How to Organize & Recycle Your Makeup

How to Recycle & Organize Your Makeup | She Sweats Diamonds - makeup shelfie - luxury makeup - makeup organization

Happy Earth Day, friends! With most of us staying at home, now is the perfect time to cross out any lingering beauty to-do lists, like cleaning your makeup brushes or organizing your beauty cabinets/drawers.

The first thing I did when I went into self-isolation was go through my beauty products. To be transparent, I used to not care about makeup/skincare. However, as time went on, I slowly gave in to my beauty addictions. Pretty soon, my makeup collection grew from beauty-related gifts from colleagues, friends, and family and from my own purchases.

And I’m not sad about it one bit, ha!

This year, I want to be even more intentional in saving money so instead of dreading the process of organizing, I looked at my beauty drawers from the lens of “purging with a purpose.”

If you’re tired of scrolling through social media feeds, watching Netflix, or cooking/baking, purging your makeup cabinets might just be the perfect activity to add a break in your quarantine routine.

If you’re planning on organizing your beauty products, but don’t know where to start, I hope this guide will help you.

In this guide, you will find inspirational ways to organize your makeup products. And considering it’s also Earth Day, I hope you you’ll gain some ideas on how to be a more eco-friendly beauty consumer too.

Let’s get to the makeup organization guide!


Everyone has different limitations on storage and preferences on how they like their makeup and skincare organized.

If you’re really limited on space for storage, your goal should be to only keep products you know you will use that will also fit in your current space while leaving you room to breathe. Repeat after me: No overflow.

On the other hand, if you do have room, decide how you want to organize your makeup products. Do you want to keep it all in your bathroom along with your skincare or do you want a separate area (like a room, office, or vanity) just for makeup? I’m sharing two great examples below, one from one of my favorite influencers, Ashley Robertson and one from my friend, Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design.

If you’re really pressed for space, check out this functional makeup vanity or this versatile vanity table (seen here):

For me, I love aesthetics and being able to see everything I own. It’s weird to say this, but I feel like if I can see everything I own, I’m less likely to buy more. That’s why I personally love storing my makeup and fragrances in my Billy bookcase, so much so that I’m adding additional shelves and glass doors later.

Here’s a small snippet of how I organize my beauty products.

How to Recycle & Organize Your Makeup | She Sweats Diamonds - makeup shelfie - luxury makeup - makeup organization

Don’t worry though, I’ll be posting updates in the coming months as my organizing progresses.

I’ve learned that if I can’t see my products, I won’t use them or even forget about them. To me, if you can’t see your products, you won’t use them. If you don’t use your products before the expiration date, you end up losing money.

Here are my favorite makeup organizers I use and loved for years:


Here comes the time-consuming part: decluttering your makeup. I’ve found that it’s easiest to set rules before beginning my purging. More on this in a bit.

If you have a busy schedule or a ton of product, begin decluttering your products with one drawer, shelf, or cabinet at a time. If you’re already somewhat organized, start by makeup category.

Begin by creating donate/gift, keep, and expired (more on this below) makeup piles.

From there, separate everything into makeup categories (face makeup, eye makeup, lip products, fragrances, etc.), then start the purging process and apply whatever rules you’ve set.

Here are my own rules I’ve set:

If I’m keeping a product, to make sure I’m really making a good decision, I ask myself…

  1. When was the last time I used this product? If it’s new, would I be excited to use this product in the future?
  2. Do I actually see myself using said product?
  3. If I don’t want this product, do I want to donate it or gift it to a family member/friend?

By applying my rules, I’ll be sure to keep things I love and use.


Make sure to check the expiration dates in your donate, gift, and keep piles. To know if your products are still good, this symbol tells you the “best by” date:

How to Organize & Recycle Your Beauty Products | She Sweats Diamonds - PAO symbol - Period After Opening - how to tell if your makeup is expired - when to throw away your makeup

This is the PAO (Period After Opening) symbol. It was put on cosmetic labels 15 years ago (in 2005) by the European Commission. All beauty products with a shelf life of 30 months or more were required to feature the symbol on their labels. Another fun fact is that makeup/skincare products that have a shorter shelf life than 30 months had to include the minimum shelf life or ‘best before’ date on the label/product packaging.

I’ve paid attention to dates on products before. However, once I learned this, I found the PAO symbol so helpful in determining if I need or want a product.

Even if your product is unopened, before you use it, make sure to open it and check for any weird smells in addition to the texture. For example, if your lipstick is sticky, stringy, or has weird spots on it, it’s already gone bad.

I found this shelf life of makeup guide to be very helpful!


As you recycle your expired beauty products, take inventory on what products you need to replenish.

I’m really glad I made a list of what I need because I usually replenish my favorite makeup products when the Sephora sale comes around.

Feed my beauty addictions while saving money? Yes, please!


Next, if I can, I clean out any leftover product from my makeup containers before recycling them.

