Makeup bag.

The spring cleaning season is here! As you’re busy dusting, mopping and deep cleaning your home, don’t ignore your makeup bag. That bundle of beauty products needs a little attention too. If your makeup stash is anything like mine, it has become quite a mess over the year. Here’s how to naturally spring clean your makeup bag in five steps.

1. Wash makeup brushes, sponges and applicators

The bristles on your favorite makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Just think what’s accumulating on them. Old makeup. The oils from your skin. Germs from the environment where you store the brushes. (Uhhh, the bathroom.) It’s not a pretty thought. Get your makeup brushes, sponges and applicators clean the natural way by carefully washing them with a natural soap and warm water. Let them air dry on a towel before using. It’s a good idea to wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. You could even give them a quick rinse after each use.

2. Ditch old products

It’s easy to forget how long you’ve had that eyeshadow or blush. Most cosmetics don’t come with an expiration date. But that doesn’t mean they don’t go bad. Natural and organic cosmetics expire even faster than other products because they don’t contain preservatives. Check with the company that makes the product to get the most accurate expiration date, or take a look at our handy guide on the shelf life of beauty products.

3. Clean the bag

Your makeup bag is the perfect hideaway for bacteria. And, if you’re like me, that makeup bag hasn’t been washed in an embarrassing amount of time. If you have a cloth bag, simply toss it in the washing machine. Clean plastic-lined bags by wiping them down with a wet cloth and a touch of soap. You could also give them a swipe with a bit of rubbing alcohol to disinfect them.

4. Get rid of beauty products you never use

Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning; it’s also about decluttering. If your makeup bag is so jammed with products that you can’t find what you need, then it’s not serving you. Washing your makeup bag is the perfect opportunity to go through your products since you have to dump them all out to clean your bag anyway. As you go through your products, start by chucking anything that’s expired or that you’ve had for longer than a year. Now the hard part. Toss out products you never use—even if they’re still good. Maybe you bought that natural eyeshadow, but just didn’t like the color? Or that organic powder irritates your skin? If you’re never going to use it, there’s no point in letting it take up space in your makeup bag. Let it go.

5. Get rid of chemicals for good

If you’re still clinging to a few conventional beauty products filled with chemicals like phthalates, parabens, petrolatum and formaldehyde, now is the time to get them out of your makeup bag—for good. Organic and natural beauty products offer so many benefits. They’re better for your skin. They’re better for your health. They’re better for the planet. If you can’t afford to chuck all of your conventional makeup at once, replace each product with a more natural option as you run out. Need more convincing? Here’s why your skin deserves organic beauty products.

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson, Google+ and Pinterest.

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image: frlls via Flickr