When Should You Ditch Those Beauty Products?
We know when to toss food based on expiration dates, and that our closets need a through going-over during spring cleaning. But when it comes to refreshing our makeup bags and toiletry kits, it seems we're at a bit of a loss. We try, on a somewhat regular basis, to go through it all and throw away bronzers we haven't worn in ages, that eyeshadow we bought on a whim at Sephora, the blue tube of mascara that our adventurous self picked up during a moment of vowing to try new things. But it's hard to part with perfectly good beauty products. (Plus, what happens when you throw away the nude lip stain and then find out the next day that it's the It color of the moment?) Paring down and cleaning house are commendable actions, but before you whittle your makeup bag down to nothing, keep in mind that most products can last years, not just months. We spoke with NARS’ Executive Director of Marketing Manami Kuwamura for the low-down on our treasure trove of products. Read on to see what she has to say about ditching the goods.
ES: How often do the basic makeup items last? Do they have a shelf life or is it ok to keep them until they're gone?
Manami Kuwamura: Product shelf life, in general, is at least three years; in addition, cosmetics are designed to be durable for an extended time after opening. NARS products [for example] are formulated to ensure that they are safe to use during both and to have durability which far exceeds the normal time it would take to use the product up.
ES: Are there any beauty tricks to making products last longer?
MK: To maximize durability, it is best to keep them at room temperature and fully closed. Placing under direct sunlight or in extremely hot and humid conditions is not recommended.
ES: What's the danger in using expired items (if there is a danger)?
MK: With correct storage and handling, cosmetics products should remain in good condition for the expected life [of three years]. However, if a product discolors, has an odor that seems off, or you notice a change in texture, it should be discarded immediately as it could be a risk to someone whose skin is not healthy (sunburnt, cut or other skin condition).
ES: What about makeup brushes and tools? Will these last a lifetime if they're properly cared for?
MK: Makeup brushes can be cleaned with a mild face wash. Remove excess water and dry flat on a clean cloth or paper towel. Over time and with use, brushes wear out and need to be replaced.
ES: Do higher quality products last longer than drug store brands?
MK: As for durability of the products in different retail categories, we can only comment on our products. Please be assured, regardless of price, all cosmetics marketed in the US are regulated by the FDA and are all held to the same standards.
As you go through your products, make sure you're not keeping anything that truly doesn't suit you. Your makeup routine will be far easier if you're not fishing around for the same three items. One piece of makeup we can't live without? Mascara. Click through the slideshow to find one that will get your lashes the star appeal you deserve.
By Stacey Gawronski