And, even the products and tools we use daily may need an overhaul. But, when is it time to toss out products, clean our tools and refresh our supply? And, why is it so hard to do? It’s quite an investment so we hang on to the products like they're gold. We want to get the very last drop from them and hesitate to throw them out…just in case. But, we need to safe-guard our looks, our eyes and our skin at every age and, especially, as we get older.
Spring and fall are the perfect times to take stock of your beauty products and become aware of the few simple rules to keep your products fresh, safe and effective.
#1: All beauty products expire and can go bad.
As soon as you open a beauty product - even just to take a little sniff – it begins to degrade. That’s because good quality products have active ingredients. The oxygen in the air causes them to degrade.
Plus, heat and humidity promote the growth of mold and yeast. And, where do most of us keep our makeup and skin care? In the Petri dish known as our bathroom! It’s convenient so we do it even though the better place to store them is a cool, dry linen closet or drawer outside the bathroom. Take them out of the bathroom! Your products will be safer and more effective longer.
In addition to oxygen and heat and humidity degrading certain ingredients, every time you touch your make-up or skin care lotions and creams, you transfer germs to them. Make sure your hands and tools are clean. Close the products tightly as soon as possible after use. Keep all products out of the sun or away from heat or cold. Don’t store your skin care in the refrigerator. Constant cold, like heat, degrades your products.
#2: Expiration Dates
The only beauty products that have official expiration dates by law in the United States are those for acne treatments and sunscreen, as these are deemed drugs. Many US products sold in Europe may have expiration dates but everything can depend on handling, storage and when the product is first opened. So, what can we do? Make our own!
#3: Take Charge of Your Products!
Know the look, feel and smell of your products when new. Be aware of when they were purchased and opened. Mark the date on the product in permanent ink near the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol. This date will be more helpful than the PAO date. To find the PAO: Look at the back of your product for an open jar symbol with a number followed by a capital M.
#4 Take Charge of Your Beauty Tools
Always check your makeup brushes and tools, too. Brushes should be cleaned regularly, at least twice a month, or more often, with a gentle soap intended for use with your tools. Brushes should be dried in a drying rack facing downward or laid down to air dry with the brush end extending beyond the surface it’s resting on. Don’t let water go down into the barrel of the brush as this will weaken the glue and aid in bacteria growth
The wedge-type, disposable makeup sponges are meant to be thrown away after each use to prevent bacteria growth and possible infection. A non-disposable make-up applicator sponge, such as the anti-microbial Beautyblender™, can be washed after each use with a gentle cleanser. An ideal cleanser is the solid or liquid Beautyblendercleanser™ that's specifically made for gentle, safe cleansing. Any non-disposable applicator sponge including the Beautyblender™ should be replaced after 3-4 months depending on use.
Proper cleaning of your tools will prolong their life. Most good brushes should last a lifetime if cared for properly.
#5: The Beauty Product Tossing Guide:
- Most skincare products are good for 6 months to a year after opening.
- Most make-up foundations and concealers are good up to one year.
- Most powder-based products are good for 2-3 years (as long as you don’t wet them).
- Most lipsticks, glosses and lip pencils are good for 2-3 years.
The BIG Exception is Eye Makeup:
- Mascara (regular or waterproof), liquid, pencil or, gel eyeliners are good for 4 to 6 months.
- If you have sensitive eyes, toss after 3 months.
- Never keep dried out mascara. And, never add water to extend its life.
- If you get an eye infection, throw all your eye make-up away. Sorry. No exceptions.
- If you haven't used a liquid product in over a year, toss.
- If it’s expired, toss.
- If it doesn't look right, feel right or, smell right, toss.
- If you didn't like it the first time you used it but it was so expensive you can’t seem to part with it, or, you're thinking maybe this eye shadow color will come back into fashion, or, you’re saving it for your mother, etc., etc., etc., … Toss! Toss!! Toss!!!
You'll feel better and it’s better to be safe than sorry!