Minimalist makeup: Five products. All done.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Not quite ready to go “full hippie”:) and avoid makeup altogether, I’ve still managed to get my makeup products down, over time, to five easy products that do the job well and help me look great with minimal fuss.

I’d like to share them with you. And no, I’m not getting a kick back – these are just great products that work and make life easy.

1. Sunblock. A necessity. Most sunblocks double as moisturizers, did you know? Mine is a cheap supermarket brand suitable for both face and body – Olay’s Complete defence daily UV moisturising lotion SPF 30+. Whatever else you might consider a necessity, sunblock is absolutely on the list. Choose one that is broad-spectrum and affordable enough that you won’t skimp.

2. BB cream. I’m currently using Garnier’s BB cream miracle skin perfector for sensitive skin in “Light”. I’m very happy with this product, it’s affordable (can you tell I like good value products?), excellent quality, and another great supermarket find.

I use BB cream instead of foundation or powder and here’s why: as you age (I’m heading towards 50), heavier formulations will sink into tiny lines and creases and make them more noticeable, while lighter products such as BB (beauty balm) creams have light reflecting ingredients that really do make your skin look better. And if you have dry skin (like mine), powder will emphasize every little dry patch. Ugh!

3. Eyeliner. Mine is friendly to contact lenses, and the soft grey color is suitable all year round. I use Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes in “202 Blackened Pewter”. It has a sharpener in the lid section, and goes on nice and soft. Most brands of contact lens-friendly eyeliners are quite good – I just like this one. Grey eyeliner is a softer alternative than black if you have blue eyes (I do) or your eyes are on the small side (yep, that too).

4. All over color. I use Clinique’s Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm in “01 Amp’d Up Apple” for cheeks and eyes. It’s lovely and soft, and an excellent way to give all over color in one easy step. I find I don’t need anything more, and have even used this as a lip balm on occasion when I don’t want a full lipstick, such as in high summer at the beach. The BodyShop and ELF make similar products if you prefer to avoid the cosmetics counters.

5. Permanent lipstick. I’ve been a fan of L’Oreal’s Infallible 2-step in “312 Incessant Russet” for a couple of years now. It lasts all day, and feels fantastic on. Maybelline and Max Factor also both do permanent lipsticks in identical formulations to this one, so have a look and find a color that works for you. Strongly recommended.

Minimalist makeup. Five products. All done. Too easy!

Minimalist makeup. Five products. All done. Too easy!

No, I don’t wear mascara…

In case you noticed, there’s no mascara on the list.

I don’t wear it because I’m an allergy sufferer with sensitive skin, and I’m also not fond of the “panda eyes” look that mascara invariably gives me after a few hours of wear. I don’t think it’s healthy putting anything that close to my eyes, so I’ve been avoiding it for a while now.

Frankly, nobody has noticed:)

Bring home memories, not clutter

Overseas souvenir shops sell mostly junk. When you buy stuff on holidays, most of it is rubbish that you’d never buy at home.

So don’t.

Do you really need that miniature plastic Eiffel Tower to show you’ve been to Paris, or that pair of mouse ears to prove you’ve done Disney? Who are you trying to impress?

Does clutter – no matter where it’s from – ever really impress anyone?

These days, when I travel overseas, I pack light. Last time I travelled to Europe I brought just one single carry-on suitcase plus a handbag for an entire month. That was all I needed. While away, I bought a couple of fridge magnets as mementos, and a ring when I was in Spain. I didn’t need any more.

Don’t waste your time buying clutter when you travel. Spend your holiday forming lovely memories instead.

You won’t regret it.

In the rose gardens of Madrid, Spain, at high summer.

In the rose gardens of Madrid, Spain, at high summer.

5 simple lessons for the beginner minimalist

1. It’s okay to make mistakes. We all buy things we don’t use, start hobbies we don’t suit, try trends that don’t work for us. That’s part of the human experience. So accept it, and move on.

2. People change and grow in our lives. That’s normal, and it’s just fine. That guitar sitting in the corner you never use? It’s part of the dream of who you might be, not the reality of who you are. Sell it, or give it to someone who will actually use and appreciate it. Be the person you are now, not the reflection of someone else.

3. Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. You bought some skis but now they’re sitting gathering dust in the shed because it turned out you didn’t enjoy skiing. If you don’t use them, get rid of them, and free yourself from the burden of owning them.

4. It’s in your home now, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay there. There’s art on your wall but you don’t really like it. Whose home is this anyway? Sell the artwork, and enjoy the lack of clutter.

5. It’s okay to pass gifts and heirlooms along to others. It is not your responsibility to use, accept and take care of gifts for the rest of your life. If they are of no use to you, you don’t like them or you have nowhere to put them, let them go. Your love for your great-aunt is not the least bit diminished by your inability to store and use her full bone china dinnerset!😉


Stuff won’t ever love you back

Have you ever noticed that so many of the things we buy are to impress other people?

