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How to detox your makeup bag this January

It wouldn’t be a new year without an obligatory post about detoxing, right? Well don’t worry, we aren’t about to lecture you on detoxing your liver or starting a cleanse, we’re simply going to give you a few tips on detoxing your make-up bag.

 Although cosmetics contain preservatives, over time they can get contaminated with microorganisms and dirt. These germs can then cause irritation to our skin and eyes, allergic reactions, and breakouts – no, thanks. Giving our make up bag the Marie Kondo treatment really isn’t difficult, as we follow five simple steps to keep it in order. Here’s our guide to following suit, to make sure your own skincare and make-up game is strong, organised and germ free this new year. 


  1. Check the expiry date. First of all, go through both your make up bag and your skincare products, and one-by-one, check whether each one has expired. Simply check your product’s packaging for the picture of the round tub: the number it contains tells you how long you have until the ingredients expire. Simples. 
  2.  If there is no expiry date to use as your guide – which, bear in mind, kicks in when you open your product, but can also be affected by how and where you store it - use this as a guideline to the shelf-life of your favourite products: 

  • Micellar water: Keep for no longer than 6 months after opening. With water being a main ingredient this key part of your cleansing regime can actually be a breeding ground for bacteria once opened. 

  • Cleansers and toners – keep for 6 months to a year, max. Look for discolouration, lumpy textures and gone-off packaging. 

  • Moisturisers – again, chuck after a year. You’ll probably need to use them up sooner if they’re all natural - 'preservative-free' products aren’t protected from bacterial contamination as well as synthetic alternatives. 

  • Concealer - if your concealer dries out, changes texture, becomes cakey or starts to smell different – throw it out, immediately. Ironically, it'll only make those breakouts you're concealing even worse. 

  • Foundation - do you use liquid, cream or powder? This will drastically change its shelf-life. As a general rule of thumb liquids and creams last between six and 12 months, as they contain more water, oils and hydrating agents which shortens their shelf-life. Powders can last up to two years as the dry texture doesn't allow bacteria to grow as easily. 

  • Brow pencils, lip liners and pencil eyeliners – sharpen these regularly to keep bacteria off them. Remember to regularly wash your pencil sharpeners along with your brushes and sponges. 

  • Mascara – throw away immediately if you’ve used it during an eye infection. Otherwise you can throw away mascara once it dries out, changes texture, colour or scent. Avoid pumping – this draws air into it, which will dry it out quicker. Oh, and, don't ever share your mascara,

3) Do the sniff test. If your product doesn’t include an expiry date and you’re not sure how long your product has left, then give it a sniff. Primers, foundations, moisturisers, lip glosses, lipsticks and all cream products such as blush and highlighter will usually take on a slightly strange odour as they start to deteriorate. If it already smells, then throw it away. The same also applies to anything that has separated (foundations are notorious for this) changed colour (fake tan turned green) or changed in texture. 


4) Get organized. Divide your make up items between 1) your daily necessities 2) your special occasion/night out make-up and 3) the feel-good/lust-have/cult products that you’re holding off to try, have been saving for a special occasion, or can only use monthly (such as skincare treatments) Everything else, chuck in the bin, give friends, re-gift or, if it’s still in its packaging, see if a local charity will take it.


5) Finally, clean your brushes, sponges, sharpeners and blenders. Warm water and a touch of gentle shampoo (baby shampoo is ideal) does the trick, or invest in some brush cleaner, if you wear a lot of make-up, rely on your brushes a lot, or use a foundation sponge daily. Make a note in your diary to do this again in a month’s time. 



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