Spring clean your make-bag

Monday, 11 September 2017

When last have you cleaned out your make-up bag? We know how hard it is to part with all your pretty and often pricey goodies, but it’s time to assess your trusted stash and see what can stay, and what has to go (like two months ago!). After all, make-up can expire just like milk, and if you have too many products lying around most of which you don’t use, you could be missing an opportunity to try something new.

The purge before the splurge

When you go through all the bottles, tubs and lotions, keep an eye on the expiry dates. They might not last as long as you think. A giveaway would be their odour, a colour change, or a different texture.

Repeated dipping into open make-up containers may cause an unseen build-up of bacteria, and no woman wants to battle an unexpected rash when the warm weather sets in.

Don’t forget to keep your brushes clean as well as tossing any make-up past its best. Replace your make-up sponges at least once a fortnight and sharpen lip and eyeliner pencils after each use to remove any moisture left behind from facial contact.

To give your make-up a makeover, first ruthlessly get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year. Yes, those eyeliners that just lie in the bottom of the bag or a particular eyeshadow colour that looks great in the pan, but you just never reach for.

Guidelines for cleaning out your make-up bag:

Eyeliner: Liquid eyeliners generally have an expiry date of 3 to 4 months. Always make sure you’re very diligent when replacing these products to prevent any unwanted infections or contaminations.
Eye shadow: Your eyeshadow is reliable and powder products will last up to 3 years. Cream eyeshadow will last between 12 and 18 months. Powder eyeshadow will last a long time, but this does not mean you can use it without caution – always make sure that containers are properly sealed.
Blush: This is one of the more popular make-up products you’ll find in every make-up bag. Powder blushes generally expire after 2 years, while crème blushes will expire more quickly, in about six months to one year.
Bronzer: Your bronzer should last for about one year. Since it’s a powder-based product, bacteria can easily set in so be careful and use this while it’s still fresh and new.
Foundation: Oil-free foundation will last you about 1 year, while moisturising, cream or compact foundation will last for a longer period of about 18 months to 2 years. Oil-free products tend to dry out quicker, which is why they last less than a year.
Lipstick: Lipstick has a shelf life of 2 years. This is largely due to the way the pigments are bonded together. If you see any bubbles on the surface don’t be put off, these are just moisture drops and can be wiped off.
Lip gloss: Your lip gloss should last you between 18 months and 2 years. It’s formulated in a different way than lipstick, so it won’t last as long. Always remember to wash the lip brush at least once a week and wash your hands if you are using your fingers to apply.
Mascara: You should use your mascara fairly quickly after opening it, as it has a shelf life of roughly 3 to 6 months. You can use one mascara product at a time, to avoid having to throw away more than one product and wasting your money in the process.

Top tips

Always make sure you close your make-up when you’re done and keep it out of direct sunlight. Both air and UV rays can degrade your products’ ingredients and destroy their preservatives, causing them to lose their efficacy and expire even faster.

If you have an eye infection or cold sore, don’t use any eye make-up on the affected area. If, however, you really can’t face heading to the office without a slick of mascara or a bit of lippie, make sure you get rid of it the moment you start to heal.

Now that you’ve got a bit more space in your beauty stash, consider trying new exciting beauty products and formulas that you haven’t experimented with yet. For example, if you’ve always used matte foundation, consider trying something with a glossy finish – or try a matte finish lippie. You never know, you might just find something you didn’t know you adored, so go wild and have fun!



Written by

Tatum is an all-round digital being with a penchant for lipstick and a slight shopping addiction. After completing her Honours in Communications and Media she was thrust into the world of publishing and has since worked for some of the biggest magazines in South Africa. As a writer, editor and social media consultant, she’s all about spreading body positivity and a revised attitude towards beauty.

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  1. Tanya

    So sad to get rid of old make up but something I must do

    1 year ago •


    I’m guilty of having way too much junk in my bag and keeping products for too long. Need to go clean my bag asap.

    2 years ago •

  1. Lee Rachstein

    I do this every few months. I love being able to buy new products

    2 years ago •

  1. manjorama@gmail.com

    I did this a few months ago and it really hurt to have to throw so many expired products in the bin. Since then everything has been organised and clutter free. It’s nice to have a lot of goodies, but let’s face it – we only reach for those faithful few regularly.

    2 years ago •

  1. Rachna Misra

    I have to clean my bag and stop hoarding my make up! what is not used needs to go. I keep holding on for a maybe period… maybe I will need it and then what…

    2 years ago •

  1. Fana_kw Karani-wookey

    Guilty… I really have to clean out my makeup bag.

    2 years ago •

  1. KhanyiN Ngcobo

    I’m guilty of makeup hoarding… makeup bag spring cleaning is dreadfull but necessary

    2 years ago •

  1. Belinda Van Tura

    Think we all needed this wake up call to clean out, holding onto make up is easy especially considering how much money we spend on it. Definitely going to give my make-up bag a review. Thanks for the reminder 

    2 years ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    These makeup products are a must in a womens bag .

    2 years ago •

  1. Estelle Klein

    out with the old as I tend to keep makeup to long lol thanks

    2 years ago •

  1. Danielle Cateley

    I really need to be more careful with replacing my items, I just get so sad parting with them lol, thanks for the info! :)

    2 years ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Very informative. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to make up – I personally find that if I really like something whether its great red lipstick or lip liner I will use it to the very end. So now its out with the old and in with the new. Thanks – Great Article.

    2 years ago •

  1. Daphne Gengayan

    I was told I should only keep Mascara and liquid eyeliner for 3 months. Its really hard parting with products before you finish it but I didn’t want to get an infection. Its good to see that I have at least one more month before its lifespan is up.

    I once had a lipgloss go bad after about 6 months, it actually numbed my lip and the consistency was thinner so it melted into my mouth making my tongue go numb as well. I had used the lipgloss a few times when I bought it and it was fine. But the last time felt like an allergic reaction. I have played it safe when it comes to make up ever since.

    2 years ago •

  1. Monique Classen

    I love this article. I learned a lot. Thank you

    2 years ago •

    1. BeautySouthAfrica

      Awesome! Thanks for the positive feedback, Monique :) Time for that make-up makeover!

      2 years ago •

  1. Humaira Motala

    Some really valueble information here . Thank you so much for the informative article ❤

    2 years ago •

    1. BeautySouthAfrica

      Thanks for all the love, Humaira <3 You rock!

      2 years ago •

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