Last updated: Dec 15, 2015
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If you're picturing me leaving my house every morning looking perfectly put together, think again. Like most of us, I'm super busy, so I usually run out my front door without a stitch of makeup on. I'll do my face when I get to my desk, which means my makeup bag has to be travel-ready. A great way to start fresh for the new year is to clean out your makeup bag so it no longer feels like a junk drawer (sound familiar?). A kit that is armed with only the products you need—and nothing that has expired—is your best defense against a busy morning. Here's how to rejuvenate your stash.


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Take stock of what you've got
Start by dumping your whole bag out onto the floor. Then sort items into three piles: makeup you never wear; things that are broken, are missing a cap or have turned; and products you use regularly. Toss stuff you never apply and anything that's obviously past its prime or bad. Some products have expiration dates; if not, throw out anything that seems old. (Key signs: It's dried out, smells like chemicals or has changed color.) As a general rule, foundation, concealer, eye shadow and blush are good for two years, and lipstick and lip and eye pencils are usable for 12 to 18 months. Mascara and eye creams are the most perishable, lasting about six months. Bottom line: If it looks sketchy, it goes.

Save the stragglers
Next, move on to items that are clearly in bad shape—cracked powders, broken compacts, eye, and lip liners without tops. Alas, it's really hard to save a powder blush or shadow once it's cracked. But if you have a foundation or cream you like that has simply lost a lid, pour it into a new bottle or jar (sold at beauty-supply stores). Scoop capless lipsticks into a palette (also available at beauty-supply stores) and place liners that are without lids into a small ziplock bag. I don't like to waste good makeup, so if I can save it, I do!

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Make your tools like new
Once you've whittled things down to the key pieces, take a few minutes to clean your brushes and tools with warm water and a mild, nonirritating soap. You'll extend their lifespan and improve the payoff—as well as keep your skin bacteria-free.

Add some hard workers
I'm always looking for products that save a step—lip color that doubles as blush or foundation that doesn't require a brush. I also try to rotate based on the season, so in the winter, I'll bring out a rich moisturizer and replace cool summer shades with warmer shades. You can update your kit with a few cold-weather must-haves, like an easy-to-apply cream blush to give cheeks a hit of color. If you have the budget for just one new item, I'd suggest going for a lip color—there's no better way to quickly transform your look.

3 Ways to Look Great in Winter

Rehab your skin: Moisturizing replenishes skin with hydration and helps even out your complexion, ensuring a flawless makeup application. Most of us are dry in the winter; layer two formulas to plump skin, which creates the perfect canvas for makeup.

Try a nude smoky eye: Easy to wear for day and easy to build upon for a more dramatic effect for night. Simply layer shades of beige and brown shadows to your desired intensity.

Get glossy lips: Adding a little shine gives lips a pop. My new Almost Nude, Almost Pink, or Almost Peach glosses flatter all skin tones.