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How to clean, organize your makeup bag while self-isolating

TODAY contributor Jill Martin shares her best tips for cleaning out and organizing your makeup collection.
/ Source: TODAY

Feeling stir crazy? TODAY lifestyle contributor Jill Martin is here to offer her top tips for productive projects (like cleaning out your closet or organizing your jewelry) while social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

My heart and gratitude go out to our heroes: the doctors, nurses and health care workers who are on the front lines every day. Thank you for everything you are doing to help beat this.

For most of us, the best thing we can do is self-isolate at home. And while you're stuck at home, why not take on those always-mean-to-do-but-never-have-the-time projects. I've asked for the kind of projects you'd like help with and many of you had questions about cleaning out your makeup bag.

My best friend Dana Ravich and I wrote a book about organizing ("The Weekend Makeover") and actually dedicated a whole chapter to makeup since so many people tend to hoard products, especially when it comes to free samples from the store.

So, let's get to it: Grab your makeup bag, take out a garbage bag and let’s do our organization for the day!

How to clean your makeup bag:

  • Is it time to toss your makeup bag?

Let's start with the actual makeup bag: Is it a mess? If it's covered in makeup, marked by stray lipstick and covered in loose eye shadow, it's time to replace it. Now look around your closet. Do you have a nice makeup bag or pouch you haven’t used in awhile that could help you start fresh?

If not, for now, take out a zip-top plastic bag. (In fact, that's what Hoda Kotb uses and it works just fine!) You just want it to feel clean and fresh.

  • What should you definitely toss?

While makeup is packaged and stored in plastic and looks like it lasts forever, here’s the reality: Makeup has an expiration date. This is especially true for liquids, like mascara and lip gloss, which are susceptible to bacteria growth. We know it’s hard to toss out a perfectly pretty gloss, but it’s not worth risking infection. And the great thing about makeup is that it’s not as expensive as a new dress: For less than $10, you can get something new.

Take stock of all the different colors of eye shadows, lipsticks, eyeliners, etc., that you have. Do you really wear that coral lipstick or turquoise eye shadow at the bottom of the bag? Or did it just look pretty on a swimsuit model in a magazine last summer? Sometimes the idea of something is better than the reality. If you bought it but never use it, toss it.

As a general rule: If it's liquid and uses an applicator that has touched your lips or eyes, it has a shorter lifespan. If it's a pencil or a powder, just be honest: When was the last time you used it? If you don’t remember, toss it.

Mascara: 3 to 6 months

Mascara has the shortest life span of all makeup because there's a high risk of transferring bacteria from your eye to the mascara tube. You should discard it after 3-6 months. Or if you see it start to clump or get dry, it goes.

Foundation or concealer: 6 months to one year

This also depends if it comes in a pot or a pump. If it something you use your finger to apply, I would err on the 6 month side as bacteria can build up. Also, if you notice it separating it is time to toss.

Eyeliner or eye pencils: 1 to 2 years

make sure to constantly sharpen - to refresh

Liquid or gel eye liner: 3 to 6 months

Powder (like, bronzer, blush or eye shadows): 2 years

Lip gloss: 3 to 6 months

Lipstick: 1 year

Eye or lip pencil sharpener: This tool can last awhile, just make sure to always clean it and get rid of shreds.

Brushes: They should be washed every 7-10 days

You can buy a makeup brush cleanser and follow the instructions. Personally, I just use soap or a gentle cleanser, like Cetaphil. Simply wet the brushes with warm water, pour a little of the soap on the brush and rinse or clean through with your fingers. Squeeze the excess water out and allow the brush to air-dry on a towel.

I hope this helps you feel productive and find a way to release some stress. If you try out these tips, send us pictures of your makeup bag before and after the makeover using #WithYouToday.

Sending love,

XO Jill