Whether you have a basic makeup collection or a whole beauty arsenal, keeping your cosmetics tidy and organized often becomes a chore. Stashing them in a makeup bag results in endless digging for just the right shade of lipstick, keeping makeup on a vanity can quickly look cluttered and not having a designated spot at all leaves foundation, eye shadow and more strewn about. A practical and attractive makeup organizer can minimize your spring cleaning routine and makes all the difference to having a streamlined and neat beauty collection.
Keeping makeup organized, in fact, is a major part of a professional makeup artist’s work — beyond getting their star clients’ glam on, MUAs need to keep their kit neat and tidy so they can work efficiently and know exactly what shade they’re reaching for.
Here, we consult three beauty pros about their top organizing tips and the best products for all of your makeup storage needs, from palette holders to travel bags to vanity sets.
Grishan Roof is known as the “Kit Whisperer” to fellow makeup artists, helping them streamline and downsize their vast makeup collections. Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John and other celebrity MUAs like Ash K Holm and Jamie Greenberg have all had their kits revamped by Roof. The creator of what she’s dubbed the “Depot Chopra Method” of organizing (which, yes, involves a lot of depotting of products into uniform palettes), Roof has plenty of advice for non-professional beauty interested with growing makeup collections, too.
One of the main pillars of her method is to edit your stash. “Treat your space like it’s prime real estate,” Roof says. She recommends asking yourself the following questions: Do you love/need everything? Do you have duplicates or similar items already? If so, keep the best three for each category. By taking stock of your beauty inventory each time you add a new product, you have an opportunity to remove the weakest link and optimize your collection. “Make this a regular practice and you will never feel overwhelmed.”
For all of the keepers, organizing by makeup category — face, eyes, lips — is key. Roof says utilizing clear containers is the fastest way to find what you’re looking for. From there, you can organize by color categories (neutrals, warm tones, cool tones), finishes (matte, shimmer, gloss), or brand. Roof prefers to organize by brand first, and then by color and finish, while Sarah Tanno, Lady Gaga’s makeup artist and Haus Labs Global Artistry Director, prefers to go by color first.
Another tip from Tanno — “I suggest a P-Touch label maker so you can keep everything in its place.”
“Unlike most vanity systems out there, this one is mobile and will fit inside a closet,” Roof says. “The drawers are adjustable, padded and insulated.”
This compact dresser offers easy-access storage for all of your cosmetics, with enough drawers to dedicate to face, eye, lip products and more.
Tanno designed a whole collection of makeup storage solutions, and this is her favorite option for keeping on the countertop or under the sink. The smoky finish looks sophisticated (for when you want them more camouflaged) and is made from recycled plastic, and you can build out your whole collection with its modular design.
Ylonda Frederick, makeup artist to Ciara, has a custom California Closets wall unit to store her vast makeup collection, and within that system, she uses these clear drawers to keep things in place. “I love configuring the stackable plastic storage drawers inside of my wall unit to create a bright and clean space,” Frederick says. “I have separate drawers for powders, eyeshadows, lashes, lipsticks, tools, et cetera. Within each category I subcategorize by color or function so that I can find what I’m looking for with ease.”
Available in multiple sizes, the Supersize Deep version of this organizing drawer has 18 compartments that help keep makeup palettes, bottles and vials upright for unobstructed viewing and access. The unit itself is stackable and modular so it can meet the needs of your growing beauty collection. “Take advantage of modular systems,” Roof advises. “Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing, they are versatile and will adapt to your ever-changing needs.”
For a stylish on-counter option, this sleek organizer features one large drawer and two small drawers, plus top compartments to organize your makeup by category.
Frederick likes this set of reusable plastic pouches for organizing her makeup kit at home and on the go. “I use lots of makeup organizer bags because they don’t take up lots of space and can be labeled,” she says.
Roof and Tanno both gave Mykitco’s makeup bags a shoutout. “[They] offer a wide variety of makeup bags designed by makeup artists for makeup lovers,” Roof says. “They’re versatile, durable, see-through and easy to clean.” This nine-piece set of canvas and PVC makeup storage bags is Tanno’s go-to. The extensive kit makes a great alternative to bulky storage bins and containers with rectangular pouches that are portable and stackable.
Just like an insulated lunch box keeps your food fresh, this line of insulated makeup bags helps preserve your beauty products. According to Roof, “It keeps the integrity of your products by protecting them from the elements. [Wellinsulated’s] The patented design keeps your makeup from melting, freezing and from premature expiration, and they’re also waterproof.”
“Some bags have a designated compartment for makeup brushes, which is ideal for preventing damage to the shape of the brushes and fragile tools,” Roof shares. This multi-compartment storage bag has slots for makeup brushes, a detachable pouch that doubles as a divider and an extra deep main compartment to fit all of your essentials.
All of the pieces in Tanno’s organizer collection also come in clear, recycled plastic. This 3-piece set includes modular, open-top containers of varying sizes. You can stack them together on your vanity or separate them and use them as drawer dividers.
The biggest reason clear acrylic bins are a staple for stashing makeup is that their transparency allows you to know exactly where everything is, which ultimately saves time. “The Container Store offers a wide variety of acrylic organizers specifically designed to hold cosmetics,” Roof says. “They’re modular, stackable and are available in various widths and depths.”
Frederick loves these lidded organizing boxed that are stackable and compact. They come in multiple sizes so you can store a variety of beauty tools and makeup.
Roof encourages people to, “Think outside the box — don’t restrict your search for organizational products within the makeup department. Explore the kitchen and office sections of your favorite department store for possible solutions.” This three-tier spice rack, for example, would be great for displaying bottled products, demonstrating that all are on view for easy access in a medicine cabinet or on a vanity.
With over 3,000 5-star reviews, this lipstick organizer is a handy solution for storing your various lip products. If you prefer the upright storage, you can also get a similar version for eyeliner, brow pencils and more.
Roof and Tanno suggest this handy organizer from Tanno’s collaboration with iDesign. The bestselling upright dividers ensure that palettes stay tidy and in reach.
Available in a transparent pink, black and plain clear options, this versatile palette organizer can lay flat or stand upright. It also has removable dividers so you can adjust how many palettes fit within each section.
Luxspire Acrylic Eyeshadow Organizer
For smaller compacts, like eyeshadow or blush, this organizer is outfitted with 16 slots so you can easily spot each shade in your collection.
With multiple size compartments, this stadium-style organizer from Tanno is sleek and versatile. It has 13 sections overall for lipstick, nail polish, palettes, foundation and more.
Roof recommends this generous set of organizing trays. Whether laid out on your vanity station or within its drawers, these will help keep your makeup in line.
Available in six colorways, this two-part organizer is sure to keep your vanity in tip-top shape — just look to its 21,000 5-star ratings. The detachable top section is perfect for storing lipstick, lip gloss and any taller products, while the bottom drawers can hold palettes, compacts and more.
This standalone shelf unit has plenty of room for your essentials, from makeup to skincare and other toiletries.
Roof loves a rotating makeup organizer as a small-space solution. “This one from Umbra has various tiers, rotates 360 degrees and the dividers are customizable.”
The perfect size to store within a cabinet or display on the counter, Tanno’s turntable organizer offers customizable compartments so you can store big and small cosmetics all in one place.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more height, this space-saving organizer allows you to stack all of your essentials. With multiple slots on the inner walls, you can adjust the height of the shelves to fit your tallness and smallest cosmetics.