Every year spring rolls around and the urge to clean out closets and get things organized hits me. In the midst of packing up your winter clothes and taking worn out shoes to Goodwill, don’t forget two important things that often get overlooked – your make-up bag and medicine cabinet!
When to throw out your makeup:
Most beauty products don’t have an expiration date, but they do go bad. Keep track of the dates that you buy makeup if possible. Most of it will lose effectiveness after about a year, and should be thrown out at that time. Watch your makeup for caking, cracking or drying out. If any of these happen, it is probably past time to throw away the product.
It should be noted, if you have had an eye infection, you need to toss all of the products you have used when and just previous to the time you were infected. Otherwise you run the risk of repeating the infection!
Mascara – toss after 3 – 6 months
Mascara is a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s especially important to change mascara often (even if you have some left). Air can push bacteria into the tube and cause an eye infection.
Eyeliner and Lip Liner – toss after 6 – 12 months
Pencil liners can last a long time as long as you sharpen them at least once a week to keep it fresh. Bacteria can still grow around the tip – you’ll know it’s there when the pencil starts to crumble as you’re sharpening it. Liquid eyeliners should be thrown away after 3-4 months, similar to mascara, their container can harbor bacteria.
Foundation – toss after 6 – 12 months
Water-based formulas last longer than oil-based ones. Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle. Instead, use a sponge to apply. BUT – be sure to change your sponge applicator frequently – another breeding ground!
Eye Shadow and Blush – toss after 1 – 2 years
Old shadows get chalky and difficult to apply. Powder shadow lasts longer than cream shadows. If your blush breaks, throw it out right away — and don’t salvage the chunks — they’ll be difficult to blend and will look caked on.
Lip Color – toss after 2 years
Replace lipsticks earlier if you notice oil beads on the side or the color looks different when you apply.
Cleanser and Moisturizers – toss after 6- 12 months
Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. And if you can’t use up a moisturizer in a year, you are buying too big of a container. If you keep your cleanser in the shower, it will spoil faster.
Sunscreens – start to lose their effectiveness after a year
Since we are supposed to use a shot glass full of sunscreen at any given time, this should not be an issue.
Brushes can last indefinitely provided you treat them right (and don’t buy the cheap ones like I do). If you have had an infection, or someone else used your brush, just run them through some rubbing alcohol (70-99%) to disinfect them. Once a month give your brushes a bath by shampooing them with a baby shampoo.
When to throw out old medicine:
This is an easy one – all meds should be labeled with an expiration date. As soon as it’s expired – THROW IT OUT! Heat, humidity, air circulation and sunlight can dramatically shorten the shelf life of most medicines. In other words, don’t expect that open bottle of aspirin that has been rattling around in your car for two years to be much good.
HOW you dispose of old medicines is another concern … be mindful not to flush old medicine down the toilet or sink as this contributes to water contamination! And be careful about tossing them where children or pets could later rediscover them! I’ve typically tossed mine directly in the big gray monster for the trash man to collect, but upon doing a little research for this post, I found that many pharmacies have drug recycling programs in place or can help you properly disposed of expired meds.
Does anyone have any other tips for keeping your make-up bag in tip-top condition or on how to best get rid of old, expired medication? Let us know!