In the last few years, you may have heard of the term “capsule wardrobe”. It means a compact collection of outfit staples, which not only include clothing, but shoes and accessories as well. The term was coined by London boutique owner Susie Faux, who thought that the capsule wardrobe should consist of no more than 30 pieces. If we’re able to condense our clothing into such a small collection, shouldn’t we be able to apply the same concept to our makeup?
When I first started dabbling in makeup, I had a capsule beauty collection. At one point, all I owned was three eyeshadow singles and one blush! It’s been a long time since those days, as I keep collecting more and more makeup with no end in sight, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how much I own, and I don’t even have nearly as much as most beauty bloggers! Sometimes I long for a more simple collection.
Below, I’m sharing a list of product categories and suggestions on how to put together a capsule makeup collection. Including tools, I’m trying to keep it under 30 products as per Susie Faux’s idea of a capsule wardrobe. This list isn’t meant to mean you have to own X amount of this category and Y amount of this category – of course it’s fluid based on your makeup routine. It also doesn’t mean you have to use the same blush, lipstick, or mascara for the rest of your life, but just to own one at a time. I’ve also included which specific products I would choose for my own capsule makeup collection – they’re all products that are either in my current collection or have used in the past.
Primer (1): Primer tends to be a must for most people, but the type of primer (pore-filling, matte, illuminating) will likely differ from person to person. I think primer is an fairly easy product for most people to only own one of at a time, because it’s not like you need a HUGE variety of primers to choose from!
My pick: Becca Back Light Priming Filter
Foundation (2): I’ve always thought that we only really need one foundation at a time, maybe two at the most, but I know other people like to make foundation concoctions. My advice for foundation in a capsule makeup collection is to find one in a finish you like, and stick with it until you finish the bottle. I would say that owning one traditional foundation and one lighter coverage product like a BB/CC cream would be a good selection for a capsule makeup collection.
My pick: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Brows (1): I’ve used all kinds of brow products, and I think that an eyebrow pencil is the most versatile of them all because they tend to be quicker than messing around with gels or pomades, and they’re easy to use for all levels of makeup users. For the most part, I feel like one brow product is sufficient for the majority of people.
My pick: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
Eyeshadow palette (2): No matter how adventurous you are, I think all girls use neutral shades at some point or another. A 12-pan palette full of both shimmers and mattes from any brand is a perfect addition to a capsule beauty product. If you get bored of using neutrals every day, maybe having one neutral palette and one palette with fun colours will help mix things up – maybe one of the UD Naked palettes with the UD Born to Run palette, which has a variety of shades.
My picks: Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette, Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario
Eyeliner (2): I think most people can get away with owning just two eyeliners and that should cover most of the bases. I’m thinking one liquid liner and one pencil liner in whatever shade you choose. For my collection, I’ve only chosen a liquid liner because I haven’t found any pencil liners that I absolutely love!
My picks: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Mascara (1): I know a lot of people use several mascaras at the same time, but I have a good argument for only owning one at a time. Mascara dries out so quickly that using one at a time maximizes your use out of a single mascara, and their short expiry date (~3 months) still allows you to try many mascaras, unlike something like powder products that may last for years.
My pick: L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara
Concealer (1): I think concealer is one of those products where it’s easier to only own one (as opposed to something like eyeshadow palettes or lipsticks), but it would have to be an all-around concealer that can be used for both the under eye area and for covering spots.
My pick: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Bronzer/Contour (1): I grouped these together because if you really want to condense your collection, I think it’s possible to only own one or the other. It just doesn’t seem common for most people to contour and bronze at the same time? Personally, I would pick contour over bronzer!
My pick: NYX High Definitoin Blush in Taupe
Blush (3): I’m not a huge blush gal, so I feel like I could live off one blush until I used it up and replaced it with another shade. Really, I think own 3 blushes covers most of the bases: a neutral, a pink, and a peach. Of course, your collection will also it depend on your preferences – maybe you want to switch a pink with a mauve or a berry, etc, etc.
My picks: Surratt Artistique Blush in La Vie en Rose, Nars Blush in Sin, Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
Highlighter (1): I am the WORST offender for owning more highlight than I would ever need, but in all honesty, we could all probably survive on one highlighter at a time – they tend to look pretty similar once applied on the cheekbones anyways, wouldn’t you agree?
My pick: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal
Lipstick (5): While I apparently carry 13 lipsticks around with me on a daily basis, I think a girl only needs 5 basic lipstick shades to get through any occasion: a nude, an MLBB, a pink, a classic red, and a vampy shade. Like EVERYTHING with this list, this again depends on your preferences – no point in owning a vampy lipstick if you never wear them, right?
My picks: Shiseido Perfect Rouge in RD732 Blush, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey, Bite Beauty Liquified Lipstick in Chutney, MAC Lipstick in Dark Side
Setting powder (1): Some people use setting powder, some people don’t. If you are someone that uses it, I feel like having one at a time will suffice! There’s not a huge reason to use more than one at a time other than for testing/reviewing purposes.
My picks: Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
Setting spray (1): Setting sprays seem to be something a lot of girls own many of at the same time, but I also think this is another one of the easier products to only own one of at a time, because you really don’t need a huge variety of setting sprays.
My pick: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Tools (2): Not including things like a tweezer (which I see as more of a necessity than a beauty tool), I think the only tools needed in your arsenal are an eyelash curler and a makeup sponge.
My picks: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, Quo Blending Sponge
Eye brushes (3): This one is a toughie because you could literally use 10 different brushes on the eyes alone, but let’s try to keep it simple: you can make due with a Fluffy blending brush, small all-over shadow brush, and a pencil brush.
Face brushes (3): Again, the face could use another 10 different brushes, but the necessities in a capsule makeup collection are a powder brush, blush brush, and highlighter fan brush.
This concludes it for my post on having a capsule makeup collection. It includes a maximum of 22 makeup products, 6 brushes, and 2 tools, for a total of 30 items – exactly the same amount as what Susie Faux recommended for a capsule wardrobe. Of course, the mix depends on your makeup preferences – you may use bronzer instead of contour, switch some lipsticks for lipglosses, but the idea is the same! I for one currently ownWAY more than 30 products in my collection, but for my capsule makeup collection, I’ve selected 27.
Was there a type of makeup product I missed that is “capsule makeup”-worthy for you? What specific products would you include if you were to make a capsule makeup collection, or how long do you think you’d survive on one before you went stir-crazy?!