A few weeks ago, I spent an entire Sunday cleaning and sprucing up the teeny tiny space where I bocha-bocha. Bocha-bocha means splashing noises in Japanese, to bathe in Hawaii’s Pidgin English.
Eight hours, one trash bag and one shopping bag later, I could call my vanity and bath minimal (unlike my closet, which is still behind the velvet ropes of excess, pleading with the bouncer to be let in to the coolest club in town).
My beauty routine has been minimal for a few years, almost non-existent. I wasn’t always this way. The Honolulu me used to run around in cute shoes and a pencil skirt waving a flat iron, while touting the benefits of La Mer to whoever would listen. Townie me was also ready to claw your eyes out with my perfectly maintained acrylic nails. I wore make-up every day although I’ve always had a light hand. Sephora and Neiman Marcus were regular destinations to see what was new in hair, make-up and skin care.
Now, on most days, I slap on some BB Cream and I’m out the door. Pedis are still a habit but no acrylic has touched these nails for years. The state of my bathroom was a mishmash of leftovers from my old life. Four year old eye shadows, duplicates and cosmetic brushes well past their prime filled a dirty plastic set of drawers in a small space. My hotness ranking has definitely slipped these past few years of barely there grooming but I finally realized it’s not the products’ fault. A little exercise and a healthy diet will do me wonders. Hanging onto old inventory will do me no favors.
- Almost all make-up.
- All make-up brushes.
- Two eyelash curlers.
- All hair brushes (trust me, they were gross and beyond redemption).
- Expired prescriptions, Nyquil and vitamins.
- A second sonicare toothbrush travel case.
- An unbelievable amount of feminine products that were just wrong (probably bought in a moment of panic when I couldn’t find the “right” ones).
- Empty sunscreen, empty jewelry cleaner and close to empty travel sized items (WTF?).
- Two day of the week pill boxes.
- A cracked ceramic candle holder.
- An empty bottle filled with dried up twigs (formally known as a room freshener).
- Three different sets of self tanner.
- Two bottles of make-up primer.
- Unopened skin care and toiletry samples.
- Beautiful hand made soaps received as gifts or favors.
- An unused travel sized hair dryer and flat iron.
- A duplicate of the whitening cream I agonized over buying just a mere month ago.
- Two unopened body butters, a Cetaphil creme and foot creme.
- Two tubs of deep conditioner.
- Moroccan oil (the bomb diggity of hair products)
- Fifty towels, no, seriously, FIFTY towels.
- A week’s worth of daily contact lens packets in a travel bag that hasn’t been touched for over a year.
I kept one bottle of foundation, one BB cream and a tinted moisturizer. One Bad Gal liner (I fancy myself a smudgy black liner rocker chick in my aspirational daydreams) and a creme blush also made the cut. Three new brushes replaced twenty old ones, a kabuki, bronzer and eye. Two new neutral single shadows and a shimmer brick replaced the ten sets of eye shadow of the last decade. Found a nice bristle hairbrush in my car (stop laughing!) and picked up a new paddle brush. The lip tint and plumper was moved into a little cup and placed in the medicine cabinet. The body lotion, foot care and deep conditioner now sit on a shelf next to the shower. My vast assortment of latex free bandages were removed from their original packaging and put into one wooden beach chic box. Extra floss, cotton balls, razors, alcohol wipes and qtips were placed in another box. Pretty travel bags that were languishing under the sink were pulled out to utilize for storage and organization for hair accessories and unmentionables.
There is now beautiful empty space under the sink. In the bathroom, the drawer set has been replaced by a set of two cube shelves which hold two pretty storage boxes, one travel toiletry bag and a basket for hair tools.
My minimal tips for the bathroom:
- Know what you have before buying anything new.
- Just say no to free samples.
- Consider having a set amount of space or a set quantity of items for beauty and skin products. Before heading to Macy’s and the Cos Bar, I decided how many make-up brushes and how many powders I would buy to replace my old pieces. This prevented impulse buys at the counter (fun combined with hope is a dangerous combination).
- Many products have similar outcomes but go by different names (the hair product industry is notorious for this).
- Be aware of recurring purchases of similar colors. How many bottles does one person need of pale pink nail polish or shimmery taupe eye shadow?
- Know your aspirational triggers. We all have them, the elusive problem fixer we buy again and again because we are unhappy with a perceived imperfection.
- Once a year, go through everything and toss stuff that has exceeded its shelf life or is no longer needed.
- Avoid the temptation to add any non-functional decor pieces, you’ll just end up cleaning it later.
What’s your tips for a minimal vanity and bath?