I honestly cannot tell you where I read about beauty inventories, but I’ve spent quite some time researching and after a few weeks, I’d got the bare bones of my own. It then took a few further weeks to curate my beauty inventory to fit the purpose I wanted it to fulfil, but I’m finally happy with it and want to share it with you. This post is all about what I track, why I track it, and 6 reasons it could work for you. I’ve also included a downloadable link of my own so that you can create one for yourself.
What Is A Beauty Inventory?
A beauty inventory is a compilation of your personal beauty stash. Some that I’ve seen about simply include makeup, but my personal one contains everything beauty related in my collection: makeup, false lashes, skincare, hair care, bodycare and beauty tools. Some people might keep this as a spreadsheet, others will keep it as a notes list on their phone, and others might just remember it. I personally went down the spreadsheet use, and with a lot of work, I’m getting
How I Use My Beauty Inventory
I use my beauty inventory to track a whole host of things: brand, product name, size, when I acquired the product (and whether I paid for it myself/received it as a gift, or received it for PR purposes), when I opened the product, the estimated expiry, the estimated price and whether I’d repurchase it or not. I also keep a few notes about the products, such as when a foundation shade matches me best, whether it has been discontinued and if it was a PR sample. Eventually I aim to have opinions in everything in my collection but this will take me quite some time to build up and it’s not something that is at the top of my priority list.
As I am transitioning to having a fully cruelty free beauty collection, my spreadsheet also states whether or not each individual product is CF. I’m also fairly new the the whole cruelty free lifestyle, which means I’m not entirely sure which products in my collection are cruelty free and which aren’t. Of course setting it up took some time (we’re talking about a month of slow additions, and I don’t have the biggest collection in the world), and research was required. I am not vegan so I haven’t put in a note about vegan products, however I might go back and do this at a later date. Or if I’m feeling particular bored one day and want to procrastinate all my other blog work.
Another issue I’ve faced is that I obviously can’t remember the price I paid for each product, so inputted it based on the price in Spring 2018 – the season of input. If I bought things abroad, I based the price on the exchange rate in Spring 2018 too. This is slightly problematic as the exchange rate fluctuates, and the goodies I bought in America in August/September 2015 worked out a lot cheaper then. For example, the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso cost me $8, which was ~£5.25 at the time. Now that same blush would cost me ~£5.75, but buying it here from Beauty Bay makes it £10. For this particular item, I’ve gone off the UK pricing but for any products I can’t get my hands on so easily in the UK, I’ve stuck with the current exchange rate.
I have tabs for makeup, skincare, hair care and bodycare, as well as tabs with a colour chart included. By using the Color Name app, I have taken photos under my studio lighting of each eyeshadow, bronzer, highlighter and blusher and given it a colour match on the spreadsheet. This is a really long task, and I totally understand people not wanting to do it, but it really helps with my blog posts when describing shades, as well as choosing colours for particular makeup looks. This may be a little excessive but it’s something that works for me, and I like to see which shades I have, and in what finish. For example, it turns out I tend to gravitate towards warm-neutral shadows and bronzer that run in the raw umber colour category.
Since setting up the spreadsheet in March, any additional products that have been added since have notes next to them including where I bought the product (if applicable) and whether there was any discount. That could be student discount, a sale purchase or perhaps it was on 3 for 2. I still input the full price, but I just make a note of any savings. I obviously can’t be certain about any older products, as despite having got rid of anything that is more than 4 years old (mainly because that’s when I got into makeup and have bought products of a much higher quality since, but also because any of the makeup I had before that time always got used up and made it’s way out of my collection and into the bin), things change price all the time. I also may have bought lipsticks at a lower price than they retail for now, such as MAC lipsticks which I feel like go up in price every time I even consider buying them. I mean being CF now means I don’t, but even if I wasn’t I don’t think I could bring myself to pick one up because £17.50 is a lot when they used to be a fairly low-end price point for a high-end lipstick back in the day. The price point of all my products are correct as of Spring 2018 (or if they’ve been discontinued, at the price I could find them at their release).
Any products that I declutter or use up have their own tab. I completely remove them from my main collection spreadsheet and keep a note of what I’ve removed in this separate tab. Whilst I haven’t done a big declutter since setting up my beauty inventory, I’ve used up a few products (mainly dry shampoo to be honest) and they’ve been moved to this decluttered tab. Anything I’ve used up that I want to repurchase has been highlighted in yellow, with anything I’ve got around to repurchasing being highlighted in green. Anything I’ve greyed out are not for repurchase, but it’s interesting to see what was once in my collection.
Why Create A Beauty Inventory
1. Keep track of your products
I’ve been guilty on more than one occasion of buying the same product more than once, and I’ve read about people doing this a lot with MAC eyeshadows. For me personally, they’ve been cheap things such as a white eyeliner (not even different types, just the same white Rimmel eye pencil), or a concealer shade that I’ve already got and don’t use as it is. At least with a beauty inventory, you can easily search a product before making a cheeky online impulse buy without raiding your stash. I even have mine set up on Google Sheets so I have access when I’m out and about. No more duplicates when I’m scouring the aisles in Boots! This is also brilliant for when you’re not too sure what foundation shade you are and you need to repurchase (also brilliant when you need to check out a new shade on Findation, since all of your shades are in one place).
