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Not a year goes by without Beauty Director Donna Francis having a big ol’ product clean up and clear out. Here, she reveals how she’ll be getting her kit in order for 2018
My beauty blitz can’t begin until I’ve cleaned my make-up bag. First, I turn it inside out. Then I use Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes, £2.05/205 points (30-pack), to get into allthe cracks and crevices, where old powder and foundation tend to accumulate.
Hairdryer: to remove the dusty lint that can block the air flow at the back of the dryer and make it run too hot.
Nail polish bottles: to get rid of the sticky gunk that makes them tricky to open. Dip it into some remover first and wipe around the rims. Just like new.
Make-up sharpener: to clear lip- and eye-pencil shavings from the blade without slicing fingers.
Finding the right place to store your products can be the difference between using them and letting them languish. I often forget to use top-up items such as hand cream, lash primer and overnight face masks, simply because they’re not kept with my daily skincare products (which are in the bathroom) or my make-up (in the kitchen – don’t ask!). So I’ll be moving them to my bedside table, by my book – then I’ll remember to use them just before lights out.
Got a hoard of old perfumes? Subject them all to the sniff test: if they smell ‘off’, ditch them. A layer of oil sitting on top of the fragrance is another sign that it’s time to let it go.
Just because they’re broken doesn’t mean they’re no good. Try this pro tip I’ve picked up from photo shoots: mix the crumbles with a smear of Vaseline, £1.65/165 points (50g), on the back of your hand, and apply to lids for a gorgeous eye gloss.
Clean out an old candle holder and use it to store make-up brushes. First, wrap the holder in a tea towel and pop it in the freezer for a few hours. This makes any leftover wax shrink, so that it will come away from the container more easily. Clean off any residue with baby oil, wash with soapy water, and you’re all set.
Had your puff longer than a couple of months? Then get rid of it, as it’s going to be like a school Petri dish. Dirt-prone crevices, plus all that time spent hanging around in a damp shower, create a prime environment in which bacteria can thrive. Machine-wash your puff once a week and replace it every two months. Ecotools Exfoliating Dry Sponge, £3.50/350 points.
All beauty products have different shelf lives and will usually have labels showing how long they’ll stay fresh once they’ve been opened. If you can’t recall when you first used a product, the general rule of thumb is: if it looks dry or congealed, has changed colour or smells funny, it’s time to say adios.
TIP: Label products with your first date of use, so you know when it’s time to part company.
Clear out expired products, then take an honest look at what’s left and ask: have you used it in the past six months? No? Bin it! So long, green eyeshadow.
EXPIRATION DATE CHECKER
Mascara • Face peels and masks • Nail files • Loofah
Liquid eyeliner • Liquid foundation • Concealer • Eye cream • Face wash • Serum
Lip gloss • Cream eyeshadow • Face cream • Sunscreen • Soap bars • Shower gel • Eyebrow gel
Lip and eye pencils • Lipstick • Nail polish • Powder eyeshadow, blush and foundation • Body lotion
The deep cleanse: If you haven’t washed your brushes for a while, they’re likely to be full of gunk and bacteria. So why not try the StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner And Dryer* (see in store or online for details), a new mini washer/dryer for brushes? Pour soap and water into the bowl, dip in the brush head, watch it whizz, and 30 seconds later it will be dirt-free and dry.
The monthly refresh: Pour diluted washing-up liquid into the Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette, £12.99/1,299 points, then rub brushes over the surface to clean away make-up, oil and bacteria build-up.
The weekly spot-check: Spray a paper towel or tissue with No7 Make Up Brush Cleanser* Boots Exclusive £8/800 points (200ml). Sweep the brush bristles across the damp area, then leave to dry on a flat surface.
Forget cramming stuff into drawers and cabinets. Instead, organise make-up and nail polishes in clear make-up bags. That way, you can quickly scan them to find what you need, rather than digging through 20 lip glosses that are all the wrong shade. Boots Travel Set, £5.10/510 points.
3 THINGS I'LL BE DOING EVERY MONTH… STARTING NOW
Take products out of direct sunlight (it makes them go off quicker) – mine tend to collect on the bathroom windowsill.
Clean tweezers and eyelash curlers with an anti-bacterial wipe – think about how grimy they get in your make-up bag.
Remove old hair from my brush: run another hairbrush through the bristles to loosen it, then cut it out with scissors. Soak the brush in diluted shampoo to clean, then rinse and leave to dry.
Words Donna Francis