We have some breaking news: Spring cleaning should include your makeup collection.
You know the drill: If it’s not sparking joy, it has to go. Plus, tossing out old products is always a good idea; we often forget that makeup has expiration dates, too!
Aside from avoiding crusty old ingredients that may irritate your skin, revamping your collection can help you complete your makeup routine faster — no more sorting through eyeliners you don’t use anymore or trying to decipher between 50 shades of red lipstick.
The first step in maximizing your makeup space is having a plan in place, which means it may be time to get yourself a makeup organizer or two. But not just any will do: A makeup organizer may look chic and stylish, but if it’s not practical, it’ll waste your space and money.
How we chose the best makeup organizers
To find the best, Shop TODAY talked to two professional organizers and two professional makeup artists about how to make the best use of a makeup organizer, along with their favorites that’ll fit practically any space. They also weighed in on how to clean, sort and store your cosmetics collection.
We also relied on popular Google searches and scoped out rave reviews to guide us to the best options out there. This helped us round up bestsellers with outstanding reputations and ratings across popular brands. Use the links below or keep scrolling to see expert buying advice and our list of 23 top picks.
What to look for | Best tabletop/vanities | Best drawer inserts | Best rolling and train | Best for travel | Best purses | Best multi-functional | How do I store makeup? | Makeup FAQs, answered | Meet our experts
What to look for when shopping for makeup organizers
You already know there are countless options to shop — so it helps to keep a few key things in mind while browsing.
For example, some organizers work best in tight spaces while others require a bit more room, so first consider where you plan on keeping yours. You’ll also want to make sure your organizer has useful compartments for the products you use the most (e.g., does it have room for all your brushes? Will it accidentally squash your lip liners?).
Here are some more things to keep in mind when shopping by type of makeup organizer, according to our cosmetics experts.
- Drawer inserts. Kerrin Jackson, a four-time Emmy-nominated makeup artist and creator of The Makeup Refinery blog, tells us to take advantage of kitchen and stationary storage pieces, saying they’re perfect for storing your makeup, pencils, brushes and nail files. “It’s easy to store these products in long cutlery-style compartments that are designed for pens and pencils and kitchen utensils, and it makes it very easy to keep tidy and feel organized with your makeup,” he says.
- Best for brushes. Jacksons says if you’re the type of makeup lover who owns more than 25 to 50 brushes, you might want to look into professional brush storage solutions. Jackson suggests something similar to the Trish McEvoy Power of Brushes Clutch for a smaller brush collection. “Not only does it look stylish and understated in its glam femininity, but it’s solid and sturdy and displays a small but solid collection of makeup brushes with pride,” he says. Another brilliant brush option he points to is vertical, single-brush stands. “These are great for storing your brushes after you wash them, as they lie horizontally in their own storage hole. This keeps the brush secure while it can air-dry.”
- Vanity space options. “When I have space on my vanity, I love to use an acrylic organizer to display and organize my makeup,” says Brittany Lo, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia. “Since it’s on display, it forces me to keep it organized and clean, so it doesn’t become an eyesore.”
- Best for the bathroom. Jacksons says that when it comes to the bathroom, the first thing to focus on is keeping your makeup products and brushes dry. He says the perfect solution for this is the now popular acrylic storage options. “For brushes, there are fantastic acrylic holders that are sectioned so you can categorize your brushes. And the best thing about these is that they have hinged lids. So you can open while using, and then keep closed when your brushes are stored.” He also gives a shout-out to the drawer/filing storage solutions for your bathroom. Consider a stackable option if you’ve got a hefty collection and limited bathroom space. “The three-drawer stackable systems on Amazon are such a great compromise between storing every makeup item you own,” Jackson says. “And I love the convenience of keeping your brushes, pencils, lipsticks, foundations and palettes under the one roof.”
Best tabletop makeup organizers
This collection offers countertop storage options in varying sizes (with options priced affordably from $8 to $26), so that tiny bathroom spaces can look tidy and organized too.
