Spring Clean Your Make-up Bag

Be honest, when was the last time you had a good clean out of your make-up bag? Let alone washed your brushes and finally chucked out that lip-gloss and random cotton buds that have been hidden at the bottom of your bag for the last two years?

In a perfect world we’d wash our hands before dipping into that cream blush and our lip brush after every application, but when it comes to our favourite beauty products we just never do; Editorial Director, Newby Hands admits to having a blusher brush for four years without washing it… Keeping a favourite lipstick for too long will, of course, hardly be life threating but we should still be aware of how old a product is and exactly how long we have been using it, especially when it comes to water-based products (foundations, creams, mascaras and even cream blushers – basically anything that isn’t a powder or a waxy lipstick).

Lip Products:

Lipsticks are more waxy than ‘watery’ so it’s not likely that your lippy will pose a threat, but if you use a lip brush try and wash it (at least) once a month. Treat lip glosses the same as mascara and again, do not share. Lip pencils are the same as eye liners, and sharpening them before use will ensure they are kept fresh.


If the label’s worn off, it’s a telltale sign that it’s well loved, old and needs to be replaced.

Lipstick Life Span after opening: Two years

As Eleanor O’Connor, of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, explains…

Cosmetics can cope with everyday use but they aren’t sterile, some products can become contaminated through dipping your hands in, and sharing products.

SKIN Products:

Foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturisers which are oil-free won’t last as long as those that are not. Any smell or separation is a sure sign that it’s time to re-stock. And if you use your fingers for your cream blush, do wash them (using a brush actually gives a better, more blended finish). Dirty hands, dirty product.

Foundation Life Span after opening: 12 months

Eye Products:

The key area to pay attention to, so to avoid any unnecessary eye dramas mascaras shouldn’t be kept longer than two months because of where and how they’re used (the wand being dipped in and out causes bacteria to build quickly). Power-based eye shadows are the safest (no water content) but be wary of cream shadows, these do have a ‘use by date’. To be on the safe side, sharpen pencils every time before using them so you’re starting a new bit of colour each time.

Mascara Life Span after opening: Three months

Eye Pencil Life Span after opening: Two years

Powder Life Span after opening: Two years (blusher, face powder, eye shadow)


If you develop an eye infection, chuck out the products you’ve used. And don’t share eye products. Ever.

Makeup Bag & BRUSHES:

Use common sense; anything used regularly on your face should be cleaned regularly as unlike the product itself, brushes don’t contain the preservatives products do. And don’t share brushes (would you share your tooth brush?). Do be careful of the sponge applicators that come with your product – we can keep them for years without cleaning them, chuck them if necessary. Do clean your makeup bag out as often as you clean your brushes. Remember, bacteria thrive in warm conditions, and this is a perfect hideaway – some can be chucked in the washing machine, others can be wiped out carefully with an antibacterial wipe.

Tip: Wash your makeup brushes with a mild or baby shampoo.

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