I know, I know, if you’re in the UK the suns only been out a week, but it’s actually September.

I think we all know what that means….

It means even if you’ve had a full time for 20 years you get that “Back to School” feeling, the urge to fill your metaphorical pencil case with exciting new goodies. A lot is said about Spring Cleaning, but I have to say that it’s autumn when I get the urge to clean house and make a nice fresh start, probably hence my sudden wardrobe clear out the other day.

So, I’ve sorted out my school uniform, now it’s time my pencil case got a bit of ” back to school” attention.

When you’re a grown up, a grown up Woman anyway, the closest thing you get to a pencil case is probably your make up bag, and if you’re anything like me you’ve been piling stuff into it for years and hardly ever thrown any of it away. Make up that’s been hanging around too long can not only grow bacteria that can give you bad skin and eye and mouth infections, but it also changes texture so it won’t last as long or look as good. Ideally you want a minimal make up bag so you don’t end up throwing stuff away.

First I emptied all the assorted bags squirreled around my room onto the floor. Eeek!


Now, I’m fairly sure I don’t use even half this stuff. So I sorted it into categories Foundation & Concealer, Blushers Bronzers & Highlighters, Mascaras, Eyeshadows, Eyelinersand Lipsticks & Glosses. So I could work through it.

It’s going in the bin if it’s

  • Past it’s sell by date
  • The wrong colour for me
  • Empty (why the hell do I keep empty lipstick tubes anyway?)



Foundation should last 3 -6 months. Concealers with wand applicators should last about 6 months and twist up or solid concealers should last up to a year if you apply them with a brush or cotton bud.

In this picture I have 2 foundations that are completely the wrong colour (the Boxed Anew and the small Anew Tester), a very nearly empty Max Factor tube that is 6 months old and an empty L’Oreal Mineral Make Up. All binned.

I am left with My Avon Magix Face Perfector, the mineral make up I am currently using and my Benefit realness of concealness kit, which is nearly empty, woe!

I know I need to replace :

  • Mineral foundation – My current one will be too dark as we go into autumn winter and I get even paler and pastier
  • Concealer – My realness of concealness kit is fantastic, but nearly empty



Pressed powder blushers and highlighters should last a year. Cream textures, like concealers, should last 6 months to a year, depending on whether you use an applicator or your fingers to apply them.

This picture contains 2 blushers I use and are only a couple of months old, goody. It also, worryingly, contains a MAC highlighter that is pretty much empty and anyway was bought for my wedding in 2005, and also, even worse, a Maybelline highlighter that it occurs to me I bought for New Years Eve, in 2000…..

Also binned is the gorgeously packaged BeneFit Hoola that is too dark for my skin.

I am now in need of:

  • A new highlighter. I’ve tried BeneFit Moonbeam in the past so might go with that.



Mascara lasts 3 months. This is one of the ones most likely to cause eye infections, so never share it, don’t pump the wand up and down in the tube and if YOU get an eye infection ditch it immediately.

Well, I can tell you right now that 3 of the tubes of mascara in that photo were empty and the “Fast Lash” was an experiment in thicker lashes that never got off the starting blocks when I discovered that a tube full of tiny bits of fluff wasn’t going to work with contact lenses….



Eyeshadow, like pressed powders, can last up to a year, but you should ditch it if you have an eye infection. Cream formulas or ones with an applicator you dip into the tube should last 6 months to a year.

Actually, all but one of the eye-shadows in that picture is over a year old. Ooops. And the one that isn’t I hated so have never really used.

Things I need:

  • Lots of eye-shadows!



Pencil eyeliners can last a year, or even longer. Sharpen them regularly and bin them if they get dry or crumbly. Liquid liners, like other similar products should last 6 months to a year.

Here I have binned my Benefit Bad Gal liner as it’s gone dry and won’t sharpen, plus a couple of coloured liners that I don’t even remember buying and a black liquid liner that’s empty. I still have a black kohl pencil, silver liquid liner and a black chunky pencil/shadow.

I need:

  • A new black liquid liner



Lip glosses and Lipsticks should last about a year, but be aware of changing textures and bin them if they go dry or gloopy.

Hmmm, why do I have all these lipsticks? Who knows. I wear barely any and included in this pile are several lip glosses I got free, a Chanel Rouge Noir lipstick I bought after a drunken lunch in *cough* 1999, and at least TWO tubes that are completely empty and I’ve kept because, well, I don’t know why.

All binned. I know have my trusty red, lipglosses in neutral and sugar pink and a neutral pale peach. I would like to replace my now empty Agnes B Beige Metal Rose which I loved (and presumably this is why I never binned the tube)