What a beauty editor keeps when Marie Kondo’ing her makeup bag

— by Vicci Bentley

Vicci Bentley photo: Annie Johnston

There’s nothing like moving house to kick start a serious dumping drive. What starts with the knick-knacks (do you really need that 18th century warming pan in your centrally-heated life?) soon infiltrates your wardrobe (10 pairs of near-identical black trousers? Really??) then creeps stealthily into your cosmetic collection.

Two moves in three swift months may have nearly killed me, but has also proved brutally effective therapy in the hoarding department. As a self confessed makeup junkie, I stashed anything that intrigued me – a curious colour here, a handy gadget there. Festering in drawers and boxes was a horrifying collection of dried-out mascaras, whiffy old lip stubs and cream compacts as shrivelled and cracked as puddles in a drought. What in the name of sanity (not to mention sanitation) was I thinking? And, since I’d forgotten half of what I’d hoarded, how could it possibly enrich my life? As to my ‘working’ makeup bag, duplicates and triplicates of near-identical items made closure impossible. Clearly a cull was on the cards.

So I laid down ground rules. Keep only the well-loved items, even though they’re half-used. And stay flexible. So what if they discontinue your favourite lippy? Cosmetic technology moves fast, so there’s bound to be a replacement that’s likely to work even better. Never stockpile again.

What I’m left with is a capsule collection of functional slap, from ranges backed by makeup artists who know their way around older faces. Ariane Poole’s Ultimate Face Tint, £29, is oil-free yet moisturising, and won’t highlight pores and wrinkles. Eyeshine in Crystal Taupe, £18.50, colour-washes lids and smoothes crinkles. If I’m feeling posh, I smudge Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Mystic Graphite, £17 next to my lashes (both Ariane Poole). Stalwarts I won’t sacrifice are Lancôme Hypnose mascara, £25-ish (shop around, but make sure you get the original formula that grooms lashes without doing that spidery thing); and Laura Mercier Brow Pencil in Brunette, £20.50 (the only one firm enough to sketch hair-fine strokes on bald bits in a shade that doesn’t look oddly chestnut against white hair). To look lively, it’s got to be Nars Blush in Orgasm, £25 buffed on cheekbones with a huge, soft complexion brush that diffuses it plausibly. 

Lippies are always the sticking point – one is never enough. I’d edited mine down to three until Kevin Aucoin’s new Unforgettable Lipstick collection of matte, cream and glossy naturals landed on my desk last week. I’m currently pouting Modern Love, a creamy bare lip tint you can slick on with your eyes shut. If I need to focus, Aucoin’s no-creep Lip Definer in Divine, £18 will shape me up.

But hey, I live in the country now and life’s too short for all that Insta-ready malarkey. Besides, I’m too old to be arsed. Whisper – no, yell it! – I’m happy to bare face up to reality these days. Seems that now I’ve Marie Kondo’ed my makeup bag (and can actually close it), I’ve streamlined a few inhibitions into the bargain. That’s what I call a satisfying dump.


Photos brought to you by the TNMA Dream Team: Feature written by: Vicci Bentley. Photographer: Annie Johnston. Make up: Sara Raeburn. Hair: Enzo Volpe.

Clothes and jewellery, Vicci’s own. Jumper is from COS. Earrings, Toolally.


Please note affiliate links in this post may generate commission

Keep Reading

What Jenna Lyons did next…

There’s nothing like moving house to kick start a serious dumping drive. What starts with the knick-knacks (do you really need that 18th century warming pan in your centrally-heated life?