Have you ever read the articles in magazines that discuss how long beauty products last, such as mascara for only three months? Even if some of the best before dates are a bit on the conservative side (extra sales, anyone?), beauty products generally can't be kept forever. And your stash will benefit from a clean-out a few times a year, in multiple ways.
- Take all your beauty products out of the cupboard, bags or drawers where you keep them. If you keep then in multiple places, take them out of every place.
- Go through the products and determine if anything has passed it's best before date and should be chucked. Many products have recently started indicating with a small symbol how long they will last for (such as 12M surrounded by a symbol of a jar). Other products may have an actual best before date (such as sunscreen, whose best before you should always pay attention to - old sunscreen loses its effectiveness). Most products last no more than 1-2 years once opened. Some indications that a product should be chucked is if it has changed consistency or it is separating.
- Go back through everything remaining and see if there is anything you no longer like or use. Don't keep old makeup just because the colours may come back into fashion - see point 2 for why it doesn't have a long life span like clothing. And if the colours or the formulation don't suit you, there is no use in keeping it. If it was barely used and isn't likely to have been contaminated by your use of it (such as a blush or hair product), you could ease your guilt over wasting it by giving it to a friend or sister who it better suits.
- Now, go through everything and clean the containers. Clean around any messy product lids with anti-bacterial wipes. Wipe around the necks of nail polish bottles with cotton balls soaked in nail polish remover. Clean your make-up brushes with conditioning shampoo or warm, soapy water, then leave to dry thoroughly. Sharpen your eyeliner and lip pencils to get rid of bacteria on the tips.
- Finally, pack everything away. Usually it is best to store everything together in the one place, but you may have a reason to store different things in different places. (If it's simply because you have too many products to store together, look at buying a bigger bag or questioning whether you need everything.) If you don't have a proper place or nice bag to store them in, buy one. Keep in mind that many products (such as skincare products and perfumes) are best stored in a dark place, not out on a dresser; that way they'll keep for longer. Aim to have your beauty products looking, well, "beautiful".
(images: Shandos Cleaver)