From time to time we need to have a big old clear out of old junk, things that we’ve been holding onto for those “just in case” moments. Some of us find it easier to part with old things than others, which is a real blessing in disguise. I’ve been hanging onto a skirt for years with the hopes that a) it will come back into style again soon and b) that it will fit me again one day! But these items just cause clutter, the unnecessary use of space that could make way for something I can wear now.
But what about makeup and cosmetics? Aside from causing a little disorganisation here and there, holding onto old products can actually be harmful to your skin and at very best, just not do anything at all which hugely defeats the object of holding onto it.
There can be thousands of harmful bacteria lurking around in your make up or on your brushes and sponges that you don’t even know about and these bacteria can cause you to break out in very unwanted spots and redness or swelling. Remember though that this isn’t an implication of how clean you are or how clean your makeup is, but just a bit of food for thought about what happens to our makeup.
First, it is handled by our hands and fingers, and unless we wash our hands after doing everything and anything then bacteria will most likely be transferred to our makeup. We also sneeze and cough and without thinking about it, there we have it, more bacteria transferred. When it comes to lipstick and balms that we apply to our mouths we have to always remember that food particles may also be there and that could end up straight in our favourite pot of balm! The truth in it is simple, we clean our food utensils before we eat from them, we wash our cars when they get too dirty and we throw away shirts when they get stains on them. If you were to have a proper look in your makeup kit, and at the items you use for your skin cleansing and moisturising routines, how much of it can (or should) you clean or simply say goodbye to?
Foundation and Concealers
Any product that comes in a cream or liquid form that is designed to cover your face will have been formulated to be kind to your skin, especially as it has been designed to sit there all day! So it tends to have a longer life than other makeup in order for it to do its job properly. It doesn’t necessarily come cheap either, if you want quality you have to pay for quality, so, if you are anything like me, you want to squeeze every last drop out of it.
Whatever your skin type and whatever your preference in foundation, it is really important to make sure you aren’t holding on to this past its use by date. It can be tempting, especially when venturing into another shade or brand to keep this one just in case but remember to get rid of it straight away if the date has long gone.
Sometimes, they won’t say an exact use by date but will tell you how many months after opening it will be fit for use so you have to try and think back and definitely feed it to the trash if you can’t remember. After a certain amount of time, makeup goes ‘bad’ and you can tell by a few tell-tale things quite easily.
- The Smell – All foundations have their own distinctive scent to begin with when you open them up. Nothing too strong (or you wouldn’t be too happy to put it on your face!) but it is there, you probably don’t even notice it. After makeup has gone bad it can start to have a stronger smell that overpowers a little and that, you will definitely notice!
- The Texture – After time the texture of your foundation may change a little without being an indicator of if being past its use by date. As it is exposed to the air each day with applications, it is bound to change somewhat. But after it has gone bad, it may appear more clumpy or dry, which is a sign that you need to throw that foundation out!
- It Stops Working – This one be should be kind of obvious. But it will only present itself when you’re halfway through the day and you realise your face is slipping down to your neck. Ok, so it might not be that dramatic but old foundation does tend to lose all the good properties that hold it to your face and keep a stable and even colour throughout. If you notice any of these things happening with your foundation, check the date but don’t just rely on it. Keeping makeup in a warm environment can speed up this process so it may just be best to throw the old one out and invest in a new foundation that will keep you going.
Eyeliners and Mascaras
It should come as no shock that your eyes are your most delicate features and the skin surrounding them equally as sensitive and in need of TLC when it comes to makeup. When we apply makeup to our lash line, waterline or eyelashes it is so important that it is in date and useable. Old, borrowed and dried out liners and mascaras can harbour nasty bacteria that will eventually cause infections which can begin as something simple like slight redness and then increasing to soreness and inflammation.
