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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How to decide which beauty products to toss?

When just one section of your eye-shadow collection looks like this, it can be a huge task to keep tabs on the expiration dates of every item of makeup you own. 

Plus, how do you know when to really trust the expiration date, when obviously the makeup company's end-goal is for you to buy more makeup?
As it turns out-- your beauty supplies will often times tell you when their time has passed. As soon as you witness any of your makeup products starting to change; either by separating, or a change to the color, texture, or smell, it is a sign that the included ingredients are no longer working as intended, and your makeup needs to be sent to it's trashcan grave.

Depending on the item-- such as lipstick or nail-polish-- the worst thing that will happen is that you suffer through a momentary beauty goof. (A gloppy manicure or crumbly lip-stick never really hurt anybody.) However, when it comes to items like mascara or sunscreen, using products with past-prime ingredients can be much more harmful. (Introducing bacteria to the eye, or sunbathing without proper SPF protection, could prove to be way more detrimental.)

Read on to determine the proper way to handle the following, short-lived beauty products: 

  • Nail polish: Unfortunately, those little colored bottles you spend ages selecting, last only about a year. Usually though, it is at around 9 months after opening that the ingredients begin to degrade, and from here on out the color and consistency will noticeably change. You will definitely notice when this starts to happen, the once smooth color us now sticky and tacky. Save yourself the trouble, and toss it as soon as you see this start to happen. 

  • Mascara: Again, it's life-span seems to come and go way too quickly. Once a tube of mascara has been opened, on average you have about 3 months of usage. As soon as the formula starts to get clumpy or dry, the mascara has become a breeding ground for bacteria. If you happen to contract an eye-infection (pink-eye, etc.) discard the mascara you were currently using immediately. Reusing the same mascara applicator can cause recurrences.

  • Face cream: Most creams are given about a year after opening before being deemed "expired". This is largely due to the idea that your fingers are constantly adding bacteria to the enclosed product, however-- before adding product to your face, I'm going to assume that most people's hands are clean.

    That being said, your face cream will let you know when it's time to get thrown away; an oily liquid may appear on the surface, the lotion might look or smell different, or it might feel different to the touch. Pay attention to these signs, and throw away the cream in question.
  • Perfume: Each time you spritz a squirt of perfume, air is being introduced into the sealed bottle. Over time (roughly 2 years), the presence of oxygen will cause the formula to oxidize, and the strength of the scent will slightly diminish. However, aside from a weaker fragrance, no real harm will come from using older perfume.
  • Sunscreen: After about 6 months, sunscreen usually begins to lose it effectiveness, however for up to a year after opening the bottle-- as long as the ingredients have not begun to separate, change smell or color-- the sunscreen can still be applied...just be sure to reapply often as the SPF effectiveness on the bottle may have started to decrease.

The net take-away: expiration dates on makeup can seem somewhat arbitrary... Trust your eyes, fingers, and nose to determine when one of your beloved makeup products has expired... for real.

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