Chaos to Order: A Beauty Intervention, Part Two

Posted December 8, 2012 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand

Last week I kicked off a four-part series, Chaos to Order — a beauty simplification program designed to consolidate my high-maintenance beauty routine into something more TSA compliant. I confessed to my bag-checker status and revealed my current 40+ product travel inventory while I laid out my mission to reduce my 40+ products into ONE QUART SIZE ZIPLOC, which passes the airport security test by end of this year! I possess three more weeks to accomplish this based on my December travel schedule.

I currently separate my treasures by category: hair, skincare, makeup, and essentials (toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens solution, etc.) My initial plan was to edit category by category and reduce the number of pieces in each bag until I was left with bare bones for each one. From the bare-bones state, I would then proceed to jam it all into a quart-size Ziploc.

I decided to start with my makeup — currently my biggest offense — coming in at 20+ items. I thought I made good headway by forcing myself to choose one form of blush, one mascara formula, and one lip color. I grabbed a shadow quartet, as opposed to my single shadow containers, and even decided I could ditch my blush, and use my lip color as cheek color.

But, during this exercise I realized the error of my strategy. It was nothing short of an epiphany! I pack by category, but the TSA inspects based on viscosity (e.g., liquid, gel, cream). Items like eye shadow, lip pencils, and facial wipes are solids (in my world), which means they are exempt from my one-quart wonder. Eureka!

This insight prompted panic to set in quickly – I cherish routines, so the complexity of this new packing system hurt my head. But, I practiced my deep breathing, pushed through my anxiety, grabbed my Ziplocs, and dumped them on my dining room table.



I separated solids from liquids and decided to benchmark my current situation.



Damn it! I forgot the offending goods from my handbag – let me add those!



I found myself so overwhelmed by this reality check that I needed to crack open a diet Pepsi and contemplate this mission. For the love of God, I travel with three types of contact lens solutions – even my contact lenses demand high-maintenance care. Was I up to this task? Could I muster what it takes to make the tough choices?

Blessedly, I remembered the infamous “change curve” and quickly identified my current state on it: depression.


Depression – yep, that’s it. True confession: Instead of saying “I cherish routine,” earlier in the article, I needed to say, “I hate change.” Certain routines give me a sense of control in an-out-of-control world. Ironically, by not changing some of these habits, I unwittingly contribute to my own out-of-control devil and make matters worse.

Don’t you just love it when life lessons emerge out of everyday dilemmas? I asked myself, “Gosh darn it, why not look at the glass half full for once? I might discover some amazing new products. Clear out my laundry basket full of samples! My goodness, what if I transferred some of my products into smaller jars and bottles?” The possibilities shown like beacons of light in my dark journey. The pundits were right! It truly is the darkest before the dawn!

Stay tuned for next week’s progress!


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.