Avoid this by getting rid of any mascaras that are older than 3 months or especially when you start to notice it has started to smell bad and gone clumpy. Your eyelashes and follicles produce natural oils and they can collect oils and dirt throughout the day just from going outside, this can then be transferred onto your mascara wand and then back into the tube ready for you to apply again. Doesn’t sound so good when you put it like that, does it!
Treat liquid eyeliners the same as you would your mascara and remember to replenish every 3-4 months and at the very latest when you start to notice a change in its consistency. As they are also in constant contact with your eyes, any bacteria can cause infections that you would rather avoid. Pencil eyeliners are a little better as they usually need sharpening for constant use, so you essentially get rid of the bad stuff before you use it. But if you have a used eyeliner that you haven’t picked up in quite some time, it is probably better the just start fresh with a new pencil and ensure you keep your eyes sparkling and infection free.
Lipstick and Lip Glosses
Balms and glosses have the same principle as eyeliners and mascaras, you constantly pump the wand in and out of the tube to apply your favourite shade to your lips each day, collecting bacteria from the mouth and then reapplying it to your lips again. So it is a good idea to say out with the old and in with the new when it comes to this type of makeup.
Lipsticks have a different make up to gloss and generally last longer so you can probably hold on to them for a year or so. But they don’t necessarily keep that long, especially if you have kept it in a warm room or maybe taken it on holiday and left it in the sun. You can usually tell from the texture if it is still good to use and to be honest, if it has softened too much or feels oily and slimy, it may just be time to get rid of it and go grab yourself a brand-new shade.
Having a good clear out of your makeup kit doesn’t just look good, but it feels good too, and once you get int to the habit of throwing out the old stuff when it is necessary you will even start to find a better routine with your products. You won’t feel the need to ration your lipstick or your mascara as you want to make sure you get the most use out of it so you don’t end up throwing half a tube away in a few months.
Makeup Brushes and Sponges
So, you’ve conquered the makeup side of things, but none of that is any good unless you have a good clean up or clear out of your make up brushes. As they can harbour more of that bacteria I mentioned earlier, you will only be putting it back onto your face or into your well-earned new makeup and you’ll be back to square one before you know it.
To prevent breakouts and irritation of the skin, you should be looking to change your brushes as often as you change your makeup but this can start to get expensive, so cleaning them is an option especially if you have forked out a pretty penny for a nice new set. When you opt to clean your brushes it should be to prevent them from getting clogged up with dirt and makeup and not because of that, If you leave your brushes, especially eyeshadow and foundation brushes to get to this point then it is most likely too late and you will need to kiss them goodbye. But if you can make a routine of cleaning your brushes every week or so then you can stay on top of it, keep makeup brushes in perfect shape and your face looking fantastic whenever you apply your foundation.
With sponges that are quite cheap to use, it is a great tip to buy them in bulk so that you can just buy new ones after a few applications But if you have invested in some decent beauty blenders then washing them each week will keep them fresh and bacteria free. Plus, no build-up of makeup which can eventually lead to your make up looking cakey if you carry on using them.
Cleansers and Moisturisers
Unlike makeup, skincare products may need changing up more or less frequently, not because of the use by date necessarily but because your skin care needs change with time. It can be hard to let go of a product you have been using for a long time, especially when you think it has been serving you well, but you may find that a little change may just do your face, skin, eyes and lips some good.
It can be a bit daunting to reach out for a new brand or a different type of moisturiser to what you are use to so getting some good advice on what works for your skin is a great place to start and also choosing samples that mean you don’t have to fork out straight away if you are unsure. If you notice a change in your skin such as it being oilier than it used to be, that isn’t necessarily a reason to ditch the moisturiser, it could be that you need to change your cleanser. Oily skin tends to create more moisture but can be controlled with a good skin care routine and if your cleanser is drying your skin out too much then you know its time to go try something new out and see if your skin improves.
This might be an odd one to put on the list of items in your makeup kit that need revamping. But tweezers aren’t like make up where they have a use by date, they just become worn after time. Tweezers with a lot of use can get blunt, dull or even misshapen over time. So even though you have your trusty pair to hand, when you start noticing that it is becoming harder or even more painful to pluck hairs, it may be time for a new pair.
