I LOVE beauty products. Makeup, body washes, lotions, potions, body sprays, scented candles, you name it! I love them all. But I have an entire linen closet of doom that is filled to the brim with various products, and what do I use on a day-to-day basis? A comb, a bar of plain soap, and some moisturizer. That’s crazy.
Here are some inherent problems with collecting beauty products:
- They’re fairly small items, so it’s easy to justify storing them. It’s true, 50 eyeliners only take up a small percentage of space in a drawer, but do you really NEED 50 eyeliners?
- Any given product has a shelf life of between 90 days and several years. How old are those eyeliners, anyway? As they expire, products lose their effectiveness, but can also spread (or cause!) infection. Gross.
- They’re expensive! I find it’s often difficult to get rid of things upon which I spent absurd amounts of money. But how useful is that? The money is already gone, and I’m not using the product anyway. Let go of the guilt, and quit buying more.
This weekend I decided to tackle my beauty product collection and come up with some solutions to these problems.
- Embrace the space. An empty drawer is a happy drawer. Nobody needs 50 eyeliners, even if they technically fit in a drawer. Is there everyday clutter on the counter that could be stored instead?
- Most of my products were old. I’ve listed the average shelf life for different things below. If your stuff is old and gross, toss it. No need to give yourself pinkeye.
- Things you can do to justify the cost, instead of throwing useful items straight in the garbage:
- Give them to someone who will use them. Some women’s shelters will accept donations of unopened products. Body sprays and other items that don’t come into contact with your actual skin are easy to give away to friends or family. I put a free sign on a box of hardly used products in front of my house. Anything that was still there at the end of the day is thrown in the garbage.
- Give yourself a strict timeline to use up your products. I’ve given myself 30 days to go through some of my items before I have to toss them. If it’s a bath or shower product (soap, body wash, etc), only continue using it if you LOVE it. If it’s greasy or smells weird, toss it. It’s much easier to justify tossing something once it’s all slimy from the shower.
- Google alternative uses for bath products. For example, I shave with extra lotions I have laying around instead of buying shaving gel (But, I was using plain soap before, so my shaving routine is pretty basic). I have a ton of bath bombs from Lush, and I found an interesting list of alternative uses for them, since I rarely take baths. Check it out at your own risk.
- Work on breaking the habit altogether! Now that I don’t need a full face of makeup every day, I’m experimenting with lighter looks and routines that don’t involve foundation and false lashes. Eventually, I’d like to even try a “no-poo” method of cleansing my hair, and avoid buying shampoo. Unleash your inner beauty!
Beauty Product Shelf-Life:
I found this handy website where you can enter the code of a specific product and it will tell you whether or not it’s expired. I haven’t personally tested it, but if you’re on the fence about whether or not something is still good, you can try it out here. Apparently, the FDA only requires expiration date labeling on “drugs” (sunscreen, acne treatments, dandruff shampoo etc) but the EU requires one on products that have definitive expiration dates before 30 months. For a more detailed list of products, click here or here. When in doubt, throw it out!
Eyeshadow: cream based shadows, 1 year. Powder, up to 2 years.
Eyeliner: Between 1 and 3 years. Some sources say eyeliner can last up to 5 years. But if you’re hanging onto eyeliner for that long, are you really even using it?
Mascara: 4 months (Surprise! I know your mascara is older than that)
Lipstick and lip gloss: between 1 and 4 years. If it looks/smells questionable, toss it.
Nail Polish: 1 year.
Foundation and concealers: 1 to 2 years.
Powder and blush: 2 years.
Alcohol based hair products: 3 to 5 years.
Bar soap: up to 3 years.
Shaving cream and deoderant: up to 2 years.
Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel: up to 3 years.
Don’t worry, I will be posting the before/after of my linen closet of doom once it’s finished. I broke several of my own “de-cluttering with kids” rules while trying to get through it. Learn from my mistakes!