By Becca Newell
Many of us can relate to having that drawer in our bathroom. The one inundated with never-worn lipsticks, complimentary perfume samples, near-empty nail polish bottles, and outdated eyeshadow hues. Besides cluttering your cabinets, there’s an even uglier side to those makeup-hoarding tendencies. Take our advice and start your New Year with a clean slate, particularly when it comes to that never-ending beauty haul.
When to Toss
Gel and liquid liners follow the same rule of thumb as mascara and need to be replaced every three months. If it’s a pencil eyeliner—that’s sharpened regularly—it can last up to 12 months.
Powder-based formulas should last up to two years, but trash cream eyeshadows after a year.
Similar to eyeshadow, if it’s powder-based it will keep for up to two years, but cream formulas should be thrown out within six to 12 months.
Trash it after two years, particularly if the formula is too thick and goopy, dried out and crumbling, or remains separated after a quick shake of the bottle.
Lip glosses are good for up to six months whereas lipsticks can last about a year.
Liquid foundation should remain stable for at least a year, if kept out of the sun and away from heat. However, powders can last a little bit longer—up to two years.
It’s up for debate. There are those that suggest an unopened bottle is good for 12 to 18 months; others recommend tossing fragrances anywhere between three to five years after its production date; and some propose that perfumes keep for much longer than that. The best way to preserve your favorite scent is to protect it from sunlight and heat, storing bottles in a dark cupboard with consistent temperature and little-to-no humidity.
Tell-Tale Signs it’s Past its Prime:• The pigmentation is darker, lighter, or uneven
• The formula’s consistency has changed
• The product smells different
Three months after its purchase date—or sooner if the formula becomes dry. Do not add water (or saliva!) to moisten the solution because it can add bacteria to the product. Once a mascara wand is removed from the tube, it’s susceptible to bacteria—either airborne or existing on your eyelids and lashes—which can grow once the wand is returned to its moist and dark home.
Dirty makeup brushes can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s important to wash them once or twice a month, especially if you use them regularly. If the bristles are synthetic, experts suggest cleaning them even more frequently. In addition to bacteria, dirty brushes can cause skin irritations, clogged pores, breakouts and even viral infections, like pink eye. Unclean brushes are also less effective, since product buildup can result in streaky application.
Products We Love!
Although United States law doesn’t require cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on its labels, most products feature the PAO—or Period After Opening—symbol. The number appearing next to the open jar icon reflects how many months the product will last once its packaging is unsealed.
ecoTOOLS’ Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloths
bareMinerals’ Well-Cared For Brush Conditioning Shampoo
$14/4 Fl. Oz., Bareescentuals.com
Sephora’s Dry Clean Instant Dry Brush Cleaner Spray
$14/2 Fl. Oz., Sephora.com