As a licensed aesthetician who does facials, waxing and special occasion makeup, Heidi Schulte has peeked in many a personal makeup drawer or case, including her own, and recoiled at the sight.

“There’s usually about 1,000 lipsticks rolling around. OK. I’m exaggerating,” said the Guerneville skin care specialist with a chuckle. “But you see a lot of promotional, gift-with-purchase items. Dirty brushes, exploded blushes. Powder that has cracked all over the bag, brushes balled like dreadlocks or rolling around getting all this cross-contamination.”

Inundated with promotional stuff, presents, regrettable purchases, mascaras long past their expiration date and lipsticks and shadows in colors of another place and time, many a woman has found herself overwhelmed by her makeup. And the stash just keeps on growing.

Recognizing a universal problem, Schulte is now also offering “Beauty Regimen Make Overs” to the menu of services at her Armstrong Woods Road salon (

Old makeup is like clothes that haven’t fit in 10 years but you’re just holding on,” she said, “hoping they’ll fit again.”

Some may find it slightly scary, she acknowledges, a bit like the ruthless “What Not to Wear” TV show. But she promises if you bring in the entire contents of your skincare and makeup regimen, from brushes to serums, she’ll help determine what’s best for your skin type and lifestyle, what to keep and what to toss.

Schulte, a 25-year veteran of the skincare business who has worked at upscale retailers like Macy’s, said there are compelling reasons to weed through cosmetics once a year. Not only will it make life easier to have only what you need and use, but old makeup can be a haven for bacteria that can lead to infections like pink-eye and skin rashes.

“I had one client whose face was completely scarred because there was bacteria in some makeup she had,” Schulte said.

One of the worst is mascara. Toss it after six months, she advised. Ditto for liquid eyeliners. Anything else older than a year should go. Wash brushes regularly with shampoo or brush cleaner and store them somewhere like in a glass jar, to keep them clean.