I strongly believe that there is no such thing as a tidy makeup drawer. We know the logical thing to do is keep it clean, routinely toss out old cosmetics, and maybe even set a reminder in our calendars to streamline it regularly since this stuff touches our face. But that just seems exhausting.
Instead, each time we reach in for some concealer or lip balm, we go on an archaeological dig through both our beauty history and peek at our true personality. Our makeup drawers are a diorama of our most intimate collections of what we must keep and what doesn’t bother us enough to get rid of. Our insecurities and our obsessions. Our fears and our very favorite things.
Upon opening said makeup drawer, one is often faced with a mountain of things including, but not limited to:
1. So so so many foundations.
None of them match your skin tone, exactly — even the one for which you paid a small fortune to have someone use a fancy computer thingy to choose the right shade. Half of these have been lying around so long the ingredients have begun to separate. But what if you change your mind and they do kind of match someday? What if you go on vacation and get some color?
2. A million gazillion bobby pins.
Once your bobby pin container runs out, you’re gonna buy more. Sure, you could dig around the various drawers and counters of your home for the infestation of them everywhere you turn, but it’s so much easier to simply keep buying them. Even though you don’t need more of them. Probably ever.
3. Chunks of powder gone rogue.
Broken compacts, individual bricks of shadow, and the corner of that bronzer you keep meaning to use more regularly all plopped out over the years and now live among the slick cases and tubes, traveling as they please, leaving traces of themselves along the way.
4. Kohl eyeliner pencil smeared with kohl eyeliner.
Yours has been around almost as long as kohl has been used on the eyes by the ancient Egyptian queens, and has never existed a day without inking up your fingers as you swipe it across your lids or move it out of your way while reaching for something else in the drawer. Clean it off and put a cap on it all you want: the smears will be there again the next time you look for it.
5. Eye-shadow palettes that you’ve used approximately 1% of.
Optimism urged you by them to add variety to your makeup routine, but we all know you’re only going to use the two shades on there that are closest to your usual daily favorites. At least your kids will have fun playing it once they find it in there, right?
6. Unfurled Q-tips.
The cotton has unwound to the point that you’d never actually use them on your face, and they’re probably peppered with the kaleidoscope of mineral powders floating around with them. Throw them out? Don’t be silly. That’d be so wasteful!
Okay, these kinds of fit in with the beauty/face category, but shouldn’t these be in your car or by the front door, instead?
8. The eye shadow or lip color you wore on your wedding day.
Yes, it has been years since then (and it’d be really gross to use them now), but you can’t quite part with it yet. Simply seeing it in there gives you a lump in your throat.
9. Itty Bitty samples you are never gonna use.
Perfect for packing when you travel! Problem is that you never remember to pack them, so…
10. 47 almost-the-same lipsticks and glosses.
You have seen the perfect color in your dreams but have yet to find it in reality, dammit. Nothing can stop you from continuing to pick up anything close to that mythical somewhat bold pinkish-red in sheer, matte, two-tone lipstick, shimmer, sparkle, gloss, tinted balm, and chubby rich pigment pencil. They are all pretty much the same thing, but nowhere near enough to inspire you to throw any of them away.
11. The one lipstick that reminds you of someone.
The coral that Nana wore when she was alive. The pale pink Mom wore when you were growing up. Can’t. Let it. Go.
12. An eyelash curler that legitimately makes you nervous.
Whether you use it every day or only on special occasions, the idea of sliding this skinny instrument that looks like a Medieval torture device so close to the delicate eyeballs you’ve grown rather fond of gives you a nervous tummy. If the gloriously wide-eyed final results weren’t so addictive, you would have tossed it ages ago. (Maybe.)
13. Safety pins removed from dry-cleaning.
These belong in any other drawer than this one (how often do you use safety pins near your face), yet here they are. Always.
14. Eyebrow pencils galore, both new and old.
Your mom insisted you get the same one she’s been using for decades. That old friend now rolls around in there with a fancier eyebrow palette some lady with Kardashian brows talked you into the last time you meandered through your favorite make-up Mecca at the mall. Oh, and that thing is way too intimidating to use without a YouTube tutorial streaming as you apply it, so you don’t actually bother with either one.
15. Several folding mirrors (for some unknown reason).
Not one. MANY. So many you’re not even quite sure how they all got in there.
16. Liquid eyeliner from that railed attempt at a sexy cat-eye.
Clearly, the kohl liner is too unruly to facilitate the perfect kittenish wink, so you invested in the sharpest liquid liner you could get your hands on to make this look work. Thankfully you also have eye makeup remover on hand, because getting those cat’s eye wings even is something you’re willing to give up on … for now.
17. Pencil shavings. Everywhere.
Eyeliner and lip liner only break when you’re in a hurry, so of course, you only sharpen them when you’re already running late. You intend to tip the curls into the trash, but instead swipe them and the pencil sharpener they’re clinging to right back into the darkest corners, where they will live forever.
18. Used emory boards.
Let’s not even think about how icky it is to have something that rubs bits of your fingernails and the debris that lives under them living with all the things that touch your face, okay?
There is no need for pens. This makes no sense.
20. Filthy makeup brushes.
Your fluffy dirty little secrets never have been washed—and never will be—despite the countless times you’ve pinned tips on how to wash them on your Pinterest Beauty board, or assured that one friend of yours who really does hand wash hers on the regular that you do.
21. Dirty tissues you’ve already used to blot.
You took the time to separate the two-layer tissue and carefully blot. You meant to do that trick where you add powder through the tissue layer, then add another coat of color, but you got distracted and tossed it back in the drawer where it shall live forever now—because there’s no way you’re going to put your mouth on it again and eventually toss it out.
22. Terrifying but beautiful instruments.
To pluck, trim, shape, shave, and color, these aesthetical tools are still shiny and unused because you’re not a professional or a risk-taking beauty blogger and have no idea what you were thinking when you bought them in the first place.
23. Ponytail holders.
You might not even do your hair in this spot. You might not even have long hair anymore. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a collection of these suckers in there.
24. A drawer pull or random other home repair-related item.
Screws, a broken tile, a Ziplock baggie, and a hook that hung a picture that fell off the wall: they’re in there. Don’t know why.
24. Used makeup sponges.
You believe you will use them again (they’re two-sided for a reason, right?), but who wants to use a sponge you know you’ve already manhandled and that’s tinted brown, to boot? None of us.
25. The expensive mistake.
You splurged on something embarrassingly pricey and luxurious, only to have it turn out to be the least flattering thing you’ve ever applied to your face in your entire history of having a face. Good thing the case is gorgeous to look at each time you see it in there, reminding you to stick to drugstore brand mistakes from now on.