Declutter Your Makeup Bag!

Make up bag needing a spring clean? – Check out these top tips you need to know.

Where do you start when decluttering your makeup?

Follow these steps to declutter your makeup easily:

  • Clear a surface to put your makeup and beauty products on. If it isn ’t a surface which can easily be wiped clean, protect it by putting a cover on it e.g. a dustbin bag, a plastic tablecloth, something to avoid any annoying spillages ruining your surface.
  • Gather together all your makeup. Check your car, make-up bag, bathroom, drawers, coat pockets and handbags and put it all on this surface.
  • Categorise your makeup and group like items with like e.g. put all lipsticks together, foundations all together and so on. This helps you see at a glance where you have too many products.
  • Put to one side everything that has expired (I will get to that later).

Ask Yourself:

Once all your expired products have been put to one side, consider these questions for every item to decide whether you want to keep what is left (try to forget how much something cost you and really focus on whether the produce deserves a space in your life):

  • When was the last time you used it? If you’ve not used it in the last 6 months, you probably won ’t miss it.
  • Does it fit my current style? Styles change in makeup as well as clothes. Do you still love it?
  • Do I have duplicates? Often we forget that we have a product already and buy it again – keep the newest and let go of the rest unless it is a product you use all the time.
  • Would I buy this today? If you would not spend money on it today then it’ s definitely time to go!

Cleaning your makeup

Make sure you regularly sanitise your products and clean your brushes to prevent spreading bacteria. Once you declutter your makeup, you should give the products you have decided to keep a good clean.

  • If you like to keep bacteria and germs out of your makeup bag, clean your brushes every few weeks.
  • Run a baby wipe or face wipe over grubby packaging to make it look like new again. Put your makeup bag in the washing machine (if you can) or hand-wash it.
  • Clean the inside of your makeup drawer. Your makeup brushes will be the most likely to need a clean (you should do this at least once a month)

Cleaning your brushes

To clean your brushes properly a brush cleaner dry oil spray works a treat, however, if you don ‘t have a cleaner you can do it with soap and water, carefully.

Run the TIPS of your makeup brushes in lukewarm water rinsing out all the residual makeup – just get the tips wet and not the base of the bristles as the fine hairs of high quality makeup brushes get damaged by over-soaking in water. Then put a squirt of shampoo onto your palm and gently swirl the brush in this to create a lather, rinse the brush tip under warm running water again.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the water runs clean Squeeze excess water from the brush or blot it with a clean towel and leave to air-dry overnight.

Storing your products

Once you have cleaned all your beauty products, you can now store them. You should store makeup at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

Often people leave an emergency makeup bag in their car so just remember that skincare products including sun-cream are vulnerable to heat as high temperatures can deactivate the ingredients, preservatives and fragrances in them.

If you normally store your makeup in the bathroom, keep it in a cabinet or a drawer away from humidity.

Store nail varnish in a cool, dry place. The best place for nail varnish is your fridge – seriously!

Getting rid of makeup

Now you have cleaned everything you are keeping and put it away, it’ s time to get rid of what’ s left.

Please don’t just throw everything in the bin! Here are some tips as to how you can dispose of it in a more environmentally friendly way:

1. Donate it – Check to see if you have any products that friends or family might want. Avoid donating any used products in jars which you have dipped your fingers in. Also used mascaras, eye products, sponges, brushes and lip gloss may harbour germs which you could pass on.

There are a couple of great charities that you can donate makeup to:

BEAUTY BANKS – Sali Hughes and Jo Jones set up this scheme to help try to end hygiene poverty. They send out toiletries to distributors e.g. churches and food banks in the UK to help those most in need. Box up your new and unopened items e.g. make-up, skincare, hotel toiletries etc and post to: BEAUTY BANKS c/o JO JONES, THE COMMUNICATIONS STORE, 2 KENSINGTON SQUARE, LONDON W8 5EP. Or you may have a local drop point.

GIVE AND MAKEUP – This is a non-profit initiative whose aim is to get everyday essentials into the hands of women and children in the UK who need them the most. Box up your used and new products and post them to: PO BOX 855, LONDON, W4 4AW But do not send really old makeup, or lipsticks that are pretty much used up. Please don ’t send it if you would be embarrassed to give it to a friend.

2. Recycle – You can easily recycle most plastic or glass containers that beauty products come in. First you will need to pour out any remaining product into an old bowl or food packaging and wash out with hot water and fairy liquid. Do not pour it down the sink or flush it down the toilet! The packaging may be so nice that you can even reuse it for something else in your home.

Once you have emptied the packaging put it in your recycling bin or return it to the brand. A few brands accept empty packaging. For example:

LUSH – look for the label which tells you what can be returned for a fresh face mask!

Kiehl’ s – take any empty full size or travel size products from Kiehl’ s back to their store and you will get a stamp, for every 10 stamps you get a free travel size product.

MAC Cosmetics – return 6 MAC primary packaging containers to a MAC store and you’ll receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice.

If you buy recyclable beauty products in the first place, you won’t feel guilty when it’s time to get rid of them. Brands like LUSH and Burt’s Bees use metal tins to store their products.

3. Bin it – Unfortunately, the only solution right now seems to be putting the rest in landfill. If you have nail polish to get rid of which is not dried up, it’ s technically hazardous waste. This means you shouldn’t just throw it in your household bin. Contact your local council for advice on how to safely dispose of it.

Now you have sorted out the keepers from the rest let’ s go back to those expired products.

As a general rule you shouldn’t use out of date products, they have dates for a reason, it could be the active ingredient will no longer work meaning the product will become dry, blotchy or gloopy – none of which should be near your face. Expiry dates are usually:

  • 3 months – Mascara / liquid eyeliner – Eyes hold much bacteria, these products should be replaced even if not empty.
  • 3 months – Beauty blender / sponges
  • 12 months – Liquids / creams – foundation, concealer, blush etc
  • 6 months – 18 months – Sprays – depending on content and brand)
  • 12 months – 24 months – Powders / solids – eyeshadows, foundation, bronzer etc

Repurpose it!

If you have an expired eye pigment or shadow they can be used to make great custom nail polishes.
Crush up the shadow or pigment and add to a clear nail polish for a totally unique colour. Mix shades together for something exciting, or use old glitter pigments for a gorgeous high shine polish. Similarly crush them into a container and use them to dip your wet nail polish into for an ombre look.

Lip balm that can no longer be used on the lips, can still be used as a nourishing product.
Use it on the cuticles to keep them soft and supple. Or, use it on the hard skin of the feet to help soften up the skin, as well as preventing shoes from rubbing.

When your mascara has run out, or become too dry to use (I hate it when that happens), don’t throw away the mascara wand.
A mascara wand is actually a really useful beauty tool, just make sure you gently wash off all the excess mascara with warm soapy water. It is a great tool for shaping your eyebrows and it can be used to tame stray brow hairs by spraying with a little hairspray and combing through the stragglers. They are perfect for honing in when bleach or colour needs to go on your roots and not on the rest of your hair. It can also be used to exfoliate your lips when used in conjunction with a lip scrub – it is such a versatile applicator!

But what about makeup that has broken?
I once smashed a beautiful bronzer/highlighter palette and was heartbroken. I hadn’t had it long and it was just perfect for creating a bronzed glow for summer. I could have thrown it away, but thinking quickly, I crushed the remaining broken pieces into the tub of my favourite moisturiser. After a good mix, I had an amazing bronzing cream that really helped enhance the starter tan on my legs and arms.

I hope this guide has been helpful and happy decluttering!