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Lazy girl’s guide to cleaning her makeup case

Spring has sprung (I know this not based on the weather but on the fact that I’m being assaulted with “SHAPE UP FOR SUMMER” and “GET BIKINI READY” headlines everywhere I go) and that means it’s time for spring cleaning! If, like me, you’re lazy when it comes to keeping your makeup bag tidy and organized, then you can do like I do, and get really motivated to deal with it once or twice a year.

Here is your guide to cleaning it up.

Step 1. Fix or toss broken products. WHY, beautiful eyeshadow, WHY MUST YOU BREAK ON ME? It makes me so sad when I drop a compact or an eyeshadow and it splits into a million pieces. A great way to save broken products (along with melted lipstick and products whose lids got lost in the mysterious bathroom abyss) is to collect a few of the biggest chunks and pack them tightly into a clean contact lens case. If you can’t save it, you need to toss it. I’m sorry that your brand-new $30 brush broke when you dropped it, but perhaps this is a good lesson in not doing your makeup while pregaming. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Step 2. Deal with grody products. You know what I mean — the ones that are scummy due to the aforementioned broken/spilled products. I have at least one epic makeup bag leak a year — typically it’s nail polish, but it’s been foundation a few times — and after several months of just accepting that all the packages are covered in gross goop, I’ve realized that I just need to wipe them down or perhaps swipe some nail polish remover over them. There’s just no reason to let that goopy, smudged coating of Essie’s “Fiji” cover the products I use every day.

Step 3. Trash the products that are past their prime. That means mascara that is more than three months old (not sure when that is? start writing the date on new tubes with a Sharpie), foundation that separates (either in the bottle or on your face), and nail polish that is thick and hard to spread (or nail polish that has glued itself shut).

Step 4. Organize your free samples and special occasion products. You can go to the Container Store or simply use what you have (plastic zip-top bags, empty shoe boxes, etc.); you just need a bunch of containers in which to separate your makeup. I have them organized by body part: face, eyes, hair, fragrance, skincare. Then I toss free samples in as I get them. When I need something special, I can just check the containers and get delighted by all the great stuff I had forgotten about.

Step 5. Clean the brushes. One simple cleaning solution: 1 cup warm water + ½ tsp tea tree oil + a dollop of baby shampoo. Swirl the brushes around, rinse them, and let them air-dry.

Step 6. Clean the bag itself. Windex, dish soap, it doesn’t really matter what you use — nearly anything will cut through the layer of shimmery taupe grime that has formed on the bottom of the bag.

Step 7. Tell yourself you’re totally going to start doing this once a month. Yeah…good luck with that.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing