How To Build A Capsule Makeup Wardrobe

A range of makeup products in front of a mirror

If you love makeup as much as I do then you probably have a dressing table and several makeup bags full of cosmetics, not to mention millions of those little samples all over the place.

It’s amazing how much we can accumulate over time but does having all those products actually make you feel good? Or do you get frustrated having to rummage through it all to get to your favourite eyeliner?

Why you should build a capsule makeup wardrobe

Creating a capsule makeup wardrobe can help save you time and money, as well as making you less frustrated. It helps to clear the white noise around your morning routine by focusing on the products you really want to wear.

If you only have to decide between two lipsticks instead of 20 then getting ready in the morning will be so much quicker.

By focusing on just a few products that you love, you won’t need to buy as much makeup. When you’re out shopping it’s easy to be tempted, especially when brands are pushing their new lines. But if you know exactly what you like to wear and what works for you then you’ll find it easier to avoid wasting money on products you won’t use.

Visualise what you want to achieve

Before you start creating your capsule makeup wardrobe, it’s a great idea to visualise where you’d like to end up. Imagine your dressing table or bathroom counter looking neat and clean with just a few products that you love and use daily.

Think about starting the day with a simple makeup routine using your favourite products or getting ready for a night out at a beautiful Pinterest worthy dressing table.

Hand holding cream blusher

Have a purge

Start by getting rid of anything you don’t use. Cosmetics have a use by date so there’s no point in hanging onto anything that you’ve not touched for a year or two. If you’ve gone that long without using it, are you actually likely to use it again?

We’ve all bought products that just haven’t worked out for us, whether it’s from recommendation or being pressured by a sales person. If throwing away something you spent money on makes you feel guilty, remind yourself that you tried it but it just wasn’t right for you. You can’t enjoy something that’s sitting in a drawer unused.

Chuck those samples

Everyone loves freebies and I often keep those little sample products for the next time I go on holiday. But the truth is that they end up at the back of my dressing table drawer because when I do go away I take my regular favourites with me. If you don’t use them, get rid of them!

A range of sample sized cosmetic products

Decide on your favourite feature

Think about how you’d like your face to look every day. Which element do you like the most and what do you want to enhance? Is it your eyes, lips, skin or maybe your eyebrows? Make that the core of your capsule wardrobe.

For example, if it’s your lashes then it’s fine to have a few different lash products for different occasions. You might have a lash serum, a natural daytime mascara, a heavier one for evening and a couple of sets of false lashes. You could also have a brown pencil eyeliner for daytime and a black liquid for evening.

But when it comes to the rest of your makeup, try to stick to just the basics. So in addition to your favourite lash products you could just have a tinted moisturiser, under eye concealer, bronzer and lip gloss.

There’s nothing wrong with having lots of something, but it makes things harder if you have lots of everything.

I realised a good few years ago that lipstick was my favourite thing to wear. I just can’t be bothered with a whole eye makeup routine each morning. So all my makeup bag contains now is foundation, powder, mascara, blusher and a few different lipsticks. I like to change lip colour depending on the season or my mood (although most of the time I stick to MAC’s Lady Danger.) It makes things easy to have a basic look and just change up the one element.

Find products you love

If you find products that you really love then you won’t need to go out and buy more of the same. Of course beauty companies are always changing formulas and discontinuing products and it’s so annoying when your favourite product suddenly becomes unavailable and you’re back to square one.

When that happens try to work out what it was that you liked so much about that product – the colour, texture, how it sat on your skin and then try as many different testers in the shop as you can to find something similar.

How To Build A Capsule Makeup Wardrobe


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Hi I’m Rebecca

I’ve been a makeup artist and hair stylist in the fashion industry for 15 years. Welcome to by blog where I write about all things beauty, makeup and skincare. Check out my Instagram below for daily content and mini tutorials.