Patricia Foster

Photo: Chris Eckert/Studio D

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Patricia Foster

Age: 47
Her Weakness: Makeup
Her Rescuer: Makeup artist Troy Surratt

Trish's one-bedroom New York City apartment is pristine—clear surfaces, cool colors, an orchid blooming on the dining room table. But open her bathroom cupboards? Bins exploding with lipsticks! Compacts stacked ten high! "It's gotten so overwhelming," Trish says. "I used to enjoy the ritual of putting on makeup; now it makes me anxious." The products really started piling up after she turned 40: "I'm a sucker for anything that says luminosity, radiance, or glow." Here's how Surratt edited her formidable stash (to Trish's constant refrain of "Hey, I was wondering where that was!").

Counting It All Up

Trish's clutter by the numbers:
  • 169 lipsticks and glosses
  • 19 lip pencils
  • 33 eye pencils
  • 22 eyeshadow palettes
  • 24 bronzers
  • 39 makeup brushes
  • 8 pencil sharpeners

Space-Freeing Strategies

Skip Primers
They were first introduced almost 20 years ago, to help foundation go on more smoothly. "But today's foundations and tinted moisturizers have much more elegant formulas," says Surratt. "You don't need primer to make them easier to apply."

Know What You Have
Keep your makeup in clear acrylic organizers (Surratt loves the ones from Muji), and make sure it's easily accessible. Once products wind up in a bin under your sink, you may forget you have them...and buy them again.

Beware of "Pan Appeal"
"Beauty companies formulate products to look beautiful as a palette—they call it 'pan appeal'—but that doesn't mean they'll work on your face," says Surratt. Always try the color first, and ask yourself whether you really want to wear it—or just look at it.