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make-up bag


There seems to be a certain feeling of joy when you get your hands on a new lipstick or that mascara that makes your lashes look killer.

And to be honest, we don't really want to throw away our make-up until we scrape every last little bit out. Right?

Wrong. We should, because the truth is that everything we put on our face must be clean and fresh or else some nasty germs could clog up your beautiful complexion. UGH.

And if you haven't a clueee when you need to throw your make-up out, no worries. Grazia spoke to Bobbi Brown pro make-up artist Hannah Martin and she gave us all the inside scoop to when we need to clear out our make-up bags.

Once you open a product, liquid and cream based make-up "are best used within a year and powder products within two years."

But Hannah said to watch yourself with mascara as it's "one of the exceptions and really is at its best for the first two months and should be replaced after three months."

As a general rule, "longwear shadows and liners are also at their best for the first six months but powder products "such as face powder, bronzer, blush and eye shadow will last longer that liquid products," so they're good for a couple of years (if they last that long). 

The most important thing is to read the guidelines on the products and do regular clean-outs of your make-up bag and make-up brushes. You'll be sorted in no time!



How many of us take the time each week to wash all of our make-up brushes properly as well as tossing our make-up bags (yes, all of them) into the wash for a good scrub?

The only time we ever really seem to care about the state of our make-up bag is when we buy a shiny new product and it just doesn’t do it justice to throw it in the pit so we make everything shiny.

Here is what you need to be doing in order to keep your make-up bag free of harmful bacteria and germs:

Wash your brushes…often
We know it’s an obvious one but it’s probably the most important. Your make-up brushes are being used ON your skin EVERY day and they need to be clean. Take ten minutes once a week and wash your brushes thoroughly in either hot soapy water or special make-up brush cleanser.

Throw your make-up bag in the laundry
Another chore to do once a week. There’s no point in washing your brushes and then throwing them into a germ-filled make-up bag now is there?!

No fingers please
If you have any foundation or pot product make sure to use a cotton bud to scoop out what you need. Your fingers are germ-magnets and every time you pop them in there you’re leaving some behind to transfer onto your face next time. Not cool. If there is a tube version of the pot product available, even better.

That pencil sharpener though…
Your pencil sharpener needs to be kept spick and span. Your lip pencils and eyeliners need to be sharpened regularly as they are used on your skin, and more importantly – your eyes! This means the sharpener itself needs to be perfectly clean too.

Sharing isn’t caring
We know it’s in our nature to wear each other’s clothes and do each other’s hair but the line needs to be drawn at sharing make-up. Everyone’s skin is different and by allowing someone to use your brushes/lipstick/mascara you run the risk of transferring skin issues to them or getting them yourself.

Regular clean-out
Make-up has an expiry date. Here is how long common beauty products last and how often you need to replace them, even if they haven't run out:

Mascara: 2-3 months
Eyeshadow: 6 months
Foundation: 6-12 months
Stick concealer: 2 years
Liquid concealer: 1 year
Eyeliner: 3 months



A good kit of basics can make or break a beauty regime – and I’m not even talking about the actual cosmetics.

There’s nothing more critical than your actual beauty tools – when you run out of your €40 foundation, you’ll be so glad of that buffing brush you invested in to make the cheap stuff look just as good!

I have what could be described as a fetish for make-up brushes; I’ll never stop trying new ones and I collect them like prized pieces of art. There are some absolute classics that can’t be beaten; for eyeshadow, I’d count the MAC 217 and 286 as invaluable for blending. Nothing compares.

For liquid foundation, I’ll always adore buffing brushes like the Blank Canvas F20, but I’ve just discovered something that is quite possibly even better. The BeautyBlender is an absolutely incredible dome-shaped sponge for making foundation look convincingly natural – it’s not quite as quick and easy as a regular brush, but worth the effort whenever you have a few extra minutes.

Before you do anything with your brows, brush ‘em up and out using a spoolie – you’ll instantly look groomed and more alert. You can buy these in bulk from beauty supply stores or Ebay – or even rob a few from your local make-up counter, but don’t tell them you heard it from me!

A good, sharp, synthetic slanted brush will be your best friend for applying brow powders and pomades – Ecotools do an excellent one and it’s super-affordable.

Cheese is to wine as what brows are to Tweezerman tweezers. You can’t have one and not have the other – if you possess eyebrows, you need these tweezers because they are simply the best. They come in two different sizes and I’d recommend just picking up the mini size, because it’s just as good as the regular size, but a couple of euro cheaper.

For skincare, you don’t exactly need an elaborate toolkit. However, I’m all about the best basics – and it doesn’t get much better that a good, fluffy, clean flannel. Buy a bunch from Dunnes or Penneys, use a clean one every day, and thank me later.

