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Make Over Your Makeup Bag

Makeup artists spill their secrets on keeping your stash of beauty products organized.

Learning Benefits

No one needs to tell you what a time-suck it is to rummage through 17 eye pencils, nine tubes of lipstick, and a pile of compacts when you’re in a mad rush to get out the door. Worse, hoarding products can actually be a health hazard: Every time an item touches your fingers or skin, you transfer bacteria that can lead to breakouts or other infections. Make a fresh start this season with these mom-friendly tips to streamline your stash. It’s way more fun than tackling boxes of basement buildup — and you’ll look prettier by the end of the de-cluttering, too.

Ready, Set, Toss!

  • Wash your hands and then empty all the contents of your bag out onto a clean countertop so you can eyeball everything easily.
  • Immediately throw out anything that’s broken (hello, crumbly blush and cracked compacts), dirty (used makeup sponges) or just plain old. If it’s unopened, keep it: Most cosmetics remain safe when sealed, but as soon as the formula is exposed to air, ingredients oxidize and eventually change color or lose their staying power, says New York City cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, founder of
  • Among the stuff that's left, pull out anything you haven't used in three months (like that sparkly eyeshadow you bought for New Year’s). Those items should be placed in a separate bag for special occasions, suggests Boston makeup artist Andrea Ducharme. “Keep only your everyday essentials in your makeup bag,” she says.
  • Clean your tools! To de-gunk makeup brushes and remove any pore-clogging debris, Ducharme recommends filling a bowl with warm water and baby shampoo, then holding the brush by the metal part and swirling it through the soapy solution for at least a minute. Rinse with clean water, squeeze the bristles into shape, and lay flat to dry overnight.




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