I Gave Away Over 500 Beauty Products When I Moved—37 I Couldn't Part With

Beauty Editor Selfie



I'm convinced that moving is one of life's most exhausting and stress-inducing activities—especially when you're moving cross-country. It requires weeks of preparation, endless organization, and a lot of money spent on moving companies, boxes, and bubble wrap. Now that I'm on the other side of that experience, I'm sure of two things. First, you should always donate those old pairs of jeans you don't wear anymore because they'll just collect dust in your closet. Second, the only way you'll know which beauty products are truly your favorite is if you're forced to cut your collection in half. 

I'm a beauty editor, so my beauty product collection was big (read: massive). After two years of skincare, makeup, and hair product testing, I had over 500 products in drawers, cabinets, and boxes before I moved. Obviously, there was no way I'd be able to use up all 500 before I moved, and I didn't want them to go to waste, so I embarked on an ambitious mission; I set out to donate every single beauty product I felt I could go without. And I did. When I was done, I was left with 37 core items. Ahead, see (and shop) them all. 

Skincare Products

This face wash is chock full of vitamin C to brighten skin and protect against free radical damage. Plus, the light lathering formula effectively cleans my skin without stripping it of moisture. I use it every morning because the fresh, citrus scent wakes me up.

Is this expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? To me, yes. I use it like a toner (between cleanser and moisturizer). It's formulated with nutrient-rich, whole plants, probiotics, micro-algae, plant stem cells, and a list of vitamins including C and B. In other words, it's seriously beneficial for the skin. After using it for a few weeks, my complexion is brighter, smoother, and generally just better. Just be warned: it smells like kombucha, but that's because there's a fermented skin complex inside. 

When it comes to serums, this one is a long-time favorite. Because I have dehydrated, redness-prone skin, I'm always looking for something that will provide real benefits without causing irritation. This is it. The formula's peach extract, niacinamide, peptides, and hyaluronic acid make my skin calm, plump, and hydrated. 

Another Joanna Vargas product, this one is a hyaluronic acid serum with a bunch of superfood ingredients, which is why I consider it to be like a green juice for my skin. It brings clarity to my skin that other serums can't. 

Here's another skincare product that I've talked about a lot, but it's truly a game-changing product. It's basically a moisturizer, serum, and treatment mask in one, thanks to multiple peptides, seven brightening ingredients, and nine antioxidants. It promises to promote collagen production and prevent signs of aging from appearing. I know my skin is all the better because of it. 

This serum is my secret weapon. I use it about three times a week at night to provide my skin with protective antioxidants, reparative peptides, and anti-inflammatory algae extract. It gives my skin a glow like nothing else. 

This mask is only meant to be left on the skin for a few minutes, which makes the results even crazier. After using this, I can tell my skin is visibly brighter and smoother. It's all thanks to a combination of lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids, as well as pineapple and papaya enzymes. The only thing I love more than the formula is the price tag.

Another Renée Rouleau product, this one is meant to be a companion to the brand's iconic Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($89). I use and love both products, but I mention this one because I happened to have it on hand during the move and I made sure to pack it safely in my suitcase. The gentle face scrub makes my skin feel smooth and minimizes the appearance of discoloration, so it's become a staple product in my routine. 

I've been getting really into facial massage lately. Every night, right before bed, I'll do a 5-10 massage to boost circulation and improve my facial contours. Instead of using an expensive face oil, I've been reaching for this one from Amazon. It moisturizes my skin and provides just the right slip for gentle movement. 

This is the sunscreen I use every single day without fail. Its lightweight, milky texture never leaves a white cast and all but melts into my skin. Read my full review to get all the details

Makeup Products

This is my favorite natural-looking foundation. It's not too dewy or too matte, it matches my skin tone perfectly, and it's nearly undetectable. I wear it almost every day, and I'm not being dramatic when I say it's my favorite foundation ever. 

In my opinion, this foundation is completely underrated. It has a smooth, streak-free finish and it dries down matte—but not old-school matte—more like new-school "cloud skin" matte. 

The brand's concealer is just as underrated. Again, I use this almost every day. It matches my skin tone perfectly, it never creases or smudges, and it disguises imperfections faster than I can say abracadabra. 

I use this as a contour-bronzer hybrid. In other words, I apply it under my cheekbones, across the tip of my nose, and around the perimeter of my jaw to add shape and dimension. It's a must-have makeup product that I'd never go without. 

