How to Spring Clean Your Makeup Bag

Cynthia Bailey, MD|March 11, 2015

  Makeup Bag I don't know about you, but for me, springtime brings up images of windows being opened, sweet, clean air sweeping through the room, and the scent of Pine-Sol in a bucket of suds. It never occurred to me that spring cleaning should be part of my makeup routine, as well. It wasn't until I was able to talk with Danielle Key, Dr. Bailey's in-office aesthetician, that I learned what spring cleaning should look like for our makeup bags. And, I got an added bonus of what to fill your bag up with once you've done all that hard work, of course. TC: Why do we need to spring clean our makeup bags? Danielle: It’s important to clean your makeup bag every season. Not just because it’s time to pick new colors for the season, but also because your makeup bag becomes dirty and can gather dust, mixed-up powder colors, and lots of bacteria and germs. Check to see if your makeup bag can be thrown in the wash. If not, using a disinfect wipe can help for some bags. Check the shelf life of all your makeup. Some will have dates, some won't. Here are some general guidelines for the average shelf life of most cosmetics:

  • Products that are powder based (e.g. mineral foundation, eye shadows, blushes): 2-3 years
  • Liquid foundation products: up to 1 year
  • Lip gloss/lipstick/lip liner: 2 years max for lipstick. Shelf life can be extended by refrigerating. Lip gloss with a wand applicator that is re-dipped into product may have a shorter shelf life. Lip liner can last up to 1 to 2 years.
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner: 2-3 months. These go bad fast once the air hits them. Here's a little tip - Don't pump your mascara wand. Just twist it so that less air gets into your tube.
  • Pencil eyeliner: 2-3 years

The bottom line is when in doubt, throw it out! Yes, throw it out even if you love it because it's not worth the risk of infection. For some makeup, there may be obvious signs that it's gone bad, such as how it looks, smells, or feels. Again, if you have any doubts, chuck it and treat yourself to something new in the latest colors Going forward, when you buy a cosmetic, take a black sharpie marker and write the date you purchased the makeup right on it. That way, you can track its recommended expiration date. I want to make a special warning about sharing products. If any eyeliner, mascara, or eye shadow was used during an eye infection, get rid of it. Those infections are really contagious. Also, women have a tendency to share lip gloss - don't! It can spread bacteria and viruses such as herpes - cold sores are no fun! If you have makeup that's still good but, like most of us, you are wanting to switch out colors for the new season then store your products in a cool and dark location until the next season. TC: Should makeup brushes be included in your spring cleaning? Danielle: Brushes are a bacteria breeding ground! Every time you touch your makeup brush to your face there is bacteria that gets on it. Skin oil and cells get on it too, so the bacteria can be pretty happy on your brush. Ideally, you should take the time to clean them at the end of every week and store them carefully in a clean place.

  1. Take an anti-bacterial soap or a shampoo, emerge the brush in water, and start washing your bush like you do your hair.
  2. Rinse your brush under running water. Squeeze the bush together and watch all of the dirty makeup and oil come out! Repeat this until the water runs clear.
  3. Once your brush is clean, wipe it dry with a towel and lay it flat to dry (never stand a brush up on its handle - this could ruin the glue and loosen or deform the bristles). You can also use a blow dryer if the brush needs to be used right away but be careful, as a hot blow dryer may ruin your brush.   

TC: What are the popular makeup colors for this spring and summer? Danielle: Now that you've put all that hard work into cleaning your makeup bag and brushes, it's time to celebrate by having fun with some new colors! You'll want a few of the new colors of makeup, lip gloss, and the fun new eye shadows that are trending for 2015. Nudes, blues, tangerines, strawberries, almonds with grays, and purples are BIG this season - lots of new looks and color! Don't forget the smoky red lips we saw on the runway this year.


  TC: As an added bonus, Danielle gave me a quick makeup lesson for the hot "purple-haze" eye shadow look for 2015:

  1. Wash the skin with a nice cleanser that won’t leave the skin dry (like Toleranie cleanser). toleriane
  2. Apply a nice thin moisturizer (such as Dr. Bailey's Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy).14
  3. Apply a BB cream (such as MDSolar Sciences or Suntergrity's BB Cream Sunscreen).58
  4. To apply eyeliner, use a flat, angled brush, dampen under water, swipe brush through the black part of the Smokey Trio, and run brush along your lash line.smokeytrio
  5. Apply Dr. Bailey’s loose, pressed, or baked mineral makeup to seal in the eyeliner for the day. Cover the whole face eyes and neck as well.mineralmakeup1
  6. For eye shadow, use a flat eye shadow brush to brush the silver shimmer in the Plum Trio all over the lid from the top of the lash line to the bottom of the brow.rsz_1plum
  7. Brush light lavender over the lid of the eye.
  8. Smudge dark purple in the creases of the eye lid with a contour brush.
  9. For blush, use the loose blush mineral powder to highlight the face, being sure to get the outer forehead area as well as down the frame of the face to bring out certain features that you want to highlight.mineralmakeup5

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