How To Declutter Your Make-Up

How To Declutter Your Make-Up

Thanks to out-of-date products and bacteria build-up, many make-up bags can harbour germs. If it’s time to give your beauty stash a good overhaul and clear-out, here’s some expert advice to help you get organised.

Understand The Importance Of A Good Clear Out

“Chucking out products is key for a number of reasons,” explains make-up master Trish McEvoy, “mainly because old ones can harbour so much bacteria and so many germs. This is because our hands aren’t always clean when we touch our products, brushes and palettes. It’s why it’s important to keep on top of good cleanliness and ensure you’re washing everything properly and regularly, as well as clearing things out every three months at least.” 

Before You Begin, Organise Everything Neatly

“I launched my Makeup Planner to help me – and others – keep their stash properly organised,” continues Trish. “The importance of this is you can see where everything is, which then allows you to make decisions with some context about what to chuck and what to keep. It’s a great way of staying neat, but also on top of the things you do and don’t need. It’s worth noting that you don’t always have to bin things either. Of course, if they’ve gone off or are out of date, then you should; but if unopened or not touched, remember some shelters and women’s shelters will accept them.” We recommend trying Give And Make Up which accepts lightly used products, as well as Beauty Banks who take unused items.  

Get Labelling

“Speaking of being organised, I advise labelling all your creams and mascaras with the date you buy them and then also with the date you opened them,” recommends Trish. “It sounds excessive, but if you’re forgetful or want an easy way to keep things organised, this is a great way to do so. The expiration date starts when you open it. Likewise, sort your products by application area – for instance, keep eye make-up together, face all in one compartment and so forth. I designed my make-up planner for this reason – it keeps things neat, organised and, most importantly, germ-free.” 

Know When It’s Time To Chuck It

“If your make-up looks or smells funny, then it’s too old and needs to be replaced,” advises skincare expert Dr Deborah Lee. “Eye make-up is the biggest concern, as mascara is notorious for causing infections. You should hear a pop as the mascara wand comes out. If this doesn’t happen, too much air has got into the chamber and this means it may have become an unhealthy breeding ground for bacteria. Likewise, if you use your hands to apply cream make-up, remember this introduces bacteria into these products, so try to replace and change them every nine months. The same goes for lipstick – these can harbour infections inside the tube, so replace them every six months, or more often if you find you’re suffering with dry, crispy lips. It goes without saying that lipstick should never be shared either.”
“Many beauty products carry a PAO symbol (this a number followed by an M and an open jar icon),” says Trish. “The symbol tells you how many months after opening a product should be thrown away. Most of the time, this is on the packaging, so make a note before you discard it. Each product has a different shelf life, but the standard for mascara is three months; for cream or liquid products it’s six months to a year; while for powder-based products it’s two to three years. Lipstick, gloss and lip pencils will also last around two to three years, but it’s important to be your own detective and, if something doesn’t look right, toss it.” 

I advise labelling all your creams and mascaras with the date you buy them and then also with the date you opened them.

How To Maximise Your Products’ Shelf-Life…

Store Your Beauty Items Wisely

“A lot of people don’t know this, but storing make-up in a cool, dark place is essential for its longevity and will ensure you don’t have to chuck things too quickly,” explains make-up artist Warren Dowdall. “Direct sunlight can interfere with colour but, what’s more, warm conditions (even if only slight) can encourage the growth of bacteria. It’s also worth sharpening your eye pencils every time you use them and wiping them down weekly to minimise the chance of infection.” 

Prolong The Life Of Your Tools

“As a general rule, brushes and tools should last you much longer than everything else in your make-up bag – that is, providing you clean them at least once a week to get rid of bacteria and keep them in the best possible condition,” says Warren. “Sponges and tanning mitts, however, require more immediate action. You should never leave a damp sponge in your make-up bag as this will encourage the growth of bacteria and mould. If you leave it to dry, be sure to leave it to air in an open space. If you ever start to see them going mouldy or if they begin to smell, chuck immediately. It’s also important you don’t leave your brushes standing up to dry. This will cause the moisture to seep into the glue in the base, which in turn, can dissolve and cause the brush hairs to become loose, meaning you’ll soon have to get rid of them. Instead, once you’ve cleaned them, reshape the hair gently, then leave your brushes on a towel on a countertop with the brush hairs hanging over the edge. This will allow excess moisture to drain off and the brushes to air dry.” 

Invest In The Right Cleaning Equipment

“Using a gentle cleanser is vital, especially for cleaning brushes and sponges,” adds Warren. “You can try a silicone-free shampoo if you’re on a budget but, ideally, invest in a conditioning brush cleanser to give your beauty tools a thorough clean, as well as leaving them soft and free from damage. Steer clear of harsh, abrasive formulas, including dish soap which can end up leaving the fibres on your tools dry and textured. Instead, look for ingredients like witch hazel and nourishing almond oil. If you have used a strong ingredient and your bristles feel rough, clean them again and try adding a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to your cleanser. It’s guaranteed to bring them back to life.” 
“I’m a big fan of soap and water for brushes and lids of products,” says Trish “but to wipe things down further, I like a Lysol wipe. I wipe down everything after I’ve used it – including the outside of make-up compacts. It’s so important for keeping germs at bay and ensuring your product doesn’t go off prematurely.” 

Look For Spray Cleaning Formulas

“If you want to minimise the build-up of daily germs, use a cleaning spray between washes,” finishes Warren. “The same applies to your make-up bag or anything you put your products and tools into – think drawers and make-up containers. Keep all of them clean and disinfected by using an alcohol spray of between 62% to 71%, and wipe them down weekly to ensure your storage is as hygienic as possible. You can also look for sprays that contain hydrogen peroxide – both will kill microbes and bacteria effectively.” 

For A Reminder Of What To Get Rid Of & When, Follow This Guide…


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