have options for more subtle highlights. The right-most side is my favorite because I love warm highlights. These are subtle, but not subtle enough to use as finishing powders. Be careful when removing the pans to use with the other elf palettes because these powders are very soft! I almost lost one of my favorite pans during my last trip to New York because I popped it out too hard.

Read More: 5 Days In New York In A Personal Bag

e.l.f. Shimmering Facial Whip (Lilac Petal) V – I’m pretty sure this line has been discontinued so I’ve linked to a similar product from the elf product page. I like to mix a drop of this with foundation or lotion when I want to be very glowy. I also love putting this on my shoulders or cleavage area when I want to feel like a disco ball all over!

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette – Since this is a limited edition item I couldn’t make myself say goodbye to it. I love how intense the highlights can be and it’s a shame that they are not vegan. The blushes are my favorite blushes in my collection since they can be worn sheer or easily built up. In a perfect world, this palette would be all I need for both blush and highlight. I want to use up as much of this as possible before replacing it with a vegan alternative. Thankfully Becca does have some great vegan and cruelty-free products.

Kept: 3 out of 6

Bronzer & Contour

Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

I was never one to go heavy on the contour, but even I got swept up in the contour kit fever that hit YouTube. Thankfully for my wallet, I mostly stuck to drugstore contour kits. It was a tough decision, but I decided to say goodbye to the Wet n Wild contour palettes. I really love their formula, but ultimately it is easier to have one item than two. The elf palette is also more compact and easier to store making my decision final.

e.l.f. Contour Palette (Light) V – This is a very solid contour palette, especially for the low price. I like having the cool-toned contour and warm bronzer in the same palette. I also love using the peach shade to set my concealer or to set my eye primer. Originally I was disappointed that the white shade was a satin instead of a matte highlight, but now I appreciate the variety that it adds to the palette. It acts as an extremely subtle highlight and can be used to brighten areas of the face. This is a great item to always have in my travel makeup bag because it can also be used as eyeshadow and the huge mirror makes it even more versatile.

Hard Candy Baked Bronzer (Hula Hula) – I love this bronzer. It adds a very beautiful bronze glow. I tend to be really heavy handed with this, but it never makes me feel like an Oompa Loompa. I also like wearing this as a blush and eyeshadow on days where I want to feel like I am lounging on the beach. I’m sure it would also make for a great highlighter on darker skin tones!

Kept: 2 out of 4


Lipstick & Liquid Lipstick

Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

I had a big thing for Maybelline and Rimmel, so the majority of my most loved and worn colors had to be let go. After getting rid of my non-cruelty-free lipsticks I was left with a mismatch of colors. I am sad to let go of my Wet n Wild lipsticks. I love the colors and the formula. However, as I am streamlining my makeup collection I want to make sure that everything I have is good for travel. The packaging on Wet n Wild lipsticks leaves a lot to be desired. You can’t just toss a lipstick in your bag without being afraid that it will open up and smear over everything you love.

I put myself on a lipstick detox and haven’t bought lipstick in over a year! I want to keep that streak going until I figure out exactly what colors I want in my collection.


Urban Decay Vice Lipstick (Conspiracy)  – This lipstick was a gift from my best friend. We both fell in love with the brown lip trend that was going through Instagram a couple of years ago. This one might get decluttered in the future, but I still haven’t worn it enough to feel like I did it justice. Fall is coming up and I’ll have more opportunities to wear it and maybe fill my Instagram with brown lip selfies.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick (Slayer) V – This lipstick was also a gift from the same friend. She enables my desire to have every weird colored lipstick! Even though I’ve never worn this out of my house, I’m keeping this around. I love the packaging, I love the memories it brings me, and I love to wear it at home by myself whenever my inner Goth kid wants to come out.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick Set (Famous, Audition, Legendary, Fig, Primrose) – This gift set was also a gift from the same friend. I’m very fond of it because she took the time to make sure that it was cruelty-free. Since I’m trying to optimize my makeup collection for travel, it made sense to keep all of these. Since these are minis I want to use them all up. It’ll give me a good idea of which colors I want to repurchase.

Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme (11 Precious) V –  I’m crazy about a good nude lip and this color is perfect for my skin tone. It’s nude with a little bit of pink so it doesn’t make me look like I am dehydrated or dead. I like having a nude in liquid lipstick form because I don’t want to have to reapply my lip color over and over again. I really like the formula of the Amore Matte Lip Cremes, they don’t dry my lips out like a lot of the liquid lipsticks I’ve tried in the past. I would definitely consider repurchasing this if I ever finish it.

Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Creme (06 Mattely In Love) V – This is my Christmas/New Year’s/Valentine’s Day color. I love that I don’t have to worry about the red getting on my teeth or all over my face. It stays on pretty well through meals as long as I keep away from oily foods. That makes this the perfect holiday party lip and secures its position in my collection.

Kept: 10 out of 27

Lip Liner

Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

It made no sense for me to have as many lip liners as I did. I got caught up in the craze of Kylie lip kits and trying to recreate them with drugstore items. I went through a brief time of trying to perfect the overlined lip, but I never liked the look enough to justify the time spent. I decided to keep the most neutral color and get rid of everything else.

Milani Color Statement Lipliner (09 Spice) – There was a lot of hype around this lip liner and I tracked it down almost immediately. The color is fairly neutral and makes for a great nude lip. I can see myself using this in place of a lipstick in a pinch. I want to see how much of it I can use before I get sick of having to sharpen it.

Kept: 1 out of 8


Mascara & Eyeliner

Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

I used to be the person that had 10 mascaras at the same time even though I only really liked one or two. I needed to have every single formula and every single brush type. I was chasing the false eyelash look while at the same time trying to figure out how to create a no-mascara look.