Instead of tossing out my expired beauty products, I decided to start a stash so I can recycle beauty products through TerraCycle when I have enough products to send a box of recyclables.

Make sure to check with retailers and brands to see if they have a recycling program because some may reward you for doing so!

Here’s a list of what beauty products you can and can’t recycle to help with the process. 


For products you haven’t used or won’t use, determine if you want to gift it to a relative/friend or donate them.

If you review beauty products, consider gifting the products you’ve swatched to your closest friends. And donate new, sealed products to great organizations who cater to those in need.

I had a great experience donating my new/used makeup to Project Beauty Share during the holidays. Here’s a snapshot of the campaign I did with them in collaboration with Erno Laszlo too!

View this post on Instagram

When I was searching for ideas for a backdrop for this shot, I came across this title of an article in a magazine and found it so fitting for this campaign that's near to my heart. Seriously, think about this question when it comes to you and the women in your life. Who ISN'T she? Good question, right? So? What's the answer? She's everything she wants to be and more. That's what! @ernolaszlonyc and @projectbeautyshare are teaming up this holiday season to help women and their families who have been through abuse, addiction, homelessness, and poverty and to get back on their feet. As you’re wrapping gifts for your loved ones, why not put together a 'beauty box' for someone else? What you donate isn’t just products someone needs, but you’re gifting them confidence, perseverance, determination, and love. Here's how YOU can give back this holiday season: 1. Put new and gently used hygiene and/or beauty products in a box. More details on the link in my bio! 2. Snap a picture and *publicly* share your donation on Instagram using #HAULidayDonation and tag @ernolaszlonyc and @project_beauty_share in your post. Erno Laszlo will donate $10 USD (up to $10,000) for every public post from November 1, 2019 through December 25, 2019!!! 3. Spread the message by challenging THREE (3) friends to make a difference by nominating them to share their #HAULidayDonation. 4. Mail your donation to: Project Beauty Share 2718 E Sprague Avenue Spokane, WA 99202 That's it! I nominate my loves: @paula13t @maraferreira @thekennedycurate If you have beauty, skincare, and/or hygiene products you aren't using that's just lying around the house, why not donate for a great cause, right? Swipe to see what I've personally donated! This is NOT sponsored. However, Erno Laszlo did send me a PR package with their skincare products to try and I'm in LOVE with their clay mask (more on that later)! #ErnoLaszlo #ProjectBeautyShare #TheBeautyIsInTheGiving #TisTheSeasonToGive

A post shared by Huong Vo | Dallas Blogger (@shesweatsdiamonds) on

Other great organizations you can also donate to is Family-to-Family (Share Your Beauty!) or Beauty Bus (they just don’t accept razors, extractors, perfumes, deodorant, and makeup bags).


I’m a huge fan of reusing glass candle jars to store my beauty products. Here’s a tutorial on how to clean out a candle jar. I find that it works best with high-end candle brands like Diptyque.

Don’t underestimate small candle jars. I use mine to house my favorite smaller-sized nail polishes and fragrance samples.

How to Recycle & Organize Your Makeup | She Sweats Diamonds - how to recycle candle jars - Earth Day - sustainable makeup storage

Depending on the size of your beauty collection, set aside an afternoon to a full day to clean out and declutter your beauty products. I promise you that in the end, you’ll feel much better because less is truly more.

And if you’re wanting to be extra productive, it won’t hurt face mask while you’re organizing your beauty stash(es) either!

I hope this post inspires you to go through your beauty collections and organize your makeup products. Feel free to bookmark this post and refer to it even on a rainy day!

As I discover creative ways to organize makeup and skincare, I’ll create updated posts for you guys in the future so keep checking back!

Do you want to organize your makeup products or are you dreading it? If you plan to organize your beauty products, what do you think will be the hardest part?
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  • Rachel
    April 28, 2020

    As you well know, I am a tomboy and have learned anything about makeup and skincare from you. I had ideas that products expire, but didn’t bother to check my products, 1) Because I have so few and 2) I grew up in family that did not really believe in expiration dates because they believed it was just a money ploy designed by companies to get you to buy more and sooner than needed be. Now, I know what to check and how to recycle it properly when the time comes. I always think twice now because of your adamant stance on sustainability, which I am grateful for!

    • Huong
      April 29, 2020

      Hey, you only know what you know because of how you were raised, Rachie. Your knowledge is based on your experience from life too. From my personal experience, my skin has had reactions from certain products past their date, so I believe they are meant to work for a certain period of time.

      Awww, your kind words means so much to me, Rachie! It means a lot that I have a part in you making better choices for our planet. x

  • Lisa Autumn
    April 24, 2020

    Oh this really motivated to organize my makeup x

    Lisa |

    • Huong
      April 24, 2020

      I’m so glad, love! I’d love to see how you organize your makeup!!! x

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