It’s time for spring cleaning! While most of us focus on cleaning closets, attics and basements, it’s important to spend some time going through your beauty closet or drawers, too. Dried out moisturizers, expired toners, cracked eye shadows and strange-smelling cleansers all need to hit that garbage can. Here are a few tips on how to tell if your beauty products should stay or go.
The expiration dates on sunscreens are especially important, because once the active ingredient loses its effectiveness, you are NOT being protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Generally, sunscreens have about a two-year shelf life. It’s best to toss any sunscreen that is past its expiration date. Also, if you notice a chance in the color of the sunscreen (from while to yellow, for example) or a change in its aroma, toss it. It may have been exposed to extreme heat causing its ingredients to break down faster.
The active ingredients in most face washes begin to lose their effectiveness after about six months. However, products containing acids (for instance, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, beta hydroxyl acid) have a longer shelf life.
A good moisturizer will last up to a year once opened. As with a sunscreen, if you notice a difference in color or scent, it may be time to throw it out.
Serums generally last about a year. Unfortunately, some of their ingredients (usually those that cause us to pay so much for the serum) may lose effectiveness more quickly. So it’s best to use serums consistently – don’t save them for special occasions! Serums are generally packaged in small bottles that last about three to six months if used as directed. After that time, they aren’t necessarily bad, just less effective.
Unopened shampoo can last for many years. Once opened, it can still last a few years as long as the lid is kept tightly closed when not in use. Gel shampoos last longer than creamy ones. Be sure to throw it out if the texture or scent changes or if you notice the bottle becoming contaminated with mildew.
Soaps and Body Washes
The consensus seems to be that body washes can be good for up to three years. Bar soaps, if unopened, can last indefinitely. Use your judgment to decide. If the texture, smell or color seems off, don’t use it. Note: You should replace your mesh bath pouf every two months. Loofahs should be thrown out after three to four weeks of use.
Liquid and cream foundation lasts three to six months. Mineral foundation can last up to a year. Powder foundations are good for up to two years. Beyond these time frames, you boost the chances of bacterial growth, which increases the chance of breakouts and skin irritation. Other signs that foundation has gone bad include changes in color or consistency. If oil forms or the foundation does not absorb into your skin, get rid of it.
Powder blushes will last a few years; gel or cream blushes may dry out faster. Cleaning your brushes frequently can help prevent breakouts caused by hidden bacteria. If your blush changes texture or starts to smell, it’s time to throw it out.
Eyeliner and Eye Shadow
Like foundation, the eye shadow/eyeliner life depends on the formula; liquid eyeliners last three months, cream eye shadows last six months, pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows are good for two years.
Once opened, mascara generally has a shelf life of three months. The biggest danger with mascara is how it is applied – the wand comes in contact with body fluids, so it is prone to building bacteria in the tube. Never try to extend mascara’s life by adding water to the tube. If it becomes lumpy, changes color, or you use it when you have a cold – get rid of it right away.
Lipstick can last up to two years if you care for it properly. But when it dries out, looks cracked or changes color, toss it out. Long-wearing formulas may have a shorter life span because they contain ingredients that evaporate more quickly that creamy formulas.