Makeup Cleanout

Spring cleaning … we do it in our closets, rotating out the winter gear and bringing in the flip-flops; we do it in our garage, putting away snow gear, making way for beach chairs. But when was the last time you did a bathroom spring cleaning? I don’t just mean a good scrubbing of the toilet and shower – no, I mean a spring cleaning of your cosmetics … those cosmetics that you look at and think “Oh yes – I bought that bronzer before my 13-year-old was born.”

Seriously ... if you don’t remember when you bought something, chances are it’s time to toss it. Because yes – things that haven’t been finished sometimes need to be thrown away. They just go bad. At a minimum, a cosmetic gone bad will stop working or going on as intended. The worst thing that could happen is irritation, or even infections, from the bacteria they may be hanging onto.

Many of our cosmetics and skin care products have a three-year life span – that is, if they haven’t been opened. Once a product is opened to the environment and no longer sealed, the clock starts ticking. Don’t be so surprised – your salad dressing does the same thing, so why wouldn’t your foundation go bad too?

Probably the most important items to keep clean are your makeup brushes. Anytime you take a brush, dip it in a product, put it on your face, and dip it back into the product, you are transferring bacteria back and forth. One of the easiest ways to increase the life of your products is to clean the brushes you use to apply them. The easiest way to clean them is to buy a bottle of brush cleaner. Spray your brushes after use, wipe them on a towel, then set them out to dry.

Next up are your eye products. Three months, my friends – that’s how long your mascara should last. A nice, dark, and wet mascara tube is just the type of environment that those little bacteria from your eyelashes love. If you don’t use your mascara daily, pull out a Sharpie and write the month/day you got it so you won’t forget. By three months of use, there is enough nastiness on the applicator that you should want to get rid of it. The same rule applies for your liquid eyeliner.  If you are using a pencil, just sharpen it before each use to keep it clean or swirl a wet wipe on its end to clean it.

Most people seem to hang onto eye shadow palettes until they are empty. But there is a time when they just need to be thrown out. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it. Most powder shadows require replacement in three to 18 months – longer if you clean your brushes regularly and keep your makeup out of the bathroom. 

Lipstick – most of us tend to hang on to it for a very long time. But its life span is only one year – that’s it. You know when your lipstick starts to “smell like lipstick?” You know that smell ... that’s when it’s time to say goodbye. Lipstick loses its moisture and stops going on as smoothly or even changes color. Because of the high moisture content of your lip gloss, it can stretch to about 18 months.

The easiest of all are powders such as mineral powder foundations, face powders, and blushes. These can keep for about one to three years if they are kept in a cool dry place – not your bathroom. I repeat – not your bathroom. The hot, cold, humid, dry variations can actually shorten the lifespan of your powders.

The most noticeable when they are ready to be discarded are your liquid foundations and concealers. If they start separating, then toss them. Liquid foundation can last anywhere from six months to one year. Unopened foundations can last close to two years.

Now go into your makeup bag or drawer and do your spring cleaning. If you aren’t sure how old something is, chances are it’s past its prime ... so go ahead – bite the bullet and toss it in the trash. Now you have a good excuse to go shopping for new makeup!