Clean Out Your Beauty Products: Spring Cleaning


Beauty Products | The Northwest Woman

Spring and autumn have always been “refresh” seasons for me. Maybe it’s the perceptible changes in the weather, but I always get inspired to try new projects, re-arrange things, and do a thorough cleaning of my home. The places I tend to turn my attention to first in this process are high-traffic areas, like the kitchen or cluttered cabinets.

I’ve noticed one of the spots where spring cleaning has a big impact is my bathroom cabinets and vanity space. I will admit, I’m a recovering product junkie. I was a contributing beauty columnist for a blog in college, and a large part of the job was testing and writing about new beauty products and lines. Now I’m always working on paring down my collection and reducing clutter, only keeping my tried-and-true favorites.

If you’re ready for a small refresh, take this spring cleaning challenge with me, and let’s clean out our vanities together in just three easy steps.

Clean Your Makeup Brushes

There are three words that are guaranteed to make me cringe: dirty makeup brushes.

Makeup, oil, dirt, and who-knows-what build up on makeup brushes over time and can become a haven for bacteria, causing breakouts and skin irritation. If that’s not enough to convince you to clean your brushes and applicators on a regular basis, makeup doesn’t apply as well on a gunky, flat brush as it does on a clean, fluffy one.

So let’s get to work—it’s easy!

Rinse off your brush under a warm, running tap. Place a small dollop of a gentle soap in the palm of your hand and gently work the bristles of the brush into the soap, working up a lather. You can also use makeup brush cleaner—there are tons of them out there—but I’ve found baby soap or other gentle cleaners work just fine.

Once your brush is nice and soapy, rinse it under the warm, running tap.

You might need to repeat this process until the brush is clean. Once the water runs clear off your brush, you’re all done! Lay your brushes down on a clean towel to dry. I try to make this a weekly routine, or at least every other week, to ensure clean, fluffy brushes and happy skin.

Toss Expired Products

This is a tough one, believe me. I blame retailers for giving out so many free deluxe samples, which end up in small piles in the back of your makeup kit or bathroom cabinets. It’s easy to think, someday, I’ll use that travel-sized volumizing shampoo, even though volume is the last thing I need in my ‘do.

That “just in case I need it someday” mentality isn’t the only obstacle to overcome when it comes to purging your product collection. It can be difficult to know when it’s time to part with your cosmetics.

Brands and companies are getting better at printing expiration dates on makeup, soap, and other toiletries, but this hasn’t become a required, FDA-regulated practice in the U.S. yet. The quickest, and typically the clearest, way to tell if a product is past its prime is to use your sense of smell. If a product smells musty or “off,” it’s time to toss it. Similarly, if the consistency or color has changed since you first opened the product, it’s time to move on.

Here’s a handy guide for knowing when it’s time to toss beauty products. Again, use common sense (and your sense of smell) while deciding what to toss and what to keep:

Beauty Product Expiration Dates | The Northwest Woman

Organize Your Products & Create a Display

Once everything is clean and simplified, I like to take a little time to arrange and organize my brushes and product into a pretty display. I feel most at ease around minimalist and arranged spaces and displays, so getting my products in order is a little mood-booster every time I see them.

Here are some of my favorites for inspiration:

Organize and Clean Out your Beauty Products

via The Zoe Report

Organize and Clean Out your Beauty Products

via Into The Gloss

Organize and Clean Out your Beauty Products

via Pinterest (couldn’t find the original source!)

I really like using lucite drawers and trays for organization–they make it super easy to find what you need–and baskets add a nice touch to make your space feel spa-like.

What are your favorite ways to get your products organized? Are you a product collector or a minimalist? Let me know if you have any additional tips and tricks!


  1. Tammy Thiele says

    Love these tips…I too am a recovering beauty product addict! Do you have a favorite source for the acrylic trays? I’ve been meaning to try some to clear things out further in my drawers and cabinets!

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