How to clean makeup brushes and keep cosmetics organized

How to clean makeup brushes and keep cosmetics organized

Author: Canadian Living


How to clean makeup brushes and keep cosmetics organized

There are certain things you know you have to clean on a regular basis. Daily and weekly chores involve doing the dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, even cleaning out the fridge from time to time to get rid of things that may have passed their best-by date. But food isn't the only thing that comes with a limited lifespan.

Many of your cosmetics have an expiry date and you need to care for them properly so they'll remain clean and useable. So how do you make sure your makeup isn't becoming a breeding ground for bacteria?

Sephora Pro Artist Sara Biria explains how to keep makeup and makeup brushes clean, how to properly store makeup and when to toss it.

Clean makeup and clean makeup brushes
According to Biria, it's important to clean your makeup brushes at least every two weeks, using regular shampoo or a brush cleanser. "Make sure to cleanse and squeeze out all the water and lay the brush flat to dry," she advises. "If you keep your brushes standing up while drying, you can damage the handle and make the bristles of the brush fall out."

Makeup, even if you're the only one to use it, can have bacteria build-up on it. "With lipsticks or any cream products, take a tissue and either spray some alcohol on it or just use it bar and wipe off what we at Sephora call the 'layer of uncertainty'" says Biria. "This will remove any bacteria. Lip-glosses and mascara are a bit harder to sanitize but the ring around the applicator tends to get a lot of build-up, so it's best to take a tissue and clean that off."

Powder cosmetics are more resistant to bacteria so you don't have to worry about cleaning them.

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-- Does makeup really expire? Find out on page 2.
Makeup expiry dates
"Mascara should definitely be changed out about two, maybe three months," she says. "A key to recognizing when it's time for a new mascara, is taking notice of when the formula becomes dry. Most make-up products have a shelf life of 12 to 24 months."

When you start to notice oil in your makeup products or when they develop a strange smell, it's time to toss them. "Most powder products stay good for a long time unless they do not have a cover," says Biria. "If this is the case, they tend to get a bit dry, but if covered, they are good for as long as you have them."

Makeup organizers
"Get a few good-sized cosmetics bags and store your makeup in there," Biria suggests. "Even Ziploc bags are great, durable, hold tons of products and are easy to clean if you have a make-up spill."

She also recommends plastic shelf organizers because they are easy to clean and provide lots of space to store your makeup products.

Sorting your makeup
Consider makeup organizers that enable you to sort products by category. "I suggest having a bag or drawer for all your eye makeup products (shadows, mascara, eyeliners)." Biria says. "Then you have one for your complexion (concealers, foundation, powder)."

You might prefer to categorize your makeup by season, putting all bright colors and bold blush colors in a spring and summer compartment, with another bag for deep tones and neutrals for fall and winter.

Avoid makeup mistakes
Makeup can be pricey, so it's worthwhile to protect your products. "If you just throw everything together, you are most likely going to break your blush or your powder," Biria warns.

And no matter which makeup organizers you choose, remember to seal all your makeup products when not in use. "Always make sure to close your mascara, lip gloss and foundation all they way. Even a little crack can dry out the texture of the product." Plus, cleaning up a liquid foundation spill is no fun.

Natalie Bahadur is the senior editor of and a contributor to

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How to clean makeup brushes and keep cosmetics organized