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Spring Clean Your Makeup Drawer + DIY Brush Cleansers


What is it about the springtime that makes you just want to refresh and rejuvenate everything in your life? From my drapes to my closet, I’ve been attacking just about every part of my house with a vengeance ever since the temperature broke 50 degrees. Today I dove into my makeup drawer, which was in desperate need of attention.

I used simple ingredients like castile soap, essential oils and vinegar to create some DIY brush cleansers. Making the cleansers was really easy, and they both smelled really fresh without being too scented. I also used a few tips to clean the old makeup out of my makeup collection – no matter how many times I look at the products, I can never seem to take the plunge to throw things away. Today I tossed the expired products and kept only the things I really use.




DIY Hair Brush Cleansing Soak

What You’ll Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Essential oil (I used tea tree, but you can also use eucalyptus or lavender)
  • Water
  • Large bowl or flat container

First, add 1 1/2 cups of water to your large container. Then stir in 1/2 cup of the vinegar and about 20 drops of the essential oil. I actually doubled this recipe because I used a large bowl, and I needed the solution to reach a height that would completely cover the brushes.

Once you’ve made the soak, simply place your brushes and combs inside and let them sit for 20 minutes. Be sure to pull out any excess hair before soaking. When the brushes are done soaking, just pat them dry and lay them on a clean towel for a few hours to finish drying completely. I also noticed that the brushes maintained a bit of the essential oil scent even after they dry, which is a little bonus when you use them to brush your hair.




DIY Makeup Brush Cleanser

What You’ll Need

  • Castile soap
  • Hair conditioner (you can also use olive oil)
  • Water
  • Small bowl or jar

Dilute the castile soap with a bit of water in your container (I found that a mason jar works really well). I only had bar castile soap around the house, but it’s really easy to dilute it in water by rough chopping or using a cheese grater to shave off a corner. There are a ton of articles online to show you how to do this (it’s also more cost-efficient if you don’t use castile soap often, because the liquid type is more expensive).

Add a little conditioner or olive oil to the mixture to keep the bristles soft, and then let your brushes soak for a minute or so.




Next, put a little more soap and water in the palm of your hand and swirl the brush bristles around to loosen any remaining makeup. It helps to have cup of clean water nearby to rinse the brush after each time. When you think the brush seems clean, test it by brushing it against a white paper towel or soft cloth. Once the brushes are all clean, lay them out to dry on a thick towel.

Makeup Expiration Tips

Now that your brushes are clean and disinfected, it’s time to tackle that overflowing makeup drawer. Here are a few tips to help you remember when to toss out your products.




  • Mascara and eyeliner: As a general rule, mascara and liner usually last only 3 – 6 months. This is particularly important since you put them so close to your eye, so if you’re only going to abide by one makeup expiration rule, this is the one to choose.
  • Liquid foundation: Toss your foundation after 12 – 18 months, or once it starts separating and forming a clear layer at the top.
  • Lipstick and gloss: Lipstick lasts a year, while gloss is best tossed after 18 months.
  • Powders: Because of their dry consistencies, powders like eyeshadow, blush and face powder last about 2 years.

Photos by Ana Stanciu

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