Working in the beauty industry definitely has its perks. Not only is it an industry full of amazingly creative and inspirational women and men, but it’s also incredibly fun. Although we might not get to sit and play with lipstick and serums all day, it is a big part of the job. Which brings me to perhaps one of the most obvious perks, free products. And while being sent all of the latest beauty products is without a doubt a blessing, it does come with its issues. The main one being storage.
You see, the number of new beauty products that launch every single week is a bit overwhelming, and quite frankly, it’s all too easy to end up having more products than you do space (and face). It wasn’t until I started to have a spring clean of my own collection a couple of weeks ago that I realised my at-home beauty-organisation system simply wasn’t working for me. I had boxes, drawers, cupboards and shelves full of products with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.
So, seeking inspiration, I reached out to some industry insiders (and some of beauty’s biggest names) to see if they would be happy to share their beauty-storage secrets and give us a sneak peek at the sorts of products they reach for every day. Luckily, they all obliged. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say.
"Storing my beauty product is something I'm always trying to figure out. I think the first thing to do is to not keep an excessive number of products. I do get sent a lot of press packages to review, but I have to be quite ruthless with what I keep and what I donate. I only keep what will fit in my office, and that’s just the way it has to be!
"I find the best thing for me is to have my 'in-use' skincare on the shelf in my bathroom. I love trying new products, but I only allow myself to have as many as will fit on that shelf (which is a fair few, I must admit). I keep the rest of my products that I haven’t reviewed yet, etc., in labelled boxes in my office. When I run out of something in my bathroom, I head over to the storage boxes and switch it up for something new."
"I love my Oskia Floral Water. It’s an amazing hydrating essence that I couldn’t live without. It helps all of my other skincare work better because it preps the skin."
"The Kora Organic Noni Glow Oil is my saviour. I don’t know what is in this stuff to make it so magical, but I put it on every night and absolutely love it. I also put the excess on my cuticles."
"By Terry Baume de Rose is just such an exceptional lip balm. I’ve been using it for years, and if they ever discontinued it, I would go into a full-blown meltdown."
"Being sent a lot of beauty products on a weekly basis is a blessing in many ways but a curse for your at-home tidiness levels. I am not one to waste or throw things away (my husband would say hoarder), so I have had to be clever over the years about finding things to keep everything hidden away with. My husband is really into antiques, so we have an abundance of old pots, dishes and mugs that I hide things away in or keep things to hand in that I need sink side—things like hair clips, lip balms and makeup brushes."
"I keep all my sheet masks and makeup palettes, stuff that I use regularly but not every day, in little buckets and cubby holes next to my sink. I also have a garden shed filled with boxes for overflow!"
"I have a growing collection of essential oils from my travels (I recently picked up the most amazing peppermint from New York) that I store in a little clear vanity case. I rummage around them daily, blending up my own oils in rollerballs or adding a few drops of one to a ball of cotton wool in a dish on my desk."
"One of my favourite storage solutions was given to me as a gift by manicurist Marian Newman. I've never seen it in the shops or anyone who isn't a manicurist who owns one so I rather treasure it. It's a nail polish storage roll by a brand called Roo Beauty. You slide your polishes into the elasticated pouches and then roll the whole thing up like a cinnamon bun. It's genius, saves the bottles being thrown into a box together and getting all yucky and sticky and saves so much space."
"My Riki Loves Riki mirror, I love. It lights up and cleverly stores little bits of makeup in its base, which is like a tray. I keep concealer and brow products in it usually, things that may need a bit of extra light or attention but that I use daily."
"I always have a lip balm by my sink. I apply a thick layer before I start my makeup everyday. I am loving this Tinker Taylor one at the moment."
"My beauty products are split into personal and professional. For my kit, I sort everything into groups so that it is easy for me to find in one place. I have ziplock bags and put all eyeliners in one, blushers in one, eye shadow palettes in another and then store everything in my red Rimowa case, which i’ve had for 25 years now.
"For personal products, they are split by where it falls within my routine, so my cleanser in the shower, skincare by my dressing table, cosmetics in my makeup bag."
"I open and go through all products I am sent or that I buy, splitting them as to test on me personally or to go into my kit. I love the Matches Fashion marbled boxes, which come in various sizes, and I store product in them and label with the season and year and then mentally it is stored in my head."
"I keep CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser in my shower because I use it every day."
"I love my eyelash curler for instantly giving me a wide-eyed, awake look. I am very organised and like my kit to remain hygienically clean and pristine so once used they go straight back in my makeup bag."
