Quiz: Is Your Makeup Bag a Mess?
It may be time to give your product stash the makeover it needs
Is your cosmetics bag overflowing with dried-out mascaras, cracked eye shadows and a tube of lipstick from 2002? If so, it may be in need of an overhaul. Take this quiz to find out how much TLC it needs, then learn how to keep your makeup bag organized and up-to-date.
With a little TLC, you'll be in makeup bag heaven
Step 1: Toss out the old
It might seem that the favorite 6-year-old red lipstick you save for special occasions is still good, but it's not (sorry!). Spend the money to invest in a new one; you won't regret it. Lipsticks and products that don't contain water (like powder, eye shadow, concealer and pencils that can be sharpened) can last up to two years. but definitely monitor them closely and throw them out if something funky is up. (Product separation, sour odor or a change in texture -- uncommonly thick, grainy or watery -- can all be indicators of a product gone bad.) Of all products, mascara has the shortest shelf life. Never keep one longer than four months, and toss it immediately if it develops a weird smell or color. To keep mascara from drying out before its time, swirl -- don't pump -- the wand in the tube, and close the lid tightly after each use.
Step 2: Change up your look
Your everyday makeup look may need updating (or a least an upgrade for a night out). You don't need to do anything too drastic to spice up a basic face -- adding liquid eye liner, for example, is an easy way to add glamour without changing everything. "Some people are afraid of liquid eye liner, " says celebrity makeup artist Jillian Veran, "but it adds instant drama." A great liner to try: Physician's Formula Eye Definer Felt-Tip Eye Marker, $6.99. For a crash course on perfect liquid liner application, check out our Basics: How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner video.
Step 3: Keep it clean
Make getting ready so much easier by keeping your bag clean and organized. Wipe out your bag weekly with a washcloth to remove spills and powder dust. Keep like products together (plastic Ziploc bags are great for this) to stay organized. A makeup bag in a fun print (like Stephanie Johnson Darlene Deluxe Brush Case, $59) will keep makeup organized and clean with its special pockets for brushes. And about those brushes, keep them clean and bacteria-free by swirling them in warm, soapy water weekly (a gentle shampoo or hand soap works). Rinse and let them fully air-dry before the next use.