The new year doesn't only call for the cobwebs to be swept away from the nooks and crannies of your home, but also for a spring clean of your beauty products and regime. It's very easy to fall into a makeup black hole, forgetting that the small things can make a difference to the way you apply and create makeup looks. These are my top tips for upgrading your makeup bag this forthcoming spring time, with no pennies required!
1. Organise your makeup into seasons. Although the majority of basics are transeasonal, there are certain colours and effects you wouldn't wear in deepest, darkest winter or high summer. You may have different shades of foundation, more intense bronzers, glitter eyeshadows that only come out at Christmas or pastel nail varnishes that only see the light of day when spring starts to simmer. By categorising your products into rough seasons and putting away what you don't need, it's much easier to find what you're looking for and discover shades you'd forgotten about. I know I have a tendency to stick with the eyeshadow palettes I can find most easily, so if you want to try a new look or experiment make sure those lost gems are close at hand.
2. Clean your makeup brushes. This is so important for not only hygiene reasons, but for also getting the most out of your brush performance. Old, stodgy brushes hinder application because the product can't sit on it effectively - it's like trying to paint a wall with an old manky paintbrush, or create a masterpiece using the brushes left over from GCSE art. You can get brush cleaners for a few pounds on the high street, or soaking them in warm water with washing up liquid does pretty much the same job. If you take the opportunity to do this once a month you'll really see and feel the difference, and your makeup application will be flawless.
3. Check the PAO numbers. On the back of every product is a little open jar with a number either inside or on top - this is there to let you know how long you should keep it after opening the product. So many people have mascaras in their makeup bag that have seen them through Uni or concealers they've been using since they were a spotty teenager; this is no less disgusting than using the same toothbrush for 3 years and expecting it to work properly. On average mascaras and liquid liners should be kept no longer than 6 months, whereas eye products, foundations and powders can be kept up to a year. Make sure you go through every product and check if it needs to be chucked away - just think of the bacteria festering... Ewwww.
4. Get some storage boxes. If all your makeup is chucked into one bag then it's going to get all in a mess. We've all got eyeliners without lids, powders that leak whenever they're turned upside down and lipglosses that have seen better days, but if you store them correctly they'll last a lot longer. Get some small boxes or containers (Muji do brilliant ones for only a few pounds) and organise all your eye, face, lip and nail products separately. With all your lipsticks together, you'll be able to see the colour spectrum you have to pick from, so you're more likely to pick something refreshing - why always go for the nude when you can have a bright pink?
5. Play swapsies with your friends. It's easy to buy things on impulse (that 3 for 2 in Boots is the worst culprit,) and then later realise you don't need that bright blue nail varnish at all. However, one girls trash is another girls treasure, so why not have a 'swapsie party' with your friends. Bring along all the products you've never used, opened once and decided it wasn't you, or simply didn't quite suit your complexion. Get your friends to do the same, and voila, you have lots of new things to play with without having to spend a single pound. It's not like we need another excuse for a get together!