"I store everything skin-related in the bathroom cabinet, organised according to daily use and treatment products. Makeup is stored in the downstairs guest bathroom, as it has the best natural light.
"My everyday skincare products are stored on the bottom shelf on the right-hand side because it is eye level. I need everything directly in front of me, as I like to be speedy with my skincare. As you move toward the left, it’s much more potent products that I use either weekly or monthly to rejuvenate my skin heath.
"On the middle shelf, on the right, I store products I use very occasionally, maybe when I have a bit of extra time or that I am trialling. These are my nice-to-have products. I don’t really require them in my routine, but they make a luxe touch"
"I keep such a tight edit when it comes to my product, but I’d say Neostrata Glycolic Face Wash, Skin Better Science Even Tone Serum and Ecooking Sunscreen are very important. If I didn’t use anything else this combination would keep my skin smoothed, plumped, clear and protected from the effects of sun damage and premature ageing. It’s a really stimulating trio that focuses on long term skin quality and health."
[Editor's note: Skinbetter Science is a clinical brand which can't be purchased without prior consultation in the UK.]
"I don’t want to be overwhelmed when I go to my everyday skincare shelf so pare everything back to what I actually use and what works for me. I put any products I’m going to use next or want to test in a drawer."
"My makeup stash is a different affair; I love playing with different colours and finishes and need a sizeable stash for my work as a makeup artist. My personal makeup is all on a 1920s desk I had restored, with main makeup in the central drawer, lipsticks in the side two smaller drawers (nudes and pinks on the left, brights on the right), and foundation and brushes on the desk itself. My makeup kit for clients is all stored separately in suitcases and drawers."
"I make sure anything I use daily is there in plain sight where I can see it and grab it if in a hurry. I also always make sure that hygiene is considered. My flannels are folded and piled next to my sink, my makeup table always has an empty pot for used brushes, and I use Clinisept to spritz and thereby disinfect any palettes of cream products after I’ve used them."
"I am a huge fan of perfume and like to use it to direct my mood or to evoke memories. I have about 15 or 20 on the go at any one time, which I know is excessive, but I love them dearly, and they bring me a lot of joy, so I’ve excused myself for amassing so wantonly in that department. They all sit atop a desk in my bedroom in front of a neon sign, so the bottles glitter at me alluringly when I’m in there."
"All makeup pertaining to skin is important to me. As a former acne sufferer who values skin looking healthy and juicy above any other makeup trick, my go-to is always lustrous skin with slightly amped-up features. My Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer is probably my absolute top makeup pick because I’ve yet to find anything that creates healthy, smooth skin as well as it does."
"I’m also devoted to eyelash curlers because my dead-straight lashes need a daily curl. I use curlers by Surratt."
"On the bottom shelf, especially on the left, I store my daily products. Those are my main products like serums, eye creams, spot treatments and moisturiser. I use a lot of actives in the day to help with my hyperpigmentation issues, and since I moved to the U.S., my skin has been breaking out so badly and leaving scars. Since I use actives to deal with this, I have this little middle section that's all about moisturising. Whatever cleanser I'm using regularly, I keep in the shower, but I do keep usually keep an exfoliator in my cabinet next to my brushes.
"On the top shelf, I keep my nighttime products and face masks. However, on the left at the top, that's where I keep things I'm keen to try next. I keep all of my favourite products at the front so that they are really easy to grab."
"At the moment, I'm loving the Laneige Cream Skin, which is like a toner and moisturiser. Because I have been using different products, I know that by trying to really get rid of my acne and hyperpigmentation, I can damage my skin so I really want to use moisturising products. When I put this on, my skin doesn't feel dried out. It still delivers moisture before I add a cream on top."
"I bought this cream randomly because I wanted a face cream that has high SPF in it, and I actually really love it. It's quite thick, which has been great for the winter. I've been using it a lot, and it's a really amazing cream."
"I also love my Bybi Beauty products. I love the facial exfoliator and also their boosters. I add them to my moisturiser to add a really nice moisturising glow. It's such a great UK-based, sustainable brand. I just love it."
"I have products in the room that I'd use them in, so cleansers in the bathroom and serums and makeup on my vanity. I do half my skincare with cleansing and masks in my bathroom, then come upstairs into my office/vanity to do the rest, like serums, SPF and makeup. So they're split by where I would be using them.
"Products I barely use are more likely to be in the drawers of my beauty cupboard, as I don't need them to be easily accessible. Products I want to test, I put where I would use them, too, to remind myself. So if it's a new mask, I'll put it in the bath or by the shower so that next time I go in there, it's ready for me to use."
