Makeup Bag Clean Out, Elizabeth Todd Edition

Elizabeth Todd, owner of The Shoe Hive and The Hive, has a fierce wardrobe. I’ve seen her closet, strike that, closets. So when she pulled her cosmetic bag out of her purse one morning over coffee, I almost choked on my latte. Inside her beautiful Parker Thatch bag was a beat-up little makeup bag. I had to see inside!

She handed it over and unzipped it. I fished around a bit and realized I couldn’t find anything in this bag. The one thing I did find prompted this clean out: a Paula Dorf lipstick. We haven’t sold Paula Dorf since 2009. That lipstick was at least nine years old. To be fair, I don’t think she’d been using it, but that just underscored the fact that she didn’t know what was in the bag.

We all have things we need to keep in our bags. Receipts, band-aids, hair ties, essentials that aren’t nice to look at, but are there when we need them. Those items should be kept in a privacy bag, something non-see-through. Makeup. however, should be kept in a clear bag so you can see exactly what you have. This makes it easy to find the lipstick you want without emptying the contents of your bag each time. It also makes it easy to spot something that probably should be tossed. Things like nine-year-old lipstick, for instance.

After dumping the contents on the table and tossing out the old lipstick, lip balms, and glosses, we set to replace those items with newer items she already had and identified the items she needed to replace. We chose our Truffle Mini Clarity Clutch to house her makeup. Now when she is looking for a specific item she can see it immediately.

This clean-up prompted another; I asked her to bring all her makeup for review. When you’re carrying nine-year-old lipstick in your bag, what in the world is in your drawer at home? More on that later.

As a general rule, lipsticks should be tossed after a year. If your lipstick has changed in color, texture, or smell, toss it regardless of how long you’ve had it. These are signs that bacteria has started to grow. To extend the life of your lip balms and glosses in pots, use a lip brush. There are travel versions available you can keep in your bag. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to wash our hands before each use. A lip brush cuts down on the introduction of foreign substances into the jar.

If your makeup bag could use a clean out, bring it in. We can help you identify what’s good, what should be replaced, and whether there is a more effective way to store it. We promise we won’t judge…even if there’s a Paula Dorf lipstick in there.


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I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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