The stackable three-drawer pick is convenient and practical, with a deep bottom drawer suitable for placing foundation and powders. This unit, in particular, is also tall rather than too wide, so it can fill up nicely without sprawling across your entire counter. If you have the extra space, consider adding the spinning caddy to your counter to grab products and brushes quickly.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: While makeup lovers highly review these coordinating pieces, one points out that the stickers placed on them can be difficult to remove and make leave residue behind.
This solution is super convenient.
“If you have a smaller makeup collection or have a fairly simple morning routine, this compartment is a great solution to keep everyday makeup contained and organized on the counter or in a cabinet without taking up a ton of space,” says Duplisea.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This one is an excellent budget pick, and reviewers are super impressed with its durability at its affordable price point. A couple of them point out that their unit had scratches, however.
Duplisea couldn’t sing enough praises of this lazy Susan.
“I absolutely love them to help organize any space in your home. They are a great tool to help you access and take advantage of space that is difficult to reach, or organize a corner or counter space that lends itself to piles. With one simple spin, you have exactly what you need,” she adds.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This unit may not be large enough to suit more extensive collections, especially those that include large product bottles.
This product packs a big punch — it’s compact so it doesn’t take up a ton of space, but it provides a lot of storage. “It’s taller and rotates, which is a great way to take advantage of otherwise unutilized space (i.e. depth and height),” says Meghan Duplisea, founder of organizing service You, Organized in Boston. “The shelves are adjustable, as well, which allows you to customize the storage solution based on your belongings.”
You can accommodate taller foundation bottles, makeup brushes and eye shadow palettes — you name it, you can find a home for it on this organizer.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: With a compact, rotating option like this, you may find yourself pulling out several products in order to grab the one you’re looking for. Still, it may be suitable for someone with less space.
According to Lisa Jacobs, founder and CEO of Imagine it Done in New York City, makeup is one of the most challenging yet fun categories to organize in a bathroom.
“Be sure to frequently check makeup expiration dates and purge any old or unused product,” she says. “If you use makeup frequently, find a place for it that is easy to access, whether on a countertop or in a drawer. Group makeup according to categories and/or frequency of use.”
This clear system from The Container Store offers modular pieces that can be combined in a variety of ways in order to be tailored to your organizational needs. “Clear stacking drawers categorize items while still allowing you to see what is inside, and the divided containers keep daily items within easy reach,” Jacobs explains.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This product has a nearly perfect rating, but one buyer found that cleaning makeup stains away wasn’t as easy as they hoped.
For beauty products in particular, Duplisea recommends investing in a divided lazy Susan.
“Each compartment can hold a different category (eye, face, lip, etc.),” she says. “And the best part is that the circular compartment in the middle is perfect for holding makeup brushes.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This unit receives a nearly perfect score from buyers, but one points out that the bay storage areas aren’t big enough to hold some items.
“This rotating makeup organizer from Amazon is a beautiful and functional piece that allows you to see every item easily,” says Jacobs. “I love that every shelf is adjustable, making it completely customizable to your products.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Some reviewers who were happy with it otherwise say theirs arrived with some scratches or cracks in it.
Lo tells us her favorite vanity option is the Luxe Acrylic Makeup Storage Kit from the Container Store. She calls this store the holy grail spot for any and all home organization.
This storage kit is a splurge pick, given its steeper price tag, but beauty collectors will probably find that the handcrafted piece is worth the extra cash. It’s designed with longevity in mind, thanks to UV-resistant material that the company says prevents yellowing.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: It seems you can shop this collection separately if you find that you don’t need a particular component for your countertop solution — the pieces stack on top of each other.
Best drawer inserts for organizing makeup
“Organizer bins are a great, streamlined way to create categories,” Duplisea says. “These are useful to organize makeup in deeper drawers, larger bins, cupboards or medicine cabinets — containment is key, and these are a great tool to achieve that.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: These bins may not work in narrower drawers — measure your space before buying!
These only come in one size, so if you feel overwhelmed by the create-your-own drawer organizer sets, use these instead, suggests Duplisea.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This budget, bare-bones option is not ideal for highly organizing your collections but instead keeping things in one place in your drawer.
