How to... clean out your makeup bag

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By Catherine Devane

We chatted to Charlene Jones (aka Charlene Flanagan), make-up artist and co-founder of the Irish beauty brand Ella & Jo, on her top tips to cleaning out your makeup bag.


1. Getting organised

Start by sorting your make-up into piles e.g. lipsticks, palettes, pencils, samples etc. Once you see where everything is it’s easier to get rid of unwanted items. 


2. Keep, Throw, Maybe

Arrange what’s left into Keep, Throw, Maybe piles. Take into consideration that every product has an after-open shelf life. Check the packaging for the open pot symbol: the number indicates how many months it can be used for once opened. Taking note of expiry dates will avoid nasty infections, breakouts, cracked lips etc.


Mrs. Jones Top Tip: If you're really struggling with this task book in a private one-to-one with a make-up artist, who will guide you on what does and doesn’t suit you. 


3. Separate your makeup bags 

Separating your make-up bags into your everyday essential products and your going out/occasion wear products will not only simplify your routine but it will make getting out the door in the morning so much quicker.


Mrs. Jones Top Tip: Buy yourself clear makeup bags so you can easily see where everything is and they can be easily wiped clean. Penney’s have fantastic storage bags and pots. 


4. Keep your brushes and make-up squeaky clean 

Your make-up brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause blemishes, break-outs and infections. Clean brushes lead to clearer skin and better make-up application. Don’t forget to clean the outside of make-up containers and your bag too.


Mrs. Jones Top Tip: It’s true that we only think to clean our make-up brushes when we go to use them which is why our Ella & Jo squeaky clean brush cleanser is ideal. It’s an anti-bacterial spot cleaner with only three ingredients and no harsh chemicals, which will clean, sanitise, condition and dry your brushes in minutes and no need for water!


5. Reward yourself for spring cleaning 

Repurchase any products that have passed their shelf life and treat yourself to some organising accessories like Clutterboxes, drawer separators, lipstick holders and brush holders. Do this after you have organised your stash so you know exactly what you need. 


6. Restocking:

Some of the best multi-use products are the Jane Iredale Mineral Powder foundation, it’s a three-in-one base with a natural SPF and is a super all-rounder. Note Cosmetics Long Wearing lip glosses are literally one of our favourite products ever. They are a rich glossy texture containing nourishing macadamia oil and shea butter, the pigment is amazing it gives me a lift straight away. 


Ella & Jo beauty products are available online at and in stores nationwide

Catherine Devane