The Beauty Insider: How To Spring Clean Your Make Up Bag

The Beauty Insider: How To Spring Clean Your Make Up Bag

Make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon is sharing her tips and tricks on what’s new, what’s cult and what you really need to know in the world of beauty. This week, she’s getting organised and Spring cleaning her makeup bag…

First things first, I hate any form of cleaning. I love my floordrobe; and the £30 a week I pay my cleaner is the best money I spend. I’m one of those people who is all or nothing. If I’m going to clean, then you better believe I’m not stopping until the chosen room is sparkling. For those couple of hours, I am the Marie Kondo of Teddington.  After my cleaning sesh, I then expect high praise and perhaps a bar of chocolate from my very tidy husband as a reward for my efforts.
However, two-three times a year I do ‘Spring clean’ my makeup bag. And I find it extremely satisfying. So, I thought this the perfect time to share my decluttering tips.
Before we start, let’s be clear, you need all the make-up you own. I’m not for a second suggestion that you throw anything away, unless it’s starting to smell funny or you have a picture of your Nan using it in 1965. I’m just suggesting that you don’t need to have it all in your daily makeup bag. You can store the rest at home in a lovely box, (Muji and Primark have some fab clear versions), in your bathroom, or, like me, in a 5ft by 6ft beauty room of joy! This is about the essentials. The things you use every day. The items that will boost your complexion even after a four-hour conference call. This form of Spring cleaning will also help your back. Have you ever put your makeup bag on a scale?! I did for the purpose of this article and guess how much it weighed? 8lb 2oz!  That’s the weight of a small dog or four bags of sugar. And there I was carrying that weight on one shoulder day in, day out. NOT GOOD.

Step 1

Collate all your makeup bags. Now, you may just have one or, like me, you may have 7. But if you are that smug one bag girl, I bet a tenner that you’ve got lip glosses, balms, and maybe even a blush hiding at the bottom of your makeup bag or in your coat pocket. So, dig it all out and put it all in a pile.

Step 2

Separate the pile into these four categories:.

  • Items you use every day.
  • Old, out of date items (FYI mascaras should be changed every month, anything liquid every 12-18 months, and powders every two years). 
  • The third pile should be items you rarely use.
  • And the forth should be for duplicates. I guarantee you have at least two similar lip products in your bag.

Once you’ve done that, chuck away the old stuff but not before writing down what you need to replace. I tend to do this whole process near pay day so that I can go online immediately and repurchase what I need. Next, store away the makeup you rarely use. Then switch some bits around. For example, if you’ve recently bought a new lipstick or eye shadow palette, put that in your ‘every day’ pile. But not before removing a similar item. You just don’t need two neutral eyeshadows.

Step 3


If it’s washable, chuck your makeup bag on a hand wash. If not, then wipe it over with some alcohol spray to get rid of dirt and grime. Then grab yourself a pack of baby wipes. Not great for your face, but really great for cleaning your makeup. Take each of the products that you’ve decided to keep, including the ones you’re going to store at home, and give them a wipe over. You’ll be surprised at how much dirt and gunk collates on the outside and the inside of the packaging. This part is actually bloody satisfying, so enjoy it.
Now that your products are sparkling, lets talk brushes. Come on, when was the last time you cleaned them? Remember, these babies go on your face daily. If you’re wondering why you’ve had a bad break out recently, or why your skins been a bit ‘off’. It could very well be to do with the state of your brushes. They hold tons of bacteria so cleaning them regularly is key. For me this means weekly. This is for my personal brushes only. My work brushes are cleaned after every use. Even if you can only clean them once a month, this is something. Just add it as a reoccurring appointment in your diary. Mine reads, ‘Clean brushes, water plants, have a glass of prosecco to celebrate’, all the important things! I use the beauty blender solid and the Sigma brush cleaning glove to do mine. But using your everyday shampoo and the palm of your hand is just fine. Always leave your brushes to dry naturally on a towel overnight to prolong their life. Using any sort of heat on them will loosen the glue that holds the bristles in place.
Now that everything is clean and sorted have another look at what you’re going to put into your bag. In my opinion, these are the essentials.


I decant my large bottle into a smaller and lighter plastic bottle, you can get these from Boots or Superdrug. And this is what comes with me in my makeup bag. I apply my makeup at home with the large bottle and use the small ones for top ups only.



Bronze and blush

Yes! These can make you look awake again after the longest of days. Most brands do mini versions now, so get these. And don’t forget that your lipstick is a great alternative to blusher.

My Fave  NARS Blush Bronze Duo; Urban Decay Naked flush palette

Brow product

Once applied this shouldn’t move, so leave the pencils and powders at home. I do carry a setting gel so that I can brush them back into place throughout the day.

My Fave – Benefit 24hr Brow Setter; GOSH eyebrow gel.


This should last you all day. Take a lip balm with you instead. Rubbing a small amount of this into your lashes after a long day will make them look glossy and fresh. Lip balms are also great when used as a highlighter on the cheekbones.

My Fave  Dr Lucas Paw Paw cream.

Eye shadows

One palette is enough. Stick to quads if you can as these are lighter. I tend to always have a black kohl liner and some sort of shimmer with me too. For the purpose of last-minute cocktails.

My Faves – Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette; Chanel Les 4 ombres in 204; Stila Magnificent Metals in Rose Gold Retro;. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Tuxedo.


This is the product that will need the most topping up throughout the day. You already have your balm for hydration. But keeping your favourite lip gloss, lipstick and potential lipliner in your makeup bag is a must. I always have two lippies. A neutral and a bright. Lipstick is one of the most transformative products so changing the shade for the evening works wonders.

My Faves – Fenty gloss bomb. Becca Volcano goddess glow. Mac Lady danger lipstick. Rimmel Kate nude.


This includes brushes and ear buds, yup, they are your best friend and tidy up any mistakes instantly. I buy wooden ones from Amazon to avoid plastic. Brush wise, I just take a blusher and two fluffy eyeshadow brushes with me. The rest stay at home.
So that’s it. How satisfying was that? Your make up bag is now officially Spring cleaned, organised and about 4lbs lighter! You’re welcome.

Love & Lipstick,
Lisa xx

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