Feb 23, 2012

Spring beauty: Spring clean your makeup bag

By: Emily Gravelle Jackson

Beatriz Juarez Author: Elle Canada Credits: Beatriz Juarez

Feb 23, 2012

Spring beauty: Spring clean your makeup bag

By: Emily Gravelle Jackson
There’s plenty of fresh-faced makeup looks for spring – consider the retro rouge lip from Dior, the modern, playful cat eye from Dolce & Gabbana, or the sun-splashed, sporty cheeks seen at Michael Kors. But no matter what spring beauty trend you take on, it’s essential to have the right tools and makeup to get the look right. We asked the makeup pros for their best tips on creating the perfect spring makeup bag (hint, you'll need to declutter, clean and invest in some essentials).

The way you care for your makeup, tools and brushes will determine their longevity and performance, says Melissa Nicholl, Artistry Expert with Make Up For Ever. Below, Nicholl offers advice on spring-cleaning your makeup bag.

Brush and tool cleaning 101
A makeup professional like Nicholl will disinfect her brushes before and after every client, but for the rest of us should wash them at minimum once a month, ideally once per week. “Use a gentle shampoo to wash natural-hair and synthetic brushes,” she says. “This will keep bristles soft and in good shape.” Run the bristles under a tap; don’t submerge them or you’ll risk water logging the handles. Be sure to use lukewarm water and lay the brushes on their side to dry. “Never stand them upright while bristles are wet, or you risk water running into the centre and damaging the brush,” says Nicholl. In-between washes, Nicholl suggests using alcohol wipes as a disinfectant. “You can use them to wipe away foundation or colour powder deposits,” she says. For sponges and puffs, wash them with antibacterial dish soap (its grease-fighting ingredients will remove oil-based foundations) and then ring excess water out with a paper towel.

Nicholl says every woman should invest in a few essential brushes:

Kabuki brush. It can be used for multiple purposes like foundation, blush and powder.

Foundation brush. “I like to use a medium-sized brush so that I can also use it to apply cream blush and concealer around the eyes, in addition to foundation,” says Nicholl.

Eye shadow brushes. A flat shadow brush, an angled liner brush and a domed crease brush are the top three tools for applying variety of eye shadow looks from smoky to soft and diffused.

Check out our spring beauty trend roundup for this season's must-have looks.

More tips for keeping your makeup bag tidy on the next page ...

Spring-beauty-Spring-clean-your-.jpgDon’t skimp on makeup hygiene
Like brushes, you want to keep the outside of your makeup containers clean and germ-free. Nicholl likes to use antibacterial wipes to disinfect makeup jars and cases, as well as clean off any bacteria or residue. “For loose powder products, I generally keep them separated in a plastic, zip-top bag. If they leak, I know they won’t spill on to any of my other makeup products,” she says. Be sure to store your cosmetics in a cool, dry place. While it’s tempting to keep makeup in the bathroom, the heat and humidity can change the consistency of the product.” Nicholl suggests putting a small piece of tape on the bottom of your cosmetic containers with the date you started using the product as a reminder for when it’s time to throw them away. Here are her pointers on knowing what makeup you should keep and what has expired:

Foundations and creams
You can keep liquid cosmetics for up to two years depending on the ingredients. “Many products no longer contain parabens, which is great. However, parabens are used to preserve the product, so you will have to keep an eye on whether the texture or smell has changes,” says Nicholl.

Powder makeup
Eye shadows, powder blushes and face powders have the most longevity and can be kept for up to four years. “Eye shadow does have a tendency to harden over time which is something to watch out for,” says Nicholl.

Lipstick and gloss
You can keep your lip products for a minimum of one year, according to Nicholl, but a good way to tell whether or not they have expired is based on the way they smell. “If the smell of the lipstick changes from when you first bought it, throw it away,” she says.

As the product that has the shortest longevity, Nicholl recommends keeping mascara for only three months. “If you are using the mascara every day, throw it away after three months. Keeping mascara for longer than this sets you at risk for eye infections,” she says.

Read more:
Get runway inspired hair styles at home
The best celebrity hair styles
Celebrity beauty: Straight hair

How to get celebrity-worthy hair

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Spring beauty: Spring clean your makeup bag