Similarly, I used to have every single eyeliner color that I could get my hands on. Even though I only ever reached for bold black eyeliner. I’ve come to terms that I don’t like the way different colored eyeliners look on me. I just need something to give me the bold cat-eye that I gravitate towards.

Wet n Wild Take On the Day Eyeshadow Primer V–  This is now called, the Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer. This is a decent eyeshadow primer, but I’m neutral about it. When this is finished I plan on using concealer as a primer to simplify my routine. At least until I find a better low-cost vegan primer.

Physicians Formula Eye Booster (Ultra Black) V – This eyeliner is the best drugstore eyeliner ever. I have repurchased it three times and will continue to do so unless they change it. The brush tip makes achieving a bold wing easy (or at least easier). Get it in Ultra Black to make sure that your eyeliner is a perfect matte black.

Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara V – This is my wedding mascara. I have not cried in it yet to test it, but I have a wedding coming up in November so it’s staying until then.

Pacifica Dream Big 7 in 1 Mascara V – There was once a time when I would use two different mascaras, one with the lengthening wand and one with a volumizing wand, to get the look I wanted for my lashes. This mascara allows me to do that without having to have two different products. And the packaging is amazing. I love it so much and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Kept: 4 out of 7

Eyeshadow Palettes & Singles

Left: Items Leaving Right: Items Staying

Just like most of the products, I spoke about above I owned too many eyeshadows for one person to reasonably use. It might be a sign of me maturing, but by the time that I got to this category, I was ready to let go of everything I didn’t completely love. The Too Faced palettes were some of the first great quality eyeshadows that I bought. I loved using them, but I’ve had them for a long time and it’s time to move on. I’m also sad to get rid of the Lorac Shadows, but it was becoming evident that I wasn’t using them because of their bulky packaging. They hard to pack and annoying to reach for.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance – I was ready to get rid of everything so that I could focus on getting use out of this. I remember watching countless Modern Renaissance tutorials and reviews and pining over this palette. After trips to multiple Ultas I was able to track one down. I love everything about this palette, except for the fact that it is not vegan. I plan to get as much use out of this as I can, while at the same time trying to find a vegan alternative.

Wet n Wild Color Icon (Nutty) V – I love to use this shadow on days where I have to wear makeup but I’m low on time. It’s easy to just pop on the lid because the shimmer gives it a nice dimension. The only thing I don’t like about this shadow is the packaging.

Wet n Wild Color Icon (Panther) V – This is a great black eyeshadow, especially for the price. I love using this in place of eyeliner to create a soft, diffused wing look.

NYX Prismatic Shadow (Mermaid) – It’s hard for me to get rid of this color even though I know in the big picture it will have to go. I love how much I feel like a mermaid whenever I use it, and I use it as an inner corner highlight when I’m feeling bold. 

NYX Prismatic Shadow (Frostbite) – This eyeshadow is amazing. The silver with a purple reflect is beautiful. If I was a bolder person I would even use this as a highlight. 

Kept: 5 out of 12


Kept: 30 out of 74 (15 Vegan!)

I was able to get rid of almost 60% of my makeup in one declutter. I’m really happy with that number! For the first time, I can fit all of my makeup in one acrylic makeup holder. It’s easier to see and remember what products I have. Especially because now I have this blog post to refer to.

When I started my declutter I fully intended to pare down my makeup brushes too, but after finishing up with I was exhausted. I’ll probably do a brush declutter in a few weeks so be on the lookout!


After my declutter, it is clear that there are some “gaps” in my collection. I am planning to live with my makeup the way it is for a few months to get a better understanding of what I want before planning on how to fill those gaps. However, there are a few things that pop out to me. Among those are:

  1. Neutral Eyeshadow Palette. I would love to have a neutral eyeshadow palette that has everything I need to create a very simple eye look. Preferably with a black eyeshadow and a taupe so that I can get rid of my two Wet n Wild singles. It would be even better if I could find this in a sleek and compact packaging so that it takes up less space when I travel.
  2. Better Face Primer. I am not too in love with my Coverall primer and once it is done I will not repurchase. I would love to find a primer that I can mix in with my foundation for a perfect light coverage. An illuminating primer to give me a good glow and help my makeup last longer would be a dream.
  3. Eyebrow Gel. I ran out of eyebrow gel after my New York trip and have not repurchased. My eyebrows are big and unruly so it is a must for me even on days where I wear nothing else. Since I’m unemployed my days consist of being at home with limited outside interaction. However, I would like to replace my eyebrow gel soon so I’m not known as the hermit with the crazy eyebrows.

Read More: 5 Days In New York In A Personal Bag

At the moment that is all that I can think of that I would like to add. Since I am going through a bit of a life transition, I’m trying to stop myself from buying unnecessary items. In a few months I’ll have a better understanding of my day to day life and then I can make better decisions about what my makeup collection should look like.

Final Thoughts

I am not too happy about how cohesive my current collection is. However, that’s what happens when you buy something just because it’s trending or being pushed by Influencers and Beauty Gurus. 

Just like when I first decluttered my closet, the first time is always the hardest. I can see myself creating a makeup capsule in the future, but for now, I want to live with my collection the way it is. I know that this will let me understand my true wants and needs.

Read More: My Capsule Wardrobe For Fall 2018

For now, my plan is to avoid buying anything new for six months. For now, I’m only buying items after they run out and can’t be replaced by other items in my collection. After that, I can start making plans for a makeup capsule!

What is your favorite makeup item? What’s your favorite way to declutter makeup? Leave it in the comments below!

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