Fresh Start: De-clutter Your Makeup Drawer

We don’t have time to colorcode our lipgloss collection, and we certainly don’t expect you to. But everyone’s makeup drawer can use a periodic overhaul, and there’s no better time than now. Clear out the old, ugly, and unflattering to make room for new products.

Sort

Dump everything onto an empty countertop. (This can be a fun trip down memory lane – what were you thinking with that orange glitter?) Check expiration dates and be ruthless: toss powders that are over two years old; foundations over a year old; and mascaras over three months old. If you can’t find an expiration date, use your judgment – dump anything with a funny smell or texture.

Clean

Ideally, you should clean brushes every two weeks, and at least once a month. Being diligent has double benefits: fewer breakouts and longer lasting brushes. Using a gentle foaming face wash or baby shampoo, run brushes under cold water, carefully lather the bristles, and rinse until the water runs clear. Lay them on a clean towel to dry. You’re not done yet: scrape off the grimy top layer of eyeshadows; sharpen eye and lip pencils; wipe lipsticks with a bit of rubbing alcohol; and spritz-clean compact mirrors. Resurrect broken shadows and blushes by transferring them to empty cartridges.

Replace

Now comes the fun part: filling in the blanks of your arsenal. Make sure you have all the basics, including a great moisturizer, perfect foundation, and everyday blush. For our foundation picks, see Faking Perfect Skin, and for brush basics, see Four Essential Brushes.

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