Spring Cleaning for Your Cosmetics

Mar '13 NC web banner-3

 By Kelly A. Smith

 Most people think of spring cleaning as de-cluttering the garage and hosing down the window screens.  My idea of spring-cleaning is much more enjoyable because it doesn’t require any elbow grease or even dust for that matter.  I’m talking about cleaning your makeup bag or cabinet or whatever your cache of choice may be.  Like food, cosmetics have an expiration date, but unlike food, that date is not required to be slapped on the packaging.  You’ll have to use your common sense (goodbye gooey lip-gloss) and keep to the mantra of, “Been here more than a year? You’re outta here!” 

     Now, I know it can be hard to part with that eye shadow from 1995 that you were so hoping would somehow re-circulate its way back into fashion.  But you do care about health, right?  Of course, you do.  Then why take the chance of ending up with pink eye (and not the pretty, sparkly Cover Girl kind)   When considering what to toss and what to clean, you need to have a general idea of the longevity of different products.  Makeup should always be stored in a cool, dry place, which means, to the dismay of most women, stay away from the bathroom drawers. The steam produced by all of the hot water is a breeding ground for bacteria to form.  If a lid or cap is not tightly closed, bacteria can quickly multiply making your makeup a Petri dish of sorts. To keep your makeup and skin as fresh as the daisies that will soon be blooming, follow these simple tips:

 Foundations/concealers— keep no longer than 18 months

 Lipsticks (solids)—up to two years.  If you were recently sick, I suggest using an alcohol wipe to sterilize. 

 Lip-gloss (liquid) – no more than one year

 Mascara—This has the shortest lifespan of any cosmetic so keeping it for three months is the max–but I replace mine every month

 Eye / brow pencils—replace after one year.  Remember, these come into contact with hair, so even though they seem above suspicion, they can harbor bacteria as easily as the next product.

Eye shadows—depending if you use wet or dry shadow, these can keep anywhere from one to two years.  Just be sure to replace applicators every month or so.

 Powders/ blush—cream products should be discarded after one year.  Powdered formulas up to two years.  Cosmetic wedges/sponges must be washed with warm soapy water and can be used up to three times.  Then must be replaced. 

      Don’t confine your “spring cleaning” to just your cosmetics.  Go through all of your beauty products including shampoo/conditioner, moisturizers, self- tanning creams, nail polishes, etc.   Recently, I cleaned out and decluttered my linen closet, and let me tell you, I could have opened my own underground cosmetic counter from the back of a rented semi truck!  I was in shock at the collection that I had amassed in the last seven years.  Some, surprisingly, were still unopened and, therefore, salvageable, but if anything had even the slightest sign of being cracked open, it was quickly bid adieu! 

     Take your time this spring when De-cluttering your beauty products because perhaps by the time you’re done, someone else will have squirted down those dirty screens!