Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When to Toss Your Old Makeup

As we move from the summer to the fall, and switch out our skincare and makeup products to accommodate the changing season, this is the perfect time toss out expired makeup. Expired makeup can harbor all sorts of bacteria, and can cause eye infections (such as Conjunctivitis), skin irritations and rashes, and from which you can catch a cold or flu.

Therefore, if you are hoarding old makeup, it's time to purge! I have been in the process of going through all of my drawers, and so far I am only part way through my lipsticks and lip glosses, and the picture above represents the first round of products that I have just tossed.

If you long ago tossed the box, or can no longer read the expiration date on the label, then you must rely on your sense of smell and will need to note any changes in texture. If the product smells funny or rancid, or if the consistency and texture have changed– then it's time to throw it away. Many products feature a small label with an open jar symbol with a numeric code to indicate how long it will last after opening. Some people use a permanent marker to write the date that they opened the product to know precisely when to toss it out. However, do not strictly depend upon the label, because products can turn before they are supposed to. If this happens far sooner than it should, and you suspect that you purchased a nearly expired product, then bring it back to exchange it.

*When to Toss:
Concealers: 1-1 1/2 years
Cream eyeshadows and cream blushes: 1-1 1/2 years
Eyeliner pencils: 2 years
Lipsticks: 2 years
Lip gloss: 1 1/2-2 years
Lip Liner: 2 years
Liquid and cream foundations: 1-1 1/2 years
Liquid and gel eyeliners: 3 months
Mascara: 3 months
Powder blush, bronzers, eyeshadows and highlighters: 2 years

Once I have identified which products are destined for the trash bin, I scoop out any remaining product, clean up the packaging, and separate out the recyclable materials, and then recycle everything that can be recycled. This is a far more sustainable approach than simply tossing everything in the garbage since most of these materials are recyclable, and shouldn't end up in the landfill.

I have a lot more makeup to sort through, but it was quite cathartic to eliminate these lip products. It also serves to declutter my cabinets and drawers, and gives me a far better sense of what I have and what I am likely to use.

When was the last time that you tossed out old makeup?

*When to Toss dates are not intended as a substitute for the smell and consistency test. Instead, it adheres to most of the suggested dates from the companies and experts. Notwithstanding mascaras, which I always throw away several months after opening, I have many lipsticks and lip liners that are far older than the recommended discard age. I simply pay a lot of attention to smell and consistency. Also I corrected the lipstick and lip liner dates to two years as I had mistakenly written 1 year for each, when I had intended write two years instead.

All views expressed are categorically my own.
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  1. Eyeliner pencils are good for two years, but lipstick, only one? LOL! I don't know where you got this 'timeline' from, but frankly, it's just not true.

    It makes much more sense to get rid of something you use near your eye (even though you can sharpen it and get an unpolluted new point.) I've had lipstick for years, and my first one I kept from my childhood is over 20 years old. And it has no odor at all and still applies fine (although I don't use the same color as I did at age 12!) Generally speaking, you toss mascara after several months, and perhaps eye pencil if it's just a roll up and not one you can use a sharpener on. But most cosmetics have preservatives, and before the current mania to get women to toss stuff out and buy MORE stuff, women were using cosmetics til they ran out of the product or out of style. There's zero reason to throw anything (save mascara or eye liner) out if it seems good. The only difference is with 'natural' products - no preservatives, or odd ones. You can also sterilize cosmetics with alcohol.

    1. Hi BlairGirl,

      I agree with you that there is a certain level of built-in product obsolescence in the discard-by dates that manufacturers propose. I also think that they feel the necessity to alert consumers in the event that they get sick from products that are used beyond their shelf-life. That said, I have had mainstream lipsticks (with plenty of preservatives, that have gone rancid, or have shifted in their consistency long before the discard by date. On the other hand, like you, I have plenty of lipsticks that are quite a few years old that are just fine for use. The important point, and the takeaway from this feature, is to pay attention to any changes in smell and consistency, and to use common sense about when to throw away the products that we use.

      I definitely think that eye liners, which can be sharpened and sterilized can be safer to keep for longer periods of time, but I agree that products used on the eyes can present greater risks, and one case of Conjuntivitis is enough reason to discard them! Mascaras, on the other hand, really should be tossed after a few months since they harbor so much bacteria.

      The products that I show in the picture above were in large part quite a few years old, though some were not, and all of them had either changed consistency, or they smelled rancid– so there was no way that I was going to use them any longer.

      I mistakenly wrote 1 year for the lipsticks and lip liners when I meant to write 2 years for both, but even then some will be perfectly fine beyond that date. Others, however, will not. No preservatives is certainly a factor, but as previously noted I have had products formulated with preservatives turn before their time.

  2. I can't bring myself to toss my lipsticks. Or the more collectible among my eyeshadow palettes. Mascaras and eyeliners, yes, and non-pump foundations. But the rest, I cannot bear to part with!

    1. I know, lipsticks are a tough one for me as well. I only tend to toss mine when they start to smell weird and the consistency changes. All of the lipsticks and lip glosses in this photo were quite old, and they had become rancid or the texture changed. I pretty much do the same with everything else except for mascara– which I toss out after 3-4 months.

  3. I recently went through and cleaned out a bunch of stuff that needed to go. I don't much go by code dates on makeup, I trust my nose and my sense of any changes in texture or performance to know whether or not something is ready to go. :)

    1. I don't go by the codes very often either, I often can't remember when I opened things anyway. I do the nose and texture test as well since some things last longer than their labels suggest, and sadly some turn before they should.

  4. When I knew we were moving I went through everything and did some major tossing. Then I did it again as I was packing. It did feel good to get rid of things that I'd saved for ever so long. I'm still finding items now as I go to use them that should have gone the first time around.

    1. I remember when you were purging before your move, and am not surprised that you are still finding things to purge. Once you start that process, it is really quite easy to dump things that you either know you won't use, or that you realize you shouldn't;t be using any more. It is so cathartic on the one hand, and on the other it makes me sick to see things that I spent money on ending up in the garbage!

  5. I tossed put so much makeup in the past 6 months as I cleaned out vanities and drawers before moving. Now I'm at it again as I finish unpacking!

    1. How cathartic, Stacie! As beauty bloggers we collect so many things that we will never get around to using, and therefore so many things go bad before we can get to them. On the one hand it breaks my heart to toss out so many things, but they are no longer usable– so at least I can feel good about recycling the packaging!

  6. This is such a helpful post, especially for shameless hoarders like me!

    1. Thanks, Babi! Well, shamelessly hoarding and beauty blogging go hand in hand!


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