How to: Sanitise and sort your makeup

75D1D08B-EC15-4A72-AD41-52DEB1E8A789Normally, writing about cleaning out your makeup bag is about as interesting as a misguided attempt at instagram live during lockdown, but in the current climate we all suddenly got REALLY interested in keeping things clean sooooooo…….

I want you to start by getting ALL of your makeup and ALL of your skincare and ALL your makeup brushes and sponges.  Rescue all the bits of makeup from your handbag/glove box/ bathroom drawer – ALL of it. Put it on a clean towel on a flat surface so you can see whatcha got. Take a moment to reflect on the ten year old lip smackers that really shouldn’t be there.

You will likely immediately realise that you have a BUNCH of stuff you never use. Before you start making resolutions to use up that old chemist bronzer you used one time- STOP.



The first thing we need to do is work out what’s gone off. Most makeup has a little picture of a jar on the bottom with an open lid and the markings ‘12M’ or ‘24M’ – that means, use 12 months from opening or 24 months from opening. I’m willing to bet that it’s rubbed off, and anyway, who knows when you bought it? March was about 3 years long so at this point time is an imaginary concept. 

This means, it’s gone off when:

  • lipsticks. Smelling weird, funny little white dots, odd grainy texture.
  • pressed powders ( including eyeshadows). Funny film of gunk on the top, odd grainy texture, discolouration. fun fact: THIS IS MOULD AND BUILT UP OIL AND DEAD SKIN. I advise against putting makeup oil dead skin mould on your face.
  • mascara. These have the WORST use by dates once open. Basically if you opened this before you heard of coronavirus, it’s time to bin it. Other tell tale signs include funky smell, flaky texture or making your eyes itchy. 
  • foundation. Anything in a pump or tube will last better ( because you don’t stick your fingers in it ) but for creams or sticks you only get about six months. Again, any funny smell or change or colour LET IT GO.
  • Glosses. Same comments as foundation. If you dip a little thing in it, put it on your lips, and dip it in again, keep it approx 3 months. if it’s a squeeze tube or you religiously use a spatula in a tub, about six months is fine. As always, if it smells weird, bin it.
  • Pencils. If the actual lead has shrunk away from the wood/ casing, it’s gone. Sorry. 
  • Skincare. Pumps and tubes, fine as long as they smell normal and are not obviously really old. Sunscreen should be less than six months old. Be ruthless with jars, anything you get reactions to, and anything that is not kept sealed properly. 

Now that we have thrown out half your makeup, it’s TIME TO CLEAN. Don’t pretend you’re not excited – you’ve been stuck in your house for weeks now so this is the most fun you’ve had recently.

  1. Wash all your brushes. A cake of old fashioned laundry soap ( Sard or Sunlight soap) is the best if you can get it- gets all the gunk out and disinfects as well. Don’t bother with baby shampoo or liquid soap- it just doesn’t do the job. Try not to get the handle wet, squeeze out excess water and lie them flat on a clean towel to dry. Sponges can go in the delicates bag in the wash- if they fall apart, they were old and needed to be chucked out anyway. Wash your pencil sharpeners in the cutlery section of your dishwasher. 
  2. Assess your actual makeup bag. There is a good chance it’s old and has a film of gunk on the inside. Unless you can wash it in clean soapy water or spray it with 70% alcohol, consider chucking it out. Fabric ones can also go through the washing machine in a delicates bag. Basically unless it’s in great condition and very clean, chuck it.
  3. Wipe your makeup over with a damp cloth – makeup up a solution with soap and water or a few drops of a disinfecting essential oil. Anti bacterial wipes are also great if you can get them. Wipe the outsides and insides of all compacts ( don’t get powders wet), shave the top layer of your lipsticks, sharpen all your pencils.
  4. Place items you actually love and use regularly back into your makeup bag. If you have items you can’t bring yourself to chuck out that you don’t use a lot, put them into a tray on your dresser to remind you to use them. If they are still sitting there unused in a month or so, let them go. 

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