This well-loved drawer organizer from Amazon comes with 13 pieces to help you sort your collection in your makeup drawer.
The different sizes and styles mean you get to customize your drawer the way that works best for you, even moving some to another drawer for organizing other items like jewelry or even office supplies if you prefer. Silicone pads ensure the inserts stay put, so your products don’t fly around when you shut your drawer.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Some reviewers call this affordable kit a game changer, while others wish it were stackable.
This is a great solution if you are looking for simplicity.
“This organizer comes in one piece and will expand to the width of your drawer to ensure you are utilizing the full space,” says Duplisea. “A few simple compartments allow for you to keep a tidy, clutter-free space.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This one uses rubber feet to keep things in place, but some may prefer units that have larger feet or use silicone pads instead.
Best rolling and train makeup organizers
Professional makeup artists use spacious, tiered train cases like this one because they actually need the room for work. Not every layperson needs this, however. But if you’re someone who, like Shop TODAY associate editor Fran Sales (see our Instagram reel below), isn’t very organized and tends to accumulate lots of products, these kinds of cases are a great way to keep everything in one place.
Plus, it comes with a sturdy carry handle and handy dividers if you want to organize each tier even further. Even better: It’s under $30 on Amazon. For more of Sales’ experience with the case, watch the below installment of Shop TODAY’s “10 out of 10” series.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Promises to be portable, but unless you’re a pro makeup artist, this is too heavy (and unnecessary) to lug around.
If you have the space for it, a rolling cart is an easy way to add storage space in your bathroom without making fundamental changes, suggests Jacobs. Carts can hold extra paper products, cleaning supplies, heated hair tools, linens or back stock products.
“This storage cart from Urban Outfitters is sleek and functional,” Jacobs says. “It features three shelves and plenty of storage space that can be combined with other products for easy maintenance.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: We like that this pick is multi-functional, but some reviewers say it should be built sturdier.
Are you a makeup pro on the go? To many, this rolling case may look like a magician’s box, but you’ll know it’s the ultimate way to store a mighty collection that hits the road often. This pick can break off into a suitcase, or a larger carrying box for when you don’t need to wheel it around. It also folds out with several compartments and has varying dividers for sorting your pieces.
The four wheels it comes with are removable if you need to replace them in the future. Reviewers say this pick is worth the money and use it to tote around hair tools as well.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This case is highly rated, but some say it’s too much bulk for makeup. We say that’s up to the user to decide!
Best travel makeup organizers
This roll-out bag presents you with all your makeup, toiletries and skin care products at once. Use the sturdy hanger at the top and hang it up on a hook in your hotel bathroom to get ready faster. The clear compartments show you everything, so you don’t have to keep unzipping to find your essentials. It also has several slots for your brushes to stay safe during your travels. Lotions and potions have their own safety loops, too, for a better chance of staying put and avoiding spills.
This one also comes with a separate, transparent, TSA-approved toiletry bag — perfect for frequent flyers to pull out and fill up quickly. This pick is so admired by Amazon reviewers (and Shop TODAY!) that they give it 4.8 out of 5 stars.
P.S. It’s also available in a handful of fun colors.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: It’s tough to find any objections against this bag, but one reviewer finds that once it’s filled, it becomes too bulky.
For those who need something reliable to travel with, this spacious option has your future excursions in mind by including five travel bottles and a loofah. The fully lined bag resembles a little suitcase and includes a liquid storage compartment. You shouldn’t have much trouble cleaning this one, by the way; the brand promises it wipes clean.
Rose gold hardware adds a cute touch to the black bag, though the compartment that holds the travel bottles is transparent. A hanger hook at the top means extra convenience, too.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Sorry, Amazon lovers, this one is available only at Ulta.
Caboodles have made quite the comeback, and for good reason. Not only do these adorable toolboxes offer a boost of nostalgia, but they also hold and tote around just tons of makeup and beauty tools. Don’t forget about that fold-out middle compartment with the pop-up mirror, for convenient makeup application wherever you take it.
