#shopthestash update: Paring down to the Essentials

AMtoPM organize beauty inventory stash homekeeping

I’ve only purchased a handful of things and we’re halfway through the year. All of which just needed to be replaced. One of the key takeaways of #shopthestash has been: get to know the essentials.

The essentials:


• 2 bottles of almond oil for facial cleanser, more for body oil
• washcloths
• 1 tube of foam cleanser
• pack of cleansing wipes
• 1 (small) tube or pot: clay mask
• 2 bottles of toner
• essence
• serum
• 1 facial oil
• a pack of blank sheet masks
Salux + castille soap(body)
• lip balm
• exfoliator
• a bottle of tea tree oil for occasional breakouts

Plus these, with quantities that vary depending on usage, product:
• emulsion
• sheet masks
• aloe gel
• coconut oil
• blotting sheets, summer only


• brow spoolie
• brow pen/pencil
• eyeliner
• bold lipstick: orange-red, hot pink
• perfect base for my face

The extras


I don’t need multiple tubs or bottles of clay masks. Sadly, the phase of overactive sebum is a seasonal battle, not an ongoing one. Ditto more than one tube of foaming cleanser.

More than one pack of cleansing wipes are an enabling evil. I only have wipes for special emergencies like I was out too late, or I’m travelling and it’s just too onerous to bring all that stuff into the airplane’s tiny bathroom.

Cleansing tools. High-tech or low end. Some of them are really gimmicks. I do have them and I love discovering new tools, but often they’re not necessary. That said, I do love several tools including my foaming shower net (low-end, low-tech), my Foreo Luna (high-end, high-tech) and on special occasions my Clarisonic Mia.

Eye cream. I believe in what it’s meant to do. I don’t believe I need to pay for a separate moisturizer when a slightly richer one will do. I put coconut oil underneath my eyes–something I would heartily recommend to everyone, but I realize coconut oil doesn’t necessarily take to other people’s skin as well as it does mine. Just about any richer moisturizer will do–like the one you normally use for winter.

A sleeping pack (read: extra heavy finishing moisturizer) isn’t necessary most of the time. To be fair, I do live in an area where winters rarely reach freezing temperatures and it’s relatively humid year-round.

Micellar water (cleansers like Bioderma) are things that I don’t necessarily need, but are nice to have. My skin looks way better with a traditional oil (or double) cleanse, but I get their appeal. Micellar water is slightly better than a wipe in its efficacy and a little lower on the scale of laziness, of which cleansing wipes are number one. I like having it in areas where washing my face with water would be difficult (areas of hard water, in transit) or when I’m wearing more makeup than usual.


There are a bunch of things that I can live without: blush, eyeshadow, contour, lip liner, mascara, power and primer. I’ve used most of these things pretty regularly but I feel pretty good about leaving the house without these things. So they are pretty low priority. Ditto nail polish. Fun, but extra.

What constitutes an essential? An extra?

An essential is something that I will take care to replenish before I run low. Basically, anything I deem worthy of up keep. Usually an essential is something that isn’t fancy, but makes a big impact. Like my monthly threading sessions. They’re a minimal investment each month where I’m in and out within 10 minutes, but it leaves such a striking effect on my face. My skincare essentials are the things that I know help maintain my skin and prevent it from running into problems (e.g. dry, cracking skin or acne). My makeup essentials are the minimum that I can put on and look professional–at the very least, without running into embarrassing situations. #babyfaceproblems

Stuff like good cleansers, sunscreen and moisturizer. Without those things my skin suffers a lot. A good sunscreen is necessary for a lot of reasons: preventing premature aging, sun burn and from purchasing a new foundation every couple of months–due to fluctuations in my skin tone. A good cleanser takes away all the daily debris, makeup and sunscreen. A moisturizer helps keep a hydrating, protective barrier between my skin and the world.

All of my essentials fit into my life without me making crazy adjustments or investments. They are pretty affordable. With a few exceptions–bold lipsticks, foundation and exfoliator–nothing is over $25 CDN. It’s pretty low-maintenance. My daytime skin routine is about 10 minutes (more if I’m using a chemical sunscreen) and my makeup routine is about two minutes. My nighttime skin routine is 15 minutes: more time to pat and massage all that goodness in.

An extra is something that I don’t use at least twice a week. If it’s skin care, it also has to be something that I may habitually forget (skip) from my routines. I like having them around as options, but it’s not necessary. In KonMari terms, it’s stuff that gives me a modicum of joy versus full-on, overwhelming joy.

I’ve noticed that most of my stash are essentials, but I do have a significant chunk that’s “extra”. Looking at my spreadsheet, that’s roughly 15-20 per cent of the things I own.



What are your essentials? Let me know in the comments below or via social media!




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