Makeup & Skincare
I have more foundation bottles on the go than most people have Facebook friends.
I can also vouch from experience that using out-of-date makeup can be a major cause of skin irritation and breakouts.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to take stock of your beauty stash and free up some much-needed space in your bathroom at the same time.
While most liquid-based foundation and concealer products have a recommended use-by date of around 12 to 18 months, powders, like bronzer, blush and finishing dust, can last several years as long as the brush that's used to apply the product is washed regularly.
Eye shadow tends to be the most durable makeup product with both loose and pressed shadows lasting anywhere between two to three years. The same goes for lip, eye and brow pencils as long as you sharpen the tips regularly. The one product you do need to keep an eye on is mascara. Due to the drying nature of the product and the sensitivity of the eye area, most magic wands have an expiry date of around 2-6 months.
Expert tip: excessive air exposure is what causes mascara to turn clumpy, so rather than pump the wand in and out, try your hand at slowly twirling the comb instead. It'll not only reduce the amount of air that gets trapped inside the tube, but it also helps to remove excess product from the brush for a mess-free application.
Most glosses and balms will last six to 12 months, but lip salves housed in jars and tins are a melting pot for germs so always opt for a tube or stick that's less likely to become contaminated. And when it comes to lipstick, heat is the number one killer, so as soon as you detect a change in the scent, that's your cue to ditch it.
If not washed regularly, makeup sponges and brushes can be a playground for breakout-causing bacteria. Most of the major skin and makeup brands, including MAC, shu uemura, Clinique and Napoleon, now sell brush cleaning solutions that are formulated to breakdown bacteria and remove product build-up, without damaging the hairs.
If you're not sold on the idea of buying a brush-specific cleanser, try adding a few pumps of a mild face wash to warm water and leave the brushes to soak before rinsing with water and positioning them flat on a towel to dry.
Look to the label
If you turn to the back of any makeup or skincare label, nine out of ten times you'll find a symbol of a jar that has a half-opened lid with a number circled on the inside. The figure stands for the recommended number of months that the product is expected to keep after it's been opened.
Location is key
Heat and air are the two major enemies, so unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise, always store your makeup at room temperature in your wardrobe or on your dresser, away from direct sunlight.
Could you go mascara-less?Related story: Would you go mascara-less?