New Year: Clean out your makeup bag

With all the holiday parties and other events behind us, we can now take on 2012. Even if you didn’t make any beauty resolutions this year, there are plenty of things you can do to start 2012 off on the right foot. Let’s begin with your makeup bag.

How to clean out your makeup bag

Keep or toss

It’s time to go through your makeup stash and figure out what to keep and what to toss. Start with your makeup bag and move on to your cosmetic drawer or wherever else you keep your makeup. Old makeup can harbor dirt and bacteria — things you don’t want on your face.

Shelf life

Though your makeup probably isn’t stamped with an expiration date, there is a limit to its shelf life. Generally, powder (blush, eyeshadow, bronzer, compact and loose) can last two years. Fresh powder should be silky — almost creamy — not gritty at all. Pencils can last even longer if you sharpen them before each use. Lipstick, liquid foundation and moisturizer usually last at least a year. Eye cream and liquid eyeliner shouldn’t be used longer than six months, and mascara can expire in as little as three months. If any product doesn’t look, feel or smell normal, get rid of it. Better safe than sorry.

Sort it out

Once you have gotten rid of everything that’s expired, spread out all your makeup and beauty products on the table. Sort through them and set aside any colors you hate or products you haven’t used in the last three months. If you haven’t worn it in that long, chances are you never will. If it’s unopened or unused, pass it on to your BFF or sister. If it’s been used, throw it away.

Clean up

Make it a habit to start cleaning your makeup brushes regularly. You should clean your brushes every week if you use them for powder and every day if they are used for liquid application. Don’t waste your money on expensive soaps or cleansers — baby shampoo will do. Check out this video for tips on how to clean your makeup brushes. Also be sure to wash (or replace) your makeup bag itself periodically.

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