Clean Up Makeup Feature

Clean Up Your Makeup Bag: Which Products Should You Keep and Toss?

Cleaning my makeup bag is something I do every season. I enjoy it because it helps me keep my beauty products in rotation. It’s a good habit to keep tabs on beauty products because some of them, like makeup brushes, need a routine cleaning, and others, like mascara, might expire in the wink of an eye.


Whether you’re a beauty junkie with 10 different lipsticks in your makeup bag or a minimalist who only carries a compact powder and ChapStick, deciding what to toss and what to keep every season is a must.

Here are some tips on how to give your everyday makeup bag an overhaul (my friend was nice enough to let me give her makeup bag a very overdue makeover):

1) TOSS any foundation or compact powder you’ve had for more than one year. Makeup products have a shelf life, and using them beyond their expiration date can cause skin irritation and breakouts. Toss that old foundation and compact powder. For those of you who have a hard time getting rid of makeup because you have a sentimental attachment to its pretty packaging, this provides an easy justification to get rid of it.

Clean Up Bag 1

2) TOSS any eye products if they’re over six months old. Expired eye products can cause a sty. Most eye products like mascara and eyeliners last six months. Sometimes the labels are so tiny you might think there is no expiration, but it’s there! If you’ve had your mascara more than six months, it’s time to replace it and prevent an eye infection. For a detailed list of expiration dates for your beauty products, check out this handy infographic on how to care for your cosmetics on the Ogle School blog.

Clean Up Bag 2

3) KEEP your makeup brushes but wash them more often. If you have a brush inside your bag, the most probable scenario is that the bag is dirty, stained by your favorite blushes and bronzers. Try to wash your brushes every week to get rid of germs. You can also purchase an inexpensive blush/powder brush with a lid at the beauty supply or grocery store to keep your bag clean.

Clean Up Bag 2-2

4) KEEP your beauty sponges and powder puffs at home. Beauty tools like sponges should never be in your makeup bag unless they’re part of your powder compact or you’re traveling. Since these special tools are meant to be used wet, they might start smelling bad and picking up some germs too. It’s better to leave them at home to dry after use.

5) KEEP your CC or BB cream. Multi-tasking products help declutter your makeup bag and provide an array of skin benefits in one application. Keep an eye on the expiration dates!

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6) TOSS any money from your makeup bag into your wallet. Don’t carry any germ-infested items in your makeup bag, especially money. Cash will brush up against any makeup in your bag and get it really dirty and full of germs.

7) TOSS a dirty makeup bag. There are many fun and inexpensive makeup bags you can get to keep your products clean. Your bag should be easy to transfer from one purse to another. Tip: Choose a smaller bag so you haul fewer makeup products around — just the everyday essentials like a perfume sample, lipstick, concealer and mascara.

Clean Up Bag 5

Clean Up Bag Last

My last tip: Please don’t leave your makeup bag in the car! Vehicles can reach temperatures up to 100 degrees in the summer, and that ruins the formula in your cosmetics. It might be more obvious on a melting lipstick, but I’ve seen people who left department store foundation and perfumes in the car that also got ruined. That’s why it’s important to carry a small makeup bag that’s easy to switch from purse to purse so it’s always with you.

How often do you clean up your makeup bag?

About the Author

Nicole Kestenbaum
Nicole started her career in beauty as a professional photographer for women’s magazines. Actually, her love for beauty started at the age of 5 with her first lipstick and she’s known all her life that she wanted to be involved in the beauty world. Working at the magazine she would constantly review beauty products and attend industry events to be in the know of the latest trends. With more than 10 years as a photographer and beauty writer she decided to open her successful 3 time-award winning blog Lipstick and Brunch in 2010 when she moved from Honduras to Houston. She currently lives in Sugar Land with her husband Miguel and spoiled basset-hound puppy, Gala.