Did we really need that new car, that huge addition to our home, that fancy wedding we’re still paying off? Is it possible that we really bought them to tell the world we’re a person worth knowing and respecting?

The truth can be tough. I know for me it was.

When we stop and think about why we buy, it can seem as though our whole lives are lived for others, not for ourselves.

Buying stuff to impress other people makes us happy for such a short while. The joy is short-lived, shallow, and ultimately meaningless. It leads to buyer’s remorse, and an empty ache inside that – if we’re not astute – we strive to fill that emptiness with yet more buying.

Surely if the last load of stuff we bought didn’t make us happy, then maybe we just bought the wrong stuff? Maybe more stuff will help? Maybe stuff from a different shop? Maybe stuff of a different colour or style? Maybe we got the fashion wrong? Heck, maybe the problem was us all along!

Spending money on our image works…at first. But have you noticed how quickly we feel dissatisfied with our new clothes, jewellery, makeup? We worked so hard to look exactly like that model in the magazine (with our own personal twist, of course!)…but inside we know it’s a sham.

We’re still the same naked emperor within, no matter what we do.
We know we’re a fake.
We never feel like we ever truly become the perfect human we’ve set out to be.

You can chase the dream your whole life, wasting years and years of energy. Or you can recognise that impressing others, trying to be something we’re not, spending our lives creating an image…it’s all false, all empty. It won’t make us happy. It won’t give us fulfilment.

It’s a dream, a fantasy. Reach out to touch it, and the vision blurs, moves, changes…

Real happiness comes from within, and from the genuine connections we make with other people throughout our lives. It comes from having a strong moral compass and sense of self, built on challenge and drive and struggle. It comes from real work and dedication, and from giving more than we take.

Happiness – deep, soul-satisfying happiness – won’t ever come from stuff. No matter how much stuff you are given, or buy, or own.

So live for yourself.
Live for the people you love.
Don’t live for stuff.

Because stuff won’t ever love you back.


Don’t let gifts be a burden

I’ve cleared a lot of unused items from my home over the years since becoming a minimalist. Many I’ve donated, and many I’ve given to friends.

I always try to remember to tell my friends, when they receive my cast-offs or gifts, “Don’t feel obliged to keep it should you change your mind.”

Gifts are not supposed to become burdens. When we receive things from people that love us, they’re not intended to weigh us down.

Our loved ones give us stuff to help us out. To be kind. Because they think we might like it or it might be useful to us.

So don’t ever feel obliged to keep anything you’re given.

I know a lot of people feel they must keep gifts. That’s not so. You have no responsibility to keep any items you’re given. Not ever.

If you don’t need or want something, no matter who gave it to you or how valuable it might be, let it go. Donate it, give it to someone else, or sell it.

Don’t let it weigh you down a moment longer. Because nobody ever wanted that.


What are you afraid of? It’s time to let go!

So much of our stuff we hang on to through fear.

Here are 17 reasons why we might be afraid to let go of all our clutter. Do some of these sound familiar?

  1. Fear we might need the thing tomorrow.
  2. Fear that old table of grandpa’s we always hated “might suddenly be worth something.”
  3. Fear the person who gave us our stuff might be upset if we get rid of it.
  4. Fear we might miss our old belongings, because they give us comfort.
  5. Fear we might change our mind and want the whatever-it-was back.
  6. Fear that we’ll fall on hard times and really need to sell the cheap jewellery our first boyfriend gave us.
  7. Fear that we wasted lots of money on stuff we didn’t need and we’re actually a bit of a fool.
  8. Fear granddad’s soul will rise from the grave if we sell his old, dilapidated chair.
  9. Fear the zombies will come and we really will need those hundreds of sachets of salt and pepper from McDonalds!
  10. Fear our children will hate us if we clean their rooms and throw away their forgotten toys, rubbish, and outgrown clothing.
  11. Fear that we’re a failure because we really were going to lose the weight and get into that old dress again someday.
  12. Fear that if we throw out our teenage clothes we actually are growing old after all!
  13. Fear that if we get rid of all those expensive hair tonics we really are bald, and the comb-over isn’t fooling anyone!
  14. Fear that throwing out expensive mistakes in our closets confirms that we actually did make mistakes. We’re human! Oh no!
  15. Fear that maybe we’re not the quilter / seamstress / mosaic artist we hoped we’d be when we bought all those craft supplies.
  16. Fear that grandma’s ghost will come back and haunt us if we sell her old china!
  17. Fear that our babies really have grown up and they don’t need their bunny rugs any more.


Let it go.
Let it all go.
It’s just stuff.