Casey Gerard won GTG’s Teen Queen teen writing competition with her top tips for decluttering your beauty cupboard

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As a beauty junkie, it is all too easy to ignore the countless bottles of nail varnish, cans of hairspray and tubs
of body butter that are piling up in your bathroom cabinet, unused and untouched. To help put an end to overflowing bathrooms around the world, I have come up with a few easy steps to help you de-clutter your beauty life...

Step 1: Throw out or give away anything you don't wear or use

Now I must admit, after trying it, this is hard. It is painful saying goodbye to that lipgloss you wore to your sister's party or that nail varnish you've had since you were young. However, you have to be strong and the easiest way to do it is to be honest and ask yourself, 'When was the last time I used this?' If the answer is more than a month ago, it is probably time to say goodbye.

Step 2: Throw out or give away make-up that doesn't suit you

Let's face it. If you're as white as snow, there is unfortunately no way that the foundation you bought named 'sun bronze' or 'warm ginger' in the hope you would one day turn into a Greek goddess, will ever match your skintone. Give it to someone who can use it even in the winter! I would also urge you to give away that bright pink eyeshadow that you bought for yourself last Christmas saying 'I will be rocking this next summer!' You know it’s true…

Step 3: Check the expiration date of a product

The expiration date of a particular product depends of what it is - a cream, liquid, powder, spray etc. Here is a low down on how long you can keep your products before they'll turn bad.

  • Powder products (like blusher, eyeshadow, bronzer) will stay with you for about two years. This might not seem like a long time to get through large palettes and the like but if you've followed the previous two steps you would have hopefully finished the product by then anyway!
  • Cream products (like cream eyeshadow, cream blusher, lipstick and lipgloss) will start to go downhill at the one year mark. This is because they break down faster and attract unwanted bacteria.
  • Liquid products (like foundation and some concealers) will last up to one year, however if you notice that the liquid separates or the product changes colour on your skin throughout the day (also known as oxidation), then it's time to toss it.
  • Pencil products (such as eyeliner and lipliner) with regular sharpening can stay good for up to a whopping three years.
  • Nail polish, depending on the formula, can last up to one year. The main sign that it's time to let it meet your dustbin is if it’s gone thick and gloopy. Simples!
  • Hair products will last a long time, but they usually don't need throwing away because you get through them like wildfire...

TOP TIP: If a product smells like your younger brother’s feet after football practice, say goodbye!

Step 4: Use up any 'nearly finished' products

Everyone has those products that are hanging on their last thread, whether you just can't get round to using it or it was limited edition and you simply don't want to finish it off. Making an effort to finish these products before purchasing new ones will ensure you have a clearer bathroom counter. Furthermore, many companies have programmes exchanging your empties for free goodies! These include MAC’s 'Back to MAC' programme and Lush's Fresh Face Mask programme.

Step 5: Whip out the detergent and wipe everything down

All you beauty junkies will know that product bottles and getting-ready areas can get so dirty! The feeling of satisfaction you get when you have a clean bathroom with clean products neatly lined up is so immense it's almost unexplainable - do it and do it now.

Now you’ve decluttered, why not reward yourself to a new neutral eyeshadow or nude lipgloss that has a realistic chance of getting used?

P.S. Got no one to pass your make-up on to? Package up any unwanted items and send them over to  Give and MakeUp , a non-profit organisation set up by Caroline Hirons that gets everyday essentials to the people who need them most.