This throwback organizer has over 20,000 ratings on Amazon at the moment, with a score of 4.8 out of 5 stars (it’s also the No. 1 bestseller in Amazon’s cosmetic case category). Right now, there are about 40 colors and patterns to shop on Amazon, but some designs and colors sell out quickly.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: You can find Caboodles from Ulta or Target, but if you plan on buying from Amazon, it’s worth mentioning that a small amount of Amazon reviewers say theirs arrived broken or in flimsy packaging.
Béis The Cosmetic Organizer
Probably the chicest makeup organizer on our list, this bag by Béis adds a touch of glam to your look while carefully protecting your makeup collection. The brand says it designed this bag to go the distance, making it from recycled fabric that can withstand spills.
The thick bottom compartment protects your brushes or more fragile pieces (like smaller eye shadows) from being crushed. Right now, this piece is available in beige or black.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Though this bag is like to last you quite a while, it is on the pricey side.
Best makeup purses
Here is a budget-friendly, fashionable choice for those who like to keep things simple but also cute. This foldable, washable corduroy bag is said to be lightweight and surprisingly high-quality. It lands on our list because of its faithful fan base (it’s the No. 2 bestseller on Amazon in the cosmetic bags category at the time of this writing!).
Reviewers share all the different items they stash in this smiley, purse-like bag besides makeup (some manage to fit diapers in there, others like to toss in some toiletries, hair brushes, bobby pins; the list goes on). It comes in seven colors, most of which are neutral enough to incorporate into many looks.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Finding a complaint about this one isn’t easy, but one reviewer says the zipper may become problematic after some use.
Sometimes plopping everything into one pouch makes sense, especially if it’s just for a quick weekend getaway. This one is sneaky (in a good way) because it has the vibe of a small purse or wristlet but opens to reveal a spacious area for holding slews of makeup — plus a hidden bottom layer that unzips to organize and hold delicate pieces, like brushes or lipsticks.
This pick is an Amazon bestseller, with reviewers bragging about how much it holds. Considering its capacity and low price point, it’s a steal. It’s available in five colors and makes a fun gift idea for the makeup guru in your life.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Most reviewers are in love with this bag and say it can hold quite a bit, but some still say they expected it to be bigger.
Best multi-functional makeup organizers
“It’s important to find the ones that fit each type of product nicely,” Lo says about organizer sets, adding that she recommends this multitasking pick from Amazon. With its stackable trays in various sizes, this kit can slip into drawers to keep clutter off counters. Or, you can let it sit on a vanity space if you prefer.
The price point for this level of organization is a little staggering (at just under $20!). It’s another good fit for jewelry, office supplies or hair accessories. We also appreciate that it’s made from BPA-free plastic, which should be pretty simple to clean.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Amazon reviewers are rather obsessed, though those who place theirs in drawers say they leave gaps. Measuring can save disappointment!
“The area under the sink is often the most under-utilized space in the bathroom,” says Jacobs. “Without an organizational system, it easily becomes a dumping ground for things like cleaners, paper goods and inventory. Edit, edit and edit! If you don’t see it, you don’t know about it.”
Jacobs loves these Madesmart bins to make use of the vertical space under the sink. “Clear pull-out drawers contain a variety of items and provide easy, visible access to hard-to-find items,” explains Jacobs. “I recommend placing one on each side of the sink drainage pipe.”
SOMETHING TO NOTE: This one is best for light use. One Amazon reviewer points out that it’s not very steady for storing and lifting heavier items.
How to properly store makeup
You found the perfect organizer for you; now, what’s the best storage method to keep your collection thriving?
Jackson shares some easy rules for storage safety:
- Store your makeup out of the sunlight.
- Store them out of heat.
- Keep them away from any damp areas where moisture lives.
“Makeup and moisture don’t mix,” he adds. “Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and you don’t want to even think about where that can lead.”
