Friday 23 March 2018

Ruth Griffin: Deep cleanse you make-up bag products for spring

Time to declutter your beauty stockpile and keep nasty bugs at bay

Photo: Clarins Campaign image
Photo: Clarins Campaign image
Express Brush Cleaning Mat
StylePro Brush Cleaner and Drier
Blank Canvas Brush Set
MAC Brush Cleanser
Johnson's Baby Shampoo
Cliniques BIY

Have you ever found yourself rooting through your mascara-smudged make-up bag, jam-packed with products you never use, in a time-wasting search for the few items that you do - only to emerge empty-handed? If so, it's time for a major beauty clean-up. We're used to the idea of decluttering our homes, so why do we not streamline our make-up bags?

I'll admit I have been that make-up hoarder - and it seems I'm not alone. According to a recent study, 89pc of us are hoarding old make-up, and incurring some health risks as a result.

Research by the London Metropolitan University on make-up items past their expiry date found them to include some potentially life-threatening bacteria. Items under the microscope were lip glosses, powder blushes and foundations. Below, I've listed guidelines on longevity on different types of make-up, and tips on washing your brushes.

6 of the best products for spring

● Washing Machine For Your Brushes

StylePro Brush Cleaner and Drier

For the beauty buff who takes her brush hygiene seriously, check out this handy little gadget that acts as a washing machine and drier for your brushes. People are raving about this beauty helper. It takes half a minute to clean, spin and dry them. StylePro Brush Cleaner and Drier, ¤65, from Meaghers Pharmacy.

● Spring Fresh Foundation - Clinique BIY

Cliniques BIY

This spring if you're looking for a lighter foundation option, check out the new pigment drops from Clinique. Simply mix a few drops with your own moisturiser to make a bespoke foundation. Clinique's BIY, ¤34, from department stores nationwide.

● Silicone Brush Cleansing Pads/Mats

Express Brush Cleaning Mat

These are silicone pads or mats with textured edges to help you dislodge old make-up and grime from your brushes during a deep water clean. They are actually very handy and help speed up the whole cleaning process - especially if it's been a while since you last cleaned your brush kit! Express Brush Cleaning Mat, €5, from eBay.

● Brush Up - Blank Canvas Brush Set

Blank Canvas Brush Set

If you feel that your make-up brushes have seen their best days, or they are "flattened" permanently or worst of all they smell, just dump them. A really well priced, professional option is Blank Canvas. Its new travel set at €49.99 will see you sorted for every make-up need and they fit neatly into a bag. From pharmacies nationwide and

● Tissue Brush Cleanser

MAC Brush Cleanser

A different brush-cleaning technique is to "tissue off" product. Ideally, this should be done every time you use them. Apply the cleanser onto tissue and quickly swipe your brush heads over it until clean. MAC Brush Cleanser, €15, from MAC stores nationwide, BT2, Brown Thomas, Arnotts and The Loop.

● Baby Soft Bristles - Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Johnson's Baby Shampoo

This is my go-to cleaning product for my brushes. Use very warm water mixed with a small amount of shampoo in a bowl. Soak your brushes then rub the brush heads gently until the water comes out clean. Rinse and reshape. Shampoo from €2.50 at outlets nationwide.

Spring cleaning to-dos

● Check all production and expiry dates on make-up (found on make-up products or packaging)

● See sell-by dates for make-up, below, and figure out how old your make-up is

● Throw out all make-up that is out of date

● Throw out all make-up that has broken packaging or lids missing (prime culprit for bacteria growth)

● Throw out anything that smells "off" including brushes/sponges

● Throw out any make-up that has discolouration (apart from caked over products - see tip, below)

● Wash all brushes

● Wash make-up bag

● Make a list of what make-up needs replacing

Top tips


Don't forget to wash your make-up bag itself a few times a year. I just throw mine in a cool cycle in the washing machine, reshape while it's damp and leave to dry naturally. This is more important than you think in preventing bacteria build-up and the oh-so-annoying make-up smears from brushes. If you can't put it in the machine, use a hot soapy cloth to scrub the inside of your bag and leave to dry naturally.


Sometimes our powder make-up products (ie, eye-shadows, bronzers, blushes etc) can "cake over" (this is when the powder has been dampened, then has dried over, compacting the powder into an unusable bumpy, uneven texture. Don't throw them away - to reactivate the powder, just take a small blade or even a firm eyebrow brush and scrape away at the areas that have dried over until the powder is back to an even colour and texture.


To avoid premature wear and tear of your brushes, make sure to maintain them. If you see product building up further than halfway down the brush head, it means you're using your brush incorrectly. If your brush is saturated in product it will not last.

How to clean: Use a daily brush spray to wipe off excess product building up on your brush. Deep clean when very dirty using a gentle brush soap or shampoo. Use only very small amounts (pea-sized) of product to wash your brush and rinse thoroughly. Avoid allowing water to run into the metal part. Leave to dry naturally, re-shaping the hairs while damp if necessary.

Guide to washing your brushes:

● Should be done every month.

● Two main techniques to clean brushes - washing with water (deep clean) and the tissue-off method (in between water washes).

● If you use a liquid foundation brush, sponge or Beauty Blender, you should cleanse them after each use, as these are used most often with wet formulas and are a prime cause of bacteria build-up.

● See our top 6 spring clean beauty helpers (above).

Irish Independent

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