If you have a good pair of tweezers you can grip and that can grip individual hairs, you shouldn’t find the need to replace them often if you look after them. Remember to cleanse them after use and if they start to lose their ability to pluck, look into a new pair that will stay with you for years. Xbrow Tweezers are a great option if you are on the look out for a new pair, they have great grip and a slanted tip for pinpoint accuracy when reaching for even the shortest eyebrow hair. If you are treating yourself to new makeup for your eyebrows, then having this handy little item in your kit will just reinforce how new and fantastic you can look.
If you are still faking it with your eyelashes, this tip should definitely make your list. Now, false eyelashes come in every shape and size you could possibly imagine and a lot of them can be bought in the accessory department of your favourite clothes store which means they are easily accessible and relatively cheap to buy. But you can spend a bit more on non-synthetic false lashes that last a few more wears than the synthetic ones.
You should be able to get two to three wears out of your normal set of false eyelashes, but this all depends on how you take care of them. They use glue to stick them to the lash line on your eyelid which can cause the lash base to rip if pulled away a bit more aggressively than you should. If you are able to peel them off gently then you shouldn’t need to replace them with every use, just use a little of your eye makeup cleanser and set them back in their case ready for next time.
For the non-synthetic false lashes, you should be able to clean them in the same way but just be more careful with them as they are far more delicate and you don’t want to lose the individual lashes from the base or band, that defeats the object of them, right?
With proper care you should be able to get over ten wears from your set of falsies, but signs that you need to get rid of the old and go out and buy some new ones are when they look misshapen, if you have used mascara on them and it has clumped together and if there is glue or any other adhesive residue left on them. Remember, you don’t want to put anything unclean next to or above your eye or anything that can cause damage to your existing eyelashes.
In with the New
If you’re having a bit of a spring clean of your skin care and cosmetics and want to go the whole way, then there are certainly new items you can incorporate into your routine without breaking the bank. You may just want to get rid of a few old habits and try something new or you may want to compare how your skin or eyelashes look with something different on them.
Lets look at false eyelashes as an example, you may have been wearing them for years, you may even swear by them and be unaware that there are other products out there that can do wonders for your eyelashes without having the inconvenience of applying glue to them every day and then taking them off every night. A great new product is Xlash Eyelash Serum which can be used daily and encourages growth deep inside the follicle. The best thing about an eyelash growth serum is you can use it with false eyelashes, eyelash extensions and mascara and it won’t disrupt your use or its purpose. This particular serum uses natural ingredients and is gentle to the skin around your eyelashes with antioxidant properties to help ward off any first signs of infection and redness.
Eyelash growth serums have become more and more popular in recent years as they take away the risk in getting longer eyelashes and if you are willing to wait a few weeks, you may even think its time to throw out the false eyelashes once and for all!
One thing I am terrible at throwing away is lipstick! I have so many shades of red now that it’s hard to keep up with which one I bought and when and to be honest with you, I don’t think I have even worn half of them since I purchased them. But it is about time I followed my own advice and kissed some of those rosy reds goodbye before they start to do more damage than good. If you find yourself in this same position but have started to feel the effects of older lipstick, you should start thinking about replacing a few of those shades with an intensive lip care balm that can be used after cleansing and keeps bacteria and infections at bay. All while soothing your lips and creating a smoother texture that you won’t even want to hide under a brightly coloured lipstick anymore!
Finding new products that you know will work for you can be hard at first, but every now and then you will come across a little gem that will soon become a staple in your skin care and makeup kits. Just be firm with yourself when it comes down to what goes and what stays, and you should be able to keep things decluttered and your makeup tools looking shiny and new.
If you can retain this discipline and follow these few pearls of wisdom, then by using only the best products for you with your skin care health in mind you will have the best looking and feeling skin, hair, lips and eyelashes for years to come!