2. Work out exactly what you’re spending on beauty products
My inventory is set out so that I can input the RRP of all my products (with samples and travel minis, I calculate the estimated price based on the full sized product), and the spreadsheet adds the value of each section together. It turns out that I have over £170 worth of eyeliner in my collection, and considering I use the same products every day, that seems a little excessive. If you’re a beauty blogger like I am, it’s very easy to accumulate products, and it’s not until you begin to add anything up that you realise quite how much you own. I also have a separate page on my spreadsheet which calculates how much my collection value increases by each season – I don’t track monthly as mentioned previously – as well as which areas I spend the most in, which allows me to track my spending a little more easily. So far, I’ve curbed my spending a little bit using this system, although not quite as much as I’d have liked to.
3. Keep an eye on expiry dates
Whilst I know it’s a long slog to create an inventory, once it’s done it’s super easy to keep on top of. By inputting the expiry dates, alongside when you opened the product, you can work out whether you’re using products that are out of date. I’m holding my hands up to say I don’t follow expiry dates, but when it comes to decluttering my collection (which is something I do fairly frequently) and I’m not sure about whether I want to get rid of something, if the expiry date has truly been and gone, I know I can stick that product straight in the bin. I don’t track by exact month, mainly because some products are a lot older than I’d care to admit, but I know roughly which year and season I picked them up in so follow that as a general rule. By tracking the dates you’ve opened items, you can take a look into which items you should attempt to use up over the coming months. For example, my NARS Laguna Bronzer is so close to biting the dust and seeing that it’s almost 2 years past its recommended expiry date, I’m feeling motivated to finish it up. Then again, NARS is no longer cruelty free and it breaks my heart that I won’t be able to repurchase this as it’s my favourite bronzer.
This is also really helpful if you hoard different types of products but never crack them open. I don’t know how people get through shower gel as quickly as they do, as it seems to take me months to use up a bottle yet I still seem to collect them (especially when The Body Shop has 40% off including sale and the good scents are in it). I am able to track back through my spreadsheet to work out which I bought first, and therefore which I should use first.
4. Know which products to use, and when
You know that horrible transition period between summer and winter, and back again from winter to summer? You know the one where you skin changes and flips out at products that have served you well for the previous 4 or 5 months? Keeping an eye on your products, especially skincare, can give you an idea of which products will suit your skin’s current issue without picking up every single face mask you own. Got a spot? You can easily search through your face masks to find something a little more purifying and deep cleansing, as opposed to something on the oily spectrum. Getting a little dry? It’s super simple to filter your results to find a heavier moisturiser. And the same goes for makeup: sort your foundations and primers by how dewy they are, or how matte they make the skin. Thanks to my beauty inventory, my face masks are being rotated a lot more frequently, and I’m using things that are fit for my skin’s needs rather than products that are on the side of my sink or at the front of my drawers.
5. Look at which products your actually using up
By keeping a decluttering tab you cant keep track of which products you actually use up. I personally get through a ton of dry shampoo, I toss out mascaras when they get a little too old and I use up a fair few foundations. You’ll definitely notice a pattern when you start tracking it. But what about the products you don’t use up? I have a bad habit of buying drugstore eyeshadow palettes then never using them because I love my high end ones so much more. A year after purchasing them, I end up passing them onto younger family friends who are just building their collection, but why do I keep wasting my money on them in the first place?
6. Keep your wish list in one place
I used to keep my wish list on my phone, but I found that I was adding things without really thinking about it. By really researching and keeping decent notes about the product in a spreadsheet, I can decide what I think will work for me. Has a YouTuber or blogger I love raved about it? But do they have a totally different skin type to me? All these points are on my spreadsheet, and over time I can curate this wish list to suit me. It’s really easy to move things over to my main spreadsheet if I end up purchasing them. I’ve not included this on the sheet you can download, but you can always add an extra tab for your wishlist.
7. Cheeky bonus #7 for all us beauty bloggers
I’ve been keeping a note next to each product that I talk about on my blog so I know exactly what I’ve spoken about. Has it been in a roundup post yet? Has it made it’s way into a favourites post? By keeping a little note, it’s really easy not to duplicate posts and you’ll know you backlink to an old post that you may have forgotten writing.
How To Set Up Your Perfect Beauty Inventory
First things first, you need to work out exactly why you want to set up a beauty inventory. I’ve told you why could create one in the above section, but you really need to think if it’s something you should be doing. Do you want to curb your spending habits by seeing it all in front of you? Do you want to keep track of expiry dates a little better? Are you interested in getting working through or getting rid of your older products (you know you need to get rid of that baby pink lip gloss you loved when you were 12)? Once you’ve worked out why you want to set up a beauty inventory, you can start building it up. The wonderful thing about putting it all in a spreadsheet is that it’s super easy to edit.
A beauty inventory won’t work for everybody. Perhaps you don’t have time to set one up, or perhaps you don’t even want to think about the estimated price of your collection. However, if you’re a bit of a spreadsheet junkie like I am then maybe it’s time to sort yourself one out. It’s nowhere near complete but if you want to take a look at mine, you can take a peek just here. And if you want a blank copy for yourself, here’s a download. Just save your own copy before you try to edit There are full instructions on the first page of the spreadsheet to help you out. I’ve included an example for each section in the makeup tab, with commonly owned items that you are very likely to have in your collection to see how your spreadsheet may look.
Of course my beauty inventory is a work in progress, but this has really shown me what I have available to me every morning (that I just don’t wear most of the time). It’s inspired me to be little more creative with my makeup, and open up palettes I wouldn’t normally reach for. My products have actually got a lot more love, and it means I can keep an eye on my collection grow.