you open a cosmetic product, itís subject to air and bacteria that
degrade the ingredients. Like food, cosmetics expire. And old
cosmetics are not only ineffective, but can actually cause skin and
eye problems. If you havenít gone through your cosmetics in a while,
itís time to do some serious spring cleaning to make sure your
makeup is as safe as possible.
Start by getting rid of anything you
know to be over a year old. (If you feel that certain,
itís probably a lot older than that!) Most cosmetics are safe up to
about 6 months after opening, 12 if theyíve been stored in a dark,
cool place and applied with clean tools (not fingers). Truly natural
cosmetics may have shorter expiration dates because they lack harsh
chemical preservatives. Be especially careful with mascara or liquid
eyeliner. Since theyíre applied very close to the eye, they should
be replaced every 3-6 months. Conjunctivitis just isnít worth it.
Donít forget to recycle the containers!
Now go through the rest of your
cosmetics and get rid of anything that has changed in smell,
texture, or color since you opened it. These changes indicate
that your moisturizer or eye cream has officially gone over to the
Whatís left should be relatively new.
Label these products with the approximate date or month that
you opened them, if you can remember. Getting into the habit of
labeling your cosmetics will make identifying expired products much
If youíre not in the habit of cleaning
your brushes regularly, now is a great time to give your tools a
through scrub in warm, soapy water. Make sure they are totally
dry before putting them away. Dirty brushes can spread bacteria
around your face and the cosmetics they come in contact with, so
they really should be cleaned at least every week or two. Also be
sure to scrub the drawer, case, or shelf your brushes and cosmetics
are stored in.
Finally, check your remaining
cosmetics for toxic ingredients at the
Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Since the cosmetics
industry is not regulated, suspected carcinogens, endocrine
disruptors, and irritants are extremely common among name brand and
generic products alike. (Check out this BeautyStaffs article on
cosmetics safety.) Get educated, then get rid of anything
youíre no longer comfortable using.
Your shelves might be looking a little
bare now. That means itís time to pick up new and safer cosmetics.
But if you threw a lot of cosmetics away just now, do keep in mind
that thereís only so much you can go through in six months and limit
your shopping accordingly.
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