Keep your new kit or unit in a cool, dry area, and remember to clean it occasionally, wiping away grime and dust. Wiping down makeup bags with a gentle cleansing cloth can make a big difference, too.
Questions about organizing makeup, answered by experts
How do I organize a lot of makeup?
“It can be overwhelming when you let your makeup get out of hand,” Jackson says. As he explains, the best way to tackle a lot of makeup is to break it down into smaller sections that feel easier to sort through and organize. “I like to systematize and break down makeup into categories.”
Depending on how much makeup you have, he says this may take a while, but it will be worth it.
Here are Jackson’s quick steps for sorting like a pro:
- First, pull everything apart. As you pull your makeup out, start placing products with like products. “So, all foundations together, all eye shadows together and so forth,” he says.
- Next, get rid of anything you can’t remember when you bought it. This is a red flag — it probably means it’s expired or just not useful to you. “Getting rid of old makeup and products that you simply don’t use is the quickest and most efficient way to start organizing your makeup,” he explains.
- Also, get rid anything that’s older than two years. Keep in mind that many products should be pitched way earlier, like mascara, which should only be kept for around six to eight weeks.
How do I declutter or simplify my makeup collection?
Lo tells us the best way to simplify your makeup collection is by having only one of everything you use.
“I have a collection of lipsticks, but I make sure to only have one red matte and one glossy pink, etc.,” she explains. “This is a huge help for not overloading my collection with products I don’t need!”
How do I stop hoarding makeup?
“I have a really hard time letting go of products I love so much,” Lo shares. She says the best way she has found to stop hoarding is by following the “one in, out one” rule.
“When I buy a new piece of makeup, I make sure I get rid of another piece, either because I ran through it or if it wasn’t the right shade for me — and in that case, I donate the product to [non-profit] Share Your Beauty or try to find a friend who it works better for.”
What’s the best way to organize my makeup for travel?
You may have guessed it, less is best, as Jackson reminds us.
“For longer vacation trips, I prefer makeup storage pieces that open up like a giant wallet — they tend to have large compartments for your body products, such as sunscreen or any large skin care or hair care products you may travel with,” he says.
He says these also tend to have small compartments that you can categorize and fit all of your makeup inside, as well. “I like to keep my pencils and makeup brushes inside this too, so once it is zipped shut, they are all lying together and are protected, so they don’t get broken inside your suitcase while traveling.”
And for quick weekend trips, Jackson says he loves to go bare bones and travel with something as small as a school pencil case. “It fits the essentials that I love to only carry in TSA-approved sized bottles.” If this sounds like your travel style, the Tartan + Twine clear pencil case bag is just $10 at Ulta.
What are your top do’s and don’ts for organizing makeup in a small space?
Lo tells us she takes advantage of drawer space to keep products organized.
“However, putting all of my makeup in drawers can quickly become a mess without inserts — I always make sure to put inserts in right away when moving my makeup into a drawer space,” she says.
Jackson adds that categorizing is key in small spaces. “Store the same type of products together. Think of your makeup as your own little Sephora,” he says. “How do you like shopping? Where you can find everything together in one place.”
Another tip from Jackson: Use travel-sized products instead of full-sized ones. “You’ll be surprised how much space they save, and also money!”
Finally, he says, keep the area clean. “It will be easier to manage a small space and take pride in it when it’s clean as well as tidy.”
How do I clean my acrylic makeup organizer?
Lo tells us she keeps her acrylic makeup organizer clean by dusting it each week with a Swiffer duster brush and doing a deep clean every few months.
“I tried a few different methods, but for me, the best way to clean it is by using a coarse sponge and dish soap, washing it like a dish, then set it to dry.”
While waiting for it to dry, she also wipes down each makeup product to keep her collection shiny and new.
Jackson tells us he likes to use a damp facecloth or paper towel. “If there’s anything more stubborn, I use a little 99 percent alcohol to remove the makeup.”
For something like clunky lipstick in a tight corner, Jackson suggests using an old (clean!) toothbrush to help loosen the makeup and get it out of any tight corners, so you can have a like-new storage system again.
Meet our experts