This is the best setting powder in the game. It's silky and lightweight and it doesn't settle into fine lines around my eyes and nose. Fun fact: I get the mini size because it lasts me forever and saves me money. 

I saw this mascara going viral on social media, and once I tried it out myself, I totally got the hype. It lengthens my lashes until they're unbelievably long. Plus, it washes off with just water so I don't have to deal with oily makeup removers. 

This is my other favorite mascara. It makes my lashes look so fluttery I feel like I'm wearing falsies. It also stays put better than other formulas. Translation? No flaking or smudging. 

I would never—I repeat, NEVER—leave this product behind. In fact, I'm so worried it will be discontinued, that I basically hoard it. You can read all about why I'm so obsessed with it here, but to keep it short and sweet, it's the prettiest eyeshadow topper I've ever seen. 

My eyebrows are extremely important to me, which is why I only trust a select few products to shape and define them. This is one of those products. The budge-proof pencil has a fine tip that makes it easy to mimic individual brow hairs. 

Here's another brow product I swear by. This gel looks white in the tube but dries clear. It adds volume to my brows and keeps them in place for hours at a time. It's never going to leave my makeup bag—not even when I'm moving. 

The same goes for this cult classic from Glossier. I like the tinted version, which adds some nice definition to my brows (the bolder, the better). 

When I wore this, I had three different people compliment my lips and ask what I was wearing. The formula is smooth and moisturizing, not sticky. The color is bright and sheer and universally flattering. I love this stuff. 

Speaking of lip products, I'm also very much obsessed with this lip balm-lip gloss hybrid from Hailey Bieber's namesake brand. Like the Tower28 gloss, it's not sticky, just moisturizing. I love how shiny and plump it makes my lips look. To be transparent, I have four of these...and I stash them all over the place, including my desk, my car, my purse, and my nightstand. 

Hair Products

I haven't felt so strongly about shampoo in a long time. This formula contains vegan keratin, marula oil, and something called N. benthamiana, which is an ingredient known to thicken hair. What more could you ask for?

I couldn't leave behind the matching conditioner. It's the perfect companion to the shampoo, and it never fails to make hair feel soft and look shiny. 

If I had to name my go-to hair mask, this would be it. Whenever I use this, my normally parched strands are reinvigorated. Seriously, after five minutes of leaving this in my hair, it looks hydrated, soft, smooth, and strong. 

Before I even started organizing and separating my beauty products, I knew without a doubt that I'd be taking this hair oil with me. It hydrates, adds shine, and protects from split ends and breakage. It also smells amazing and never makes my hair look weighed down or greasy. 

I've been using this hair growth serum in places where I've noticed my hair is thinning (namely my temples). It's been a little over three months, and I have so much new growth that it's hard to control the baby hairs. I'm obsessed. 

I've been using this flat iron since I was 13. It's a dependable, fuss-free styling tool that I use to accentuate my natural waves. 

I'll never stop using this dry shampoo. Not only does it get rid of excess oil and extend the life of my style, but it also adds some much-needed volume to my fine hair. 

Body Product

I don't care that this is only $14, I wasn't willing to part with it. It's my favorite body wash, and I keep two bottles of it in my bathroom cabinet at all times. I love that it contains vitamin C, AHAs, and niacinamide to keep my skin smooth, soft, and even. 

This is my favorite body scrub. I like it more than others I've tried that are two or even three times more expensive. It contains AHAs, physical exfoliating granules, and enzymes for a triple-action, holistic exfoliation. 

This body lotion doesn't feel too heavy or greasy, yet effectively hydrates my skin. I've been a fan for years, so I knew I had to pack it with me. 

I can't say enough good things about this product. I've been loyal to it for years. Yes, it's expensive, but in my opinion, it's totally worth it. Nothing moisturizes my skin more effectively, gets rid of razor burn, or leaves my skin glowing like this. 

A new product in my collection, this hand treatment keeps my normally dry and peeling cuticles nice, smooth, and flat. It contains echinacea stem cells, meadowfoam seed oil, cloudberry extract, amino acids, and probiotic bioferment, so yeah, it's the real deal. 

I'm sick of shaving my legs, underarms, and bikini line, so I've committed to using this IPL device to permanently remove hair. I use it twice a week; it's easy to use, totally pain-free, and I can tell my hair is growing back slower and finer. 

I recently wrote about this lymphatic drainage tool after seeing a visible difference in my body after using it (you have to see the before and after pictures). After using it, my limbs look and feel smoother and slimmer.