Muslin cloths are also lovely for some light exfoliation (harsh apricot kernel scrubs are so 2008). If you fancy a deeper clean, try working the Clarisonic into your routine a couple of nights a week. It has a cult following for a reason; nothing beats a good sonic cleanse and, unlike your favourite lotions and potions, this will never run out!   

 Deirdre Foley is a history grad, sceptic, wearer of red lipstick and self-confessed 'beauty maniac'. She is also the co-founder of fabulous Irish beauty blog, Viva Adonis.     



When something is recommended again and again and again, it becomes something of a cult-classic product. That means, of course, that everyone needs to have them. Here are our favourite cult-classic beauty-products you need for your make-up bag. 

1. Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Éclat
​This complexion highlighter has the magical powers of making any trace of a late night completely disappear in one click. If you want to glow – then this is for you!


2. Maybelline's Great Lash mascara
Advertised as America's favourite mascara and looking like it was definitely Kelly Kapowski's make-up bag essential – this mascara is affordable and effective. 


3. Benefit's Benetint
This rose-coloured liquid is multi-functional excellence. Use it as a blush for that rosy-dew look or dab it on your lips for instant colour. 


4. NARS blush in Orgasm
This may just be the world's most in-demand blusher shade. Use it on your cheeks for an instant lift and a very healthy glow. The blush is matte with shimmering elements to ensure you look your best. 


5. L'Oreal's Elnett hairspray
This hairspray is definitely a cult-product and has been used to keep even the most famous of hairs in place for decades. 


6. Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk foundation
If you're looking for a dewy glow from your foundation then this is for you! The Luminous Silk foundation has long been a staple at the GA counter – and with good reason!

7. Urban Decay's NAKED eyeshadow palette
This is the must-have eyeshadow palette over the last few years – and it's no surprise! With a huge amount of potential looks and a high-quality finish, this has become a firm favourite and has even been followed up with NAKED 2 and NAKED 3. 

8. Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream
This is an all-rounder. Dry skin? Put some Eight Hour Cream on for instant relief. Same goes for lips. 



It goes without saying that we’re all guilty of a few beauty sins. Whether you’re a little liberal with your foundation every once in a while or you forget to remove your slap after a 14 hour day, none of us are perfect. (Hell, we can't be amazing at EVERYTHING.)

But if we have anything in common it’s probably that we all carry around far too many near-empty bottles and tubes when we should be taking stock of our make-up bag and having a ruthless clear-out every six months or so.

Let's make this our New Year’s beauty resolution; if you’re on board, here’s how to get started.


If your mascara is becoming clumpy, it’s not necessarily time for a new one.

Try immersing the tube in a cup of warm water for a few minutes and watch how it reinvigorates itself!

If you’ve purchased a new mascara and yet you’re still carrying around a near-empty tube, then bin it!

You bought the new one for a reason, remember?


We’ve all had a palette of pressed powder or bronzer shatter on us, but we soldier on and continue to use it on a daily basis despite the fact it coats our clothes and bag in powder, right?

Cut your losses and ditch it immediately. Treat yourself to a new one, you have had a make-up trauma after all!


Be honest, how often do you wash them? We all need a little schoolin’ in that department, don’t we?

Experts recommend we wash our brushes once a month in warm, soapy water to avoid germs and infection.  Every thirty days; that’s doable, right?

Nail Polish

Yes, you love the shade, but does it look as good when it’s clumpy and streaky on your nails?

If you’ve tried the age-old trick of adding a little nail polish remover to the actual polish and it’s still not as good as it used be, then admit defeat, bin the bottle and treat yourself to a new shade!


When was the last time you rocked that pearly pink?

If you haven't worn a lipstick in over a year, then chances are it's best days are over, so why not free up some space in your make-up bag for the latest lippie must-have!

Girls, start the new year by taking the time to rummage through your beauty bag and discard the non-essentials, then hit the beauty counter sales to re-stock.

You deserve a few treats for your organisational skills, after all!



Even though it may seem like more hassle than it’s worth having a clean make-up bag. It’s not only important hygienically but it can be a time saver too. Here are some great tips to ensure that your make-up bag stays squeaky clean:

Whether its eyeliner or lip liner regularly, sharpening pencils can prevent a messy bag but also ensure clean lines around the lips and eyes.

A simple way to manage your liquid foundation leaks is to regularly use your multipurpose make-up remover wipes.

Brushes instead of sponge applicators
Brushes are not only easier to clean but tend to last longer too even after washing. Even though sponge applicators can create an even finish, they can lose their shape and texture after washing.

Clearing out your bag
It may seem obvious but having a good clear out and dumping old products ensures great hygiene but also better application when it comes to your make-up. Regularly scrubbing your bag with washing up liquid can also prevent the build-up of germs.

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