"There's a medicine cupboard in my bathroom that has mostly cleansers and masks, etc., and things I'll need more in the bathroom so that I have them on hand."
"I have a wire shelf in my office, which houses products I want to try out or shoot. I'm a very visual person so having these 'out' so I can see them helps me remember to do so!"
"There are some products that I would have in both rooms, which I guess means they're the most often used, as I want the option to use them at all times. These are Pai Rosehip Oil, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Skinceuticals Phloretin CF."
"My vanity shelf and bathroom can generally go from empty on Monday to piled high with magazines, newspapers and clothes by Friday. My bathroom gets very warm and tends to melt my moisturisers. The same goes for other products, like my lipsticks, which are prone to oxidising, as they contain oils, which can then turn rancid. To make my moisturiser last longer, I employ the odd tactic of keeping them in the fridge. It keeps them at the right temperature and allows me to get more use out of them."
"I keep most of my haircare, skincare and makeup on my bathroom shelf at room temperature. Storage is important and so is aesthetic. Having both allows me to have a functional and beautiful space that I always feel inspired by. I store all my extra deodorants toothpaste and extra soap in a storage box. I store Q-tips and cotton balls in glass jars and all my makeup brushes organised in empty candle jars."
"My three favourite products are the Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil and the Manketti Oil Finishing Mist. I use them religiously as they leave my hair hydrated smooth and perfectly polished. Also, I love my Chantecaille Rose de Mai Face Oil which brightens my complexion. They are all kept at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Sunlight tends to heat up the products and breaks down all the active ingredients"
"I store my products in two places: my bathroom cabinet and my storage cupboard. During lockdown, I managed to get a standard IKEA bookshelf in order to convert part of my storage cupboard into a walk-in beauty area."
"The products I keep in my bathroom cabinet are typically the products I use on a daily basis, and therefore I make sure that they're easily accessible. Then the products I use on a weekly basis, I generally put them in the storage cupboard. My storage cupboard also has unopened products for replenishment or products that I'm testing. It's fair to say the bulk of my products are sent by brand PRs."
"My perfumes are by far my most cherished products. Apart from serums, this is where I do like to splurge! I keep them away from guests by my bedside on a cute mirrored tray."
"I’m lucky enough to have a beauty room. It’s basically my office. I designed it last year and love everything about it. I didn’t want it to look like the standard IKEA setup. I wanted it to be beautiful. It has a ton of drawers and cupboards, meaning everything can be stored in categories.
"I have a cool-looking triple laundry basket near the front door. Every time post comes in, it goes in that. Every Thursday, I film #lisatakesstuffoutofboxes for my Instagram. This is basically my version of an unboxing video. I chat through the product and the press release. I then put everything I want away. Everything else gets collected at the weekend by my friends who work for the NHS, and it goes to different wards around the country. The rubbish is then all recycled and collected on Friday."
"I love lipsticks. They can transform your whole look. I have tiered Perspex lipstick holders that I got in Primark. These are put in a drawer, and the lipsticks are placed in their own individual hole, always upside down so I can see the name."
"I store eye shadow palettes by brand. I thought about storing them in colour order, but for speed, I did by brand. I store them standing rather than flat, as this means I can see them better."
"I’m obsessed with bath oil. I have a bath every night, so I keep my favourite oils in a glass cabinet in my bathroom. As well as being convenient, the bottles look pretty."
"All my products are stored in a huge apothecary-style chest of drawers! They’re organised by category (including a new-in section) so that it's super easy for me to navigate."
"For products that I’m currently using or testing, I have a rotating caddy that I found on Amazon. This houses everything that I reach for on the daily and also includes my top new-in pieces that I’m desperate to try."
"My Beauty Bio Dermaroller is at the top of my caddy so I can easily reach for it day-to-day, and my favourite SPF of the moment is the Ren Clean Screen, which you can see front and centre!"
"Under-bed storage is my best friend. Beauty products are HEAVY so keeping them in a sturdy drawer under the bed is a game changer for me. For my beauty 'currents,' I shelve them in order of use in my bathroom cabinet.
"I keep all my 'to-test' products on top to remind me to try them out, as it can become very easy to get comfortable with your routine! I also have huge boxes in my cupboard with beauty products that I wouldn't use or I want to give away."
"My huge personalised Creme de La Mer with my name engraved on the top is by far my most coveted product. This definitely isn't reflected in where I store it, though, unfortunately, as it's hidden away in my cupboard right now. I'm incredibly minimal when it comes to having trinkets and products on display. I hate clutter! I’ll often get them out for a photo then put them back into their allocated drawer. It helps my mind!"