When to Ditch Your Beauty Products

March 1, 2019

Just like that carton of milk in the fridge, your beauty products have expiration dates, so its really important to know when to ditch your beauty products. 

assorted makeup products

To avoid potential health issues associated with using old products, here are 11 tips to help you decide, what to keep, what to toss, and what could pose a risk to your health. 

Tip #1 When to Ditch Your Mascara

Eye makeup is especially vulnerable to bacteria, so start here when reviewing your makeup items for expiration dates.

Health risks: You use mascara near your eyes, it’s liquid — which tends to grow more bacteria — and you double dip every time you re-insert the brush into the tube, all of which increase the risk of eye infection.

When to replace: Mascara has the shortest shelf life of all beauty products and should be discarded three months from date of opening.

Tip #2 When to Lose Your Old Loofah

You might not think twice about this body scrubber tucked away in a corner of your shower — but you should.

Health risks: Some health risks are caused by beauty products that live in the shower, like loofahs, stem from the fact that they are constantly wet, which makes them breeding grounds for bacteria.

When to replace: If you notice any mold or discoloration on your loofah or similar beauty products for the bath, toss it (or them) immediately.

How to make it last longer: If you use a loofah or body brush, prevent health risks by washing it out thoroughly and then hanging it to dry. 

Tip #3 When to Kiss your Lip Gloss Goodbye

Lip gloss gets a lot of handling, especially if it comes in a pot that requires a fingertip dip to apply.

Health risks: Cold sores are one of the most prominent health risks associated with old or contaminated lip products. If you get a cold sore, toss whatever product you were using.

When to replace: Like mascara, lip gloss is a beauty product you double dip, so you should only keep it for about six months. You can also tell that lip gloss has passed its expiration date if it smells funny or you notice the colour changes. Keep lipsticks and pencils for a maximum of one year, and if they smell funny or you see mold, throw them away.

How to make it last longer: You can preserve the life of your lip gloss by applying it with a mini spatula and avoid sharing it with others. 

Tip #4 When to Dispose of Your Disposable Razor

Whether you use disposable razors or disposable cartridges that attach to a handle, the blades not only become dull but can also breed bacteria.

Health risks: Old, dull, and contaminated razors all pose a health risk in the form of red bumps, commonly called “razor bumps,” and other skin infections. You’re also more likely to nick yourself with an old razor.

When to replace: Razors should be replaced weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how often you use them and how they are stored. If your shaving products appear rusty or corroded, they definitely pose a health risk and should be thrown away.

How to make it last longer: Stretch out your razor blade’s usefulness by taking it out of the shower and letting it dry after each usage.

Tip #5 When to farewell your foundation

Many women spend a large percentage of their beauty products budget on foundations. Luckily, these products have fairly decent shelf lives before they hit their expiration dates.

Health risks: Within just months, foundation can start to grow bacteria that present health risks to your skin. Some analyses of old makeup have found traces of staphylococcus and streptococcus, both of which have been known to cause potentially serious infections. Strep, for example, can break down the superficial layers of your skin and get into your soft tissue and blood, which can lead to life-threatening conditions.

When to replace: If your foundation has separated or it feels thick and clumpy or thin and runny, it has passed its expiration date and needs to be replaced. Liquid foundation can last from six months to one year.

How to make it last longer: You can extend the life of your foundation by using clean hands, a sponge, or a brush to apply it. Also be sure to store it in a cool, dry place — not the bathroom.

Tip #6 When to sling your sunscreen 

You may be guilty of not using enough of this product or not using it often enough. Either way, you don’t want it hanging around after its effectiveness has passed.

Health risks: Sunscreen products won’t protect as well once they reach their expiration dates, putting you at risk for women’s health issues from premature ageing to the more serious skin cancer.

When to replace: Most sunscreens have expiration dates, which vary depending on the product’s ingredients and are printed on their labels or on the bottoms of the containers. Once these expiration dates have passed, you should replace the sunscreen.

How to make it last longer: To extend the life of sunscreen, store it in a cool, dry place.

Tip #7 When to rinse away your hair care

Because many hair care products contain alcohol as a preservative, you can worry less about the expiration dates of shampoos and other hair care than about other types of beauty products.

Health risks: Because you rinse them out, home hair care products don’t carry any major health risks, but they still may contain allergens that can irritate your skin and scalp.

When to replace: If your hair products look or smell funny, or if the last time you used it the “Rachel do” was on trend, it’s probably time to let them go.

How to make it last longer: Like other beauty products, hair care products will last longer if you store them in a cool, dry place.

Tip #8 When to nix your nail products

Whether you opt for the hottest look in nail colour or a clear shine, the polish you pick and the tools you use to keep your fingernails looking their best also need attention to avoid posing a health risk.

Health risks: Nail care products that have passed their expiration dates can spread bacterial and fungal infections, so pay attention to their shelf lives and look out for signs of spoilage, such as separation or cloudiness.

Dirty nail clippers, files, and other nail tools carry similar health risks, so sterilse your equipment regularly.

Keeping a separate set of files for your fingers and another set your your toes..

When to replace: Most nail polishes and other nail care products generally last a few years.

How to make it last longer: Store nail polishes in a cool, dry place, and make sure the lids are screwed on tightly. 

Nail clippers and files should be cleaned and sterilised regularly, even though you are the only one using them. If they look corroded or rusty, throw them away.

Tip #9 When to lose your loose powder

Powder has staying power — good news for your beauty products budget.

Health risks: Powdered beauty products contain the least amount of water of all makeup, so it’s harder for bacteria to grow on them. 

Less bacteria means fewer health risks. However, the brushes you use to apply the powder may carry dangerous bacteria (such as staph and strep).

When to replace: Loose compact powder, powder blush, and powder eye shadow all last for about 2 years.

How to make it last longer: Regular cleaning of the makeup brushes you use for this beauty product.

Tip #10 When to zap your zit cream

Whether chemist brands or prescription zit blasters, these hard-working health and beauty products don’t last forever.

Health risks: An expired acne treatment is not as effective as it was in its younger days. Plus, it poses health risks by exposing you to bacteria and other germs.

When to replace: Pay particularly close attention to the expiration dates on all acne products, and replace them promptly.

How to make it last longer: Store all acne treatments, from blemish creams to astringents, in a cool, dry place.

Tip #11 When to lose the liners

Unlike Mascara, eye pencils have a longer shelf life which is about a year.

Health risks: A recent study discovered that women who apply eyeliner on the inner eyelid are 30 percent are more at risk of contaminating the eye than those who choose not to. 

Experts warn that residue build-up can seriously damage the eyes – leading to infection, irritation and blurred vision.

When to replace: Old stubby pencils should be tossed out and replaced.

How to make it last longer: Store all pencils in a cool, dry place. 

Sharpen the pencil each time you use it. Yes it will be replaced a little quicker but your eyes are extremely important.

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