By Kathryn Dickinson
Time to clean out your makeup drawer! It’s all too easy to accumulate drawers and shelves full of makeup, skincare and hair care. As new seasonal shades or miracle ingredients make their way to our bathroom counter, half used products are moved to the drawer to be used again later. But as weeks become months become years, the products just accumulate. We hate being wasteful and don't want to throw them away - so there they are left - in makeup purgatory.
Here is our fool proof guide to keeping your stash safe and sanitary, and to help you clean out those bathroom shelves.
First: Look for the Little Open Jar
Recently, companies have started adding these to packaging to help customers manage expiration dates. These little symbols can be found on the back of any product, normally towards the bottom of the bottle or jar. These indicate how long a product will last after it's been opened and exposed to oxygen. If you don't see it, it was probably on the box you recycled two months ago, or ... your product is so old - the labeling system wasn't even in place!
How long a product will last unopened greatly depends on the type of product it is. Natural and toxin free options will have a shorter shelf life (less than 2 years) because they don't contain any harsh chemical preservatives. On the upside, many do not contain water, which is needed for bacteria to grow, so serums and elixirs that are only oils tend to last longer than water based products.
As a general rule of thumb - this is how often you should replace your products after they have been opened:
Tip: The best option for keeping your goodies as fresh as possible is to store them in a dark, cool, dry place with stable temperatures. If you keep them in a sun exposed, hot and humid area of your home, get ready to part with them a lot sooner.
Cleaning Those Dirty Brushes
Last, but not least, in keeping your products safe and sanitary - clean your dirty brushes. And I'm not talking about wiping it on a Kleenex between eyeshadow colors. I'm talking a full bath with bubbles and a rubber duck cleaning. For daily sanitation I keep a spray bottle with alcohol, water and shampoo on my bathroom counter to give my brushes a daily spritz (this is especially important for eye liner brushes). In addition, once a week, my whole collection of brushes gets a deep bath in the sink with a mild shampoo and then laid flat on a wash cloth to dry.