Random things strewn into an abyss of makeup, skincare, ponytail holders, dental floss, jewelry, deodorant — pretty much anything you need to survive, all nestled right into one drawer. It’s time to conquer the cosmetic clutter, one disorganized drawer at a time.
Here are some tips to get the job done before years go by and that lip gloss you bought on your girl’s trip to Chicago is still sitting unused at the bottom of your bathroom drawer because you can’t find it.
1. Take all of your cosmetics, products and tools and separate them into groups out on the counter to see everything you have. Get rid of anything broken or things you know you won’t use.
2. Go through each group, one product at a time, and discard anything that is past the expiration date. Mascaras or liquid eyeliners need to be discarded after three months — these products have the highest risk of harboring bacteria. Foundation is good up to two years, as is lipstick, lip gloss, creams, skincare and powder products.
3. After you have discarded everything that needs to go, take a makeup remover wipe and clean out all drawers, organizers, tools and the outside of each product to remove any makeup.
4. Next, use paper towels and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the outside packaging of products to sterilize. Spray lipsticks with rubbing alcohol and wipe gently with a paper towel. Be sure to hold the lipstick upside down until dry. Do not to let alcohol settle into the base of the lipstick or it will weaken the product and break. Eyeliners and lip liners can also be cleaned this way. This is especially great to do after you have been sick. Also wipe down tools (eyelash curlers, nail clippers, tweezers) with alcohol.
5. Clean your powder products. Take a tissue and gently rub off the top layer of all eye shadows, pressed powders and blushes.
6. Wash makeup brushes. Use a mild soap or brush cleaner and wash each brush until all makeup residue is gone. Squeeze and reshape brushes and lay them on a clean towel with space between each brush and the head of the brush hanging over the edge of the counter so that air can get all around the brush hairs. Do not dry your brushes vertical or the water will settle into the base of the brush and break down the glue, which shortens the life of your brushes.
7. Organizers work well to reduce clutter. Utensil organizers, office product organizers, stackable shelves or expandable drawer organizers all work great. Put similar items together to make your morning routine quick and easy. Make sure to measure your drawer or cabinet space before purchasing organizers.
8. Don’t forget to go through any products you have in your purse or car. These are typically your most used products and definitely need some organizing and cleaning, too.
9. It is important to keep your products and brushes enclosed in a drawer or cabinet when possible. This keeps everything sanitary and free from dust. Having everything put away also makes it easier to clean your bathroom counter and keep clutter to a minimum.
10. Set an alarm on your phone three months from the day you organize and go through your products. Checking products every three months will keep your cleaning and organizing time down to a minimum.
Leslie Peck is a local makeup artist, aesthetician and lash artist with almost two decades of experience. She has worked 11 seasons of NYC Fashion Week as well as several beauty shoots while living in New York City. Leslie also has experience in TV, film, print and celebrity makeup in Los Angeles. She specializes in bridal makeup, skincare education and was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2007.
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