How to Marie Kondo Your Makeup Bag: A Practical Guide

Updated 04/24/17
Fashion Me Now

When we say it’s time to spring-clean your makeup bag, we’re not trying to be kitschy. The thing is, when warmer weather rolls around, most of the products you’ve been holding onto since the holidays or—gasp!—earlier need to be given the boot. And that’s not only because heavier winter formulas aren’t doing your skin a favor in warm temperatures, but also because expired makeup is just asking for an infection (we know).

To help make the process of spring-cleaning your cosmetic bag a bit easier, we turned to top makeup artists and skincare experts to weigh in with their number one tips. When it comes to overhauling your makeup bag, their expert advice will ensure that your beauty look is both on trend and health conscious as we move into spring. Keep scrolling to discover expert tips for spring-cleaning your makeup bag for a fresh start this season.

Be Mindful of Storage

Smythson Panama Textured-Leather Cosmetics Case
Smythson Panama Textured-Leather Cosmetics Case $295
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“When storing the makeup inside, zip it up and keep it in a drawer. Makeup and brushes are much less likely to get contaminated when closed and not left open on the bathroom counter,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, the founder and the director of Capital Laser & Skin Care. However, beware of placing your makeup sponge in a sealed area; moist, dark areas are a breeding ground for bacteria—not exactly something we’d want to press into our skin.

Relocate Your Lip Products

Beauticom High Quality Clear Lid Plastic Container Jars
Beauticom High Quality Clear Lid Plastic Container Jars $6
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“Are you using your nail to scoop out the last bits of your favorite lip balm? Treat yourself to a new one ASAP,” says celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles. However, if it’s a beloved product, and you’re not willing to part with it just yet, Stiles suggests purchasing an airtight plastic jar and scooping the rest of the product into it.

Lighten Up

Tatcha Deep Hydration Firming Serum
Tatcha Deep Hydration Firming Serum $95
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Even if your skin rebounds from dryness once the weather warms up, don’t forget to continue moisturizing in the spring. This creates a smooth base for your makeup and provides a healthy dose of anti-aging benefits. However, those thick, heavy creams you used in the wintertime should be left behind with the cold weather. Says Heather Wilson, director of brand development at InstaNatural, “Swap your heavier cream-based moisturizer for a hyaluronic acid–infused lotion or gel. Hyaluronic acid adds hydration to your skin, without the heavier oils that creams can contain.”

Same goes for foundations. Wilson suggests transitioning into BB creams and light, water-based formulas. Just be sure not to continue using the same water-based formula you bought in the winter, says Sonia Kashuk: “Due to their liquid base, water-based products tend to have a shorter use span, which after time can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Check the ingredient list if you are unsure if the product contains water.”

Check the Dates

W3ll People Expressionist Trial Size Mascar
W3ll People Expressionist Trial Size Mascara $13
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Sonia Kashuk says that mascara is only good for six months. This should be taken into consideration not just because of flaking and dryness but also because of bacteria. Not sure if it’s time to toss it? Having reservations is probably a good indication that it’s time for it to go, but just to be extra sure, give the tube a sniff. Expired mascara has a distinctly foul smell.

Some other makeup expiration dates to keep in mind are as follows: concealer can last for six months; lipstick can last for two years; eye shadow can last for three years; pressed powder and blush can last for three years; foundation lasts for six months to one year; and eyeliner can last three years.

Watch for Cracks

Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder
Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder $25
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While makeup may have expiration dates, if it’s visibly broken/separated/gloppy, it may be time to get rid of it sooner, especially if you carry your makeup bag everywhere with you. Says Stiles, “If any pressed powder product has a chip in the powder and lives in your purse, get rid of it immediately. You can relocate it to your makeup area at home, but get it out of your purse. The surface has been compromised, and it will crack more and break in your bag. Save yourself the hassle, clean up, and get a new one.”

Wash It Out

Dawn Ultra Original Scent Dishwashing Liquid
Dawn Ultra Original Scent Dishwashing Liquid $3
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Tanzi suggests washing your makeup brushes every three weeks: “Most women would never dream of putting on foundation with dirty hands, so why put it on with a brush that has never been cleaned?” You don’t have to go crazy, either. Stiles says she prefers using an inexpensive dish soap that targets oil and grime to get her brushes squeaky clean. After washing, she lays them over the edge of her counter to dry them overnight.

However, makeup sponges are another story. Romy Soleimani, celebrity makeup artist and Beauty.com’s beauty director at large, says that these need to be washed after every use and if you notice it’s begun to deteriorate, “out with it!”

Brighten Your Makeup

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek $24
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Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg says to take a cue from nature when swapping in new products: “Thing are changing, flowers are blooming—it’s time to switch out the darker and moodier colors. Start using your fuchsias and your corals and your ‘hotter colors,’ so to speak. Don’t be afraid to put a flush on the cheek and embrace color.”

Greenberg is also a big fan of using creamy formulas for spring because they “melt into the skin” and give that dewy fresh look. (Take a look at some of our favorite cream replacements for powders.)

Lastly, Laura Gellar suggests one easy eye-opening, fresh-faced tip for spring: “By ditching eyeliner on the lower lash line and only using liner across the lid, you create a fresh look.” Easy peasy.

What spring product launch is your favorite so far? Sound off below!

Ed. note: Quotes have been edited for content.

This story was originally published on March 23, 2016.

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