If you’ve already applied the Marie Kondo method to your closet, your fridge and the rest of your house, this article is for you.
What’s next on your list, you ask? The makeup bag. Read on to see what beauty products Kondo keeps on hand and how you can tidy up your bathroom counter to spark more joy in your life.
Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and star of her own Netflix show, explains how applying the KonMari method to your makeup can make you look at yourself in a new way.
Marie Kondo has become a household name in more ways than one. Already well known for her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese organization guru has become instantly recognizable thanks to her hugely popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in which she helps people make sure the items in their home are only ones that spark joy. Allure spoke to Kondo for our March 2019 issue, and she shared her thoughts on beauty ideals and how cleaning out your makeup bag can take on a deeper meaning.
What’s your earliest beauty memory?
Whenever my mother used to prepare meals for me, she would always explain the ingredients she used and the health benefits they had for the body. If she was making carrots, she would tell me they were good for the eyes, or any sort of meat or vegetables, how they impact your skin complexion. So ever since I was small, I knew we are what we eat, and what we consume contributes to our overall well-being. What I pass on to my two daughters is exactly what my mother taught me — every time we share a meal, I try to pass on the nutrients of each ingredient. Right now my daughters are two and three, though, so they’re not really listening, they’re just eating what they want to eat.
Your philosophy of decluttering has become associated with minimalism in the United States. Do you have a minimalist approach to your routine or the products you use?
Well, I don’t think I’m focused on being a minimalist, but my approach to beauty is more focused on the condition of my skin and body, so that could be interpreted as a simple and minimalistic [approach]. One thing I say is, unless I’m appearing in public or before an audience, I never wear foundation.
Why is that?
The simple answer is, not to boast, I don’t really need it. Back when I worked at a company, I used to wear foundation every day, but I realized the more I used it, the weaker my skin was getting. One day I tried to be brave and go without foundation. And it took about a week or so, but the condition of my skin improved so much. But I do wear things like sunscreen every day, and I’ve had this hairstyle ever since I was a little girl. What you’re seeing is a very traditional hairstyle in Japan. I think it’s kind of old-timey, straight with bangs. When I was in my teens, middle school and high school, I cut my hair short, but since then I’ve always kept it this way. After I wrote and published my book and had a lot of media appearances, it sort of became my trademark.
Is there a Japanese standard of presentation that you’ve seen?
Makeup in Japan is very natural. It’s what we all aspire to. Japanese women tend to put in a lot of effort to their makeup, and the end result is to look like you’re not wearing anything. This might be my personal view of what Japanese people’s understanding of beauty is, but there’s beauty in being conservative — I think that’s what the prevalent understanding of what Japanese beauty is. Beauty is kind of fleeing, ephemeral, and I think we really understand that.
In the US, there’s certainly a maximalist approach to buying products — we like a lot of things. If somebody wanted to simplify their beauty situation, what steps would we take?
What I suggest doing is taking everything out of storage and grouping them into category — lipsticks, eyeshadow and so on — and ask yourself, “Which ones bring me joy in this time in my life? Does this product make me beautiful right now?” Something I learned from working with so many people’s bathrooms and helping people organize makeup is that really going through our makeup products raises our awareness of what we think about beauty. For a lot of my clients, organizing products the KonMari way, it’s an opportunity for people to really think about their relationship with beauty and what they aspire to, and I’ve seen people make drastic changes after tidying their bathroom or vanity. Before they used or bought a large volume of products, but they shifted back to cherishing a smaller amount. What we think about beauty is reflected on how we handle and treat our products, and, in turn, ourselves.
As for which beauty products spark joy for Kondo, this is skin care so good, she finds space in her bathroom:
Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
It’s no wonder someone who’s such a fan of thoroughly cleaning loves this $48 purifying cleanser and makeup remover, which melts away the debris of the day while leaving behind much-needed moisture.
Albion Exage Moist Advance Milk II
Applied with a cotton pad, this light $78 lotion promises to increase skin’s natural moisture to create the ideal balance.
Three Balancing White Clear Essence
One of the reasons Kondo doesn’t feel the need to wear foundation is because of this discoloration-fighting $95 formula, which contains arbutin to suppress the melanin that causes dark spots.