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Brilliant Makeup Storage Ideas to Steal From Mindy Kaling's Makeup Artist

Saving face and space.

makeup storage ideas
Cheetah Is the New Black

Strategic makeup storage is essential to maintaining a clean, organized bathroom or bedroom vanity. And when done well, it can actually contribute to the overall style of your space. More important, the way you store your makeup can make a huge difference in its quality. To gather the best makeup storage ideas, we tapped Allan Avendaño (he's the celebrity makeup artist to stars like Mindy Kaling, Joey King, Camila Cabello, Maya Rudolph, Sarah Hyland, and Ashley Graham, just to name a few) Dr. Tiffany J. Libby, MD, aboard-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University, and Monica Nguyen a seasoned fashion week makeup artist. Keep reading to learn ten makeup storage ideas and secrets from the best of them.

Separate Makeup Into Categories

"The best is to organize your products by category," says Avendaño. Most of us probably don't have nearly as much makeup as Avendaño and Nguyen do, but even if you have an extensive collection, a system based on product type or use frequency system can help you stay organized and also get the most out of your products.

Cheetah Is the New Black

This is primarily because different products require different storage conditions, as some are more sensitive to the elements than others (more on that in a minute). Once you have them separated by categories in containers, consider putting them inside of drawers or in a medicine cabinet, like Avendaño does. This will keep your surfaces clear and clutter to a minimum. If you don't have any drawer space for makeup, put your containers or catch-alls on the counter, a floating shelf, or an étagère.

Keep Temperature Top of Mind

If your bathroom has poor ventilation, you might be better off storing your makeup in the bedroom. "Temperatures can sometimes change the chemistry of the makeup," Avedaño explains. Dr. Libby agrees: "Because smaller, enclosed bathrooms tend to get more humid and temperatures tend to rise above room temperature, it's best to store these products in your bedroom in an area not exposed to direct sunlight to minimize oxidation of the product," she says. "This will prevent bacteria growth and can compromise product quality and lifetime." Designate one of your dresser drawers to makeup, or add a small vanity station in the bedroom with a desk to store your it. If there isn't enough space for everything in the bedroom, prioritize things like serums and creams, which stay healthier in cooler areas.

Try a Skin Fridge (or a Real Fridge)

If you're really worried about temperature, try a skin fridge. "I have the Drunk Elephant Skin Fridge and it’s amazing. It keeps all my skincare products cold, so when I apply it it’s very cooling and wakes up my face. It also helps keep skincare products fresh for a longer period of time," Avendaño tells us. On the other hand, if you don't want to invest in one, don't sweat it. Dr. Libby explains that "well-designed products undergo stability testing and are made for room temperature storage, even after opening."

Tamsin Johnson

Some products (like certain lightening creams) keep better in a fridge, and storing those limited items in your regular fridge will do as well. Plus, applying a cooled product or mask will provide a calming effect for irritated skin or help de-puff under eyes, but this can also be achieved by using a regular refrigerator for those select products," says Libby.

Keep Brushes Clean and Dust-Free

And now for an important hygiene lesson for makeup brushes and applicators worldwide. "Ideally, you should clean your brushes as often as possible because the buildup isn’t sanitary and it makes your brushes brittle," says Avendaño. Soo, how often is often? He clarifies: "Realistically people get busy and lazy, so I’d say at least every two weeks." Sponges (like Beauty Blenders), on the other hand, should be cleaned every day, according to Nguyen. To keep them extra clean, storage is also key. "I wouldn't have your brushes sitting out in the open either as they can collect dust," notes Nguyen. "I have mine stored in a cabinet."

Choose Travel Cases Wisely

Cheetah Is the New Black

Now that we've got the basics covered, let's talk travel storage ideas to keep your makeup in good shape. "I would suggest packing your products in a compact case," says Avendaño because a hard case is also usually better than the pouch alternative, which leaves your makeup more prone to breakage. Dr. Libby says to look for travel cases with pockets and compartments so you can actually find your products when you need them. In other words, don't just throw everything in a bag and call it a day.

Pack Precious Cargo With Care

Speaking of which, it's "important to make sure there’s not a lot of empty space because products tend to hit each other and break," Avendaño explains. You can fill empty space with cotton rounds or by separating glass containers with soft products in between. If you want to keep the packaging pristine or you're worried about something breaking, bubblewrap them. Electrical wire tape is also your friend when it comes to packing your makeup well. Avendaño uses it to make sure the lids and twist tops stay on products but is also easy enough to take off and put back on.

Transfer Products When Traveling

Not looking to lug around a heavy carry-on? "I cut the weight of things by transferring products to lightweight travel bottles," Avedaño says. Nguyen, who works at MUA and does a lot of work at fashion week shows, recommends this, too. "Muji has a lot of amazing travel size containers. That store is a makeup artist's dream," she shares. This way, you also won't have to worry about your go-to product being confiscated at TSA.

Throw Them Out When Necessary

And last but not least, remember that all good things must come to an end. Read: You might have to throw out and replace your makeup products before you've used them all up if they expire. "Most people don’t realize that makeup has an expiration date, so some things shouldn’t be kept longer than you think,"Avendaño tells us. "Mascara should be replaced every three months (depending on how often you use it). Foundation should be replaced after every year. Powders products tend to last longer because they don’t harvest as much bacteria." You'll also want to "check expiration dates periodically to ensure that what you’re applying on your skin is of good quality," says Libby. Because the last thing you'd want to do is slap on makeup that makes you break out.

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