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Makeup Bag Makeover

If you're toting around dried-up mascara, old lipsticks, and crumbly eye shadow, it's time to purge—and pick up some new essentials. We restored order to readers' disorganized beauty bags with the help of Raychel Wade, makeup artist for La Prairie and founder of Cheek to Chic, a cosmetics consulting company in New York City.

Before: Compact Clutter

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Nicole Teut
34, art director

Nicole is packing too many eye shadow quads and face powders, which eat up a ton of space.

 

After

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Invest in a customizable palette. "Nicole can choose her favorite colors and swap them out each season," says Wade.

Here: Mary Kay Compact Pro, $35 (makeup and brushes sold separately)

Before: Downright Dirty

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Beth Lawler
41, paralegal

"Beth has good makeup, but it's grubby because the inside of her case is such a mess," says Wade.

 

Before: Lipstick Overload

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Debbie Simmons
48, nurse

Debbie wastes time trying to find stuff—and she's carrying eight lipsticks!

After

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Who says lipstick has to come in a tube? Save space with a compact DIY lip palette. "Fill it with your 'greatest hits' of color so they're always in reach," says Wade.

Japonesque Lipstick Palette, $18 (lipstick not included)

Best If Used By...

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How fresh is your makeup? Under ideal conditions it has at most a two-year shelf life, says Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetics chemist in Fairfield, New Jersey. "As soon as you open a product, the clock starts ticking." Make the most of your countdown with these simple rules:

1. STORE WISELY: Keep makeup in a dry environment, like your bedroom. Bacteria, mold, and yeast grow more easily in humid bathrooms.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO PACKAGING: Look for pump bottles when possible. Foundation or concealer with twist-off caps or pots that you dip your finger into allow bacteria to enter.
3. KNOW YOUR NATURALS: If you go green, plan on replacing your products more frequently. "Organic makeup lasts about half as long as traditional formulas," says Wilson.
4. USE YOUR SENSES: Be wary of foul odors or liquid makeup that has separated. It's the first sign that a product has gone bad.

When to toss
Mascara: Three to six months
Liquid eyeliner: Six months
Powder, blush, eye shadow, foundation: 1 year
Concealer, lipstick, lip gloss: 2 years

In the Bag

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Looking for a better storage solution? These three cases are pretty and practical.

CHIC CARRYALL: Tory Burch Cindie case, $75: Splurge-worthy, thanks to the stout shape and stylish print.

Jet-Setter Bag

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JET-SETTER: Trina Audrey 3 Piece Travel Pouch set, $32: The clear bag doubles as a luxe (and reusable) plastic baggie for travel.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, October 2010.

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