Frugality, Simple Living

Minimalizing Your Make Up Bag To Clear Up Your Skin

Isn’t it so tempting to pick up a new lipgloss or eyeshadow each time you’re at the store? It’s so small- I’ll have space for it. I really don’t have one in this shade of pink.  But it’s on sale!  The neatly organized displays draw you in and before you know it, you’ve spent $25 or more on items that will probably end up in the shadowy depths of a bathroom drawer, never to be seen again.

For about 10 years, I never kept track of how many products I had vs. how many I actually used.  Combine this with the fact that I had adult acne, and I was trying product after product to try to find the magic one that would clear up my skin.

3- step acne kits. “Breathable”, “oil-free” foundation from the drugstore. “Natural” and “botanical” items.

It was a discouraging waste of time and money.  The harsh acne products dried out my skin and made the problem worse, and the products with 1 or 2 “botanical” items were no different than the ones that had zero.

The ironic part was this: the products that were supposed to clear up my skin were actually causing the breakouts and oiliness. 

Once I completely switched over to products that were truly natural– free of artificial fragrance, mineral oils, sulfates, parabens, etc.– I noticed that my skin was clearing up, it didn’t itch anymore, and it wasn’t excessively greasy.  I haven’t had any acne in the past few years, except for an occasional spot here and there.  I had to switch everything from make up to shower items to hair products. (There’s no point in having a natural face wash if you slather pore-blocking drugstore foundation over it- it’s a waste of money).  I noticed that I got extremely itchy whenever I didn’t have my own products available to use and had used a regular shampoo, body wash, or perfume instead.  The downside to truly natural products is the cost- you won’t find them for $5 at the local drug store.

(For more info, check out the EWG’s Myths on Cosmetics Safety and Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to look up specific products, and WebMD’s section on Scents and Fragrances).

However I realized that by buying fewer items once or twice a year that I truly loved and used daily (and they worked!), I wasn’t constantly buying useless products that didn’t fix my problems. I didn’t have bathroom drawers overflowing with products that sat unused. I wasn’t tempted to impulse buy at the store, thinking that maybe this would be the product to solve my skin problems- because I finally knew that it wouldn’t.

As a result, I went from drawers of unused products to this:


That’s everything! I only have to use a dime-size amount of the liquids at a time (slightly more for the SPF lotion), so they last about 6 months each. The powders and lip balms have lasted much longer than that.

The products I use daily, clockwise from top left: *

  • Arbonne FC5 purifying facewash
  • Organic Wear bronzer (the brush in the top of this is great; Target)
  • Gabriel powder foundation (Whole Foods)
  • Arbonne mascara (regular mascara has a chemical smell- compare the two and see!)
  • Aveda lipstick and lipgloss
  • Pacifica roll-on perfume (no artificial fragrance; Whole Foods)
  • Gabriel blush (Whole Foods)
  • Burt’s Bees lip balms (Target)
  • Physician’s Formulas eyeshadows (Target)
  • Arbonne foundation, primer, and SPF facial lotion
    • The pumps on these are ingenious- the base moves up as you use up the product, so you get every last drop out of the bottle– you don’t have to turn it upside down and shake it to get the product out!


* Note: I don’t receive a commission for recommending any of these, I’m just excited to share them with those who also have sensitive skin and need alternatives!



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