As we approach the start of the new year, many of us take this time to purge the old so we can make room for the new, whether it be goals, attitude or just plain stuff. This is a time we tend to donate gently used clothing, furniture or anything else that would benefit someone else in need. We also tend to rid our closets (and life) of things we no longer need because they are used up or no good to us anymore. The same process applies to cosmetics and beauty products as these, like food, have a shelf life of their own. So when, you ask, is it time to say goodbye? Well it depends on the item. Now don’t be scared – let’s hold hands and do this together.
I know many of you are keeping old makeup or hair products around for the same reasons I am – one being money. You feel you spent x amount of dollars on a product and whether or not you used it, you feel you should keep it around, lingering in that linen closet, staring you down every time you open it. You need to think about cosmetics the same way you’re thinking about those clothes – if you haven’t worn that lipstick in a year – well the odds of you picking that up tomorrow are very low. There is something that doesn’t get you jazzed up about that item, whether it be the color, formula or maybe you just found something better. Why don’t you put it and yourself out of its misery and throw it away?
Most items that you use on your face should be gone within a year and a half (unless its mascara) but my rule of thumb is one year and you’re out. Seriously- why are you keeping it? For the one time you MIGHT use it? Odds are you won’t so get rid of it now. Any kind of lip product should be a year or less, especially if you were sick when you used it. Mascara that has been opened and used should only be kept around for three to four months. That’s usually no problem for me, because I love to change up my mascara often. Same goes for eyeliner. Think of all that bacteria its harboring! Hair products are much longer for obvious reasons but I still say if you have been looking at the bottle of hair serum for a year and are passing it over day after day, its taking up space. Time to say goodbye.
So what about your unused items that you haven’t touched but know you won’t? What about all those little mini samples you won’t use but just can’t throw away? Well there a few options. My first thought is return it if you can. Sephora has changed their return policy so that you now need a receipt in order to return an item, but other than that you shouldn’t have a problem. Ulta and Nordstrom both have time-tables on their return policies and Ulta will only let you exchange your items, not giving you your full refund (you might want to note this when purchasing there). Returning not an option? Give it away. If you have something you know you won’t wear because its not your color choice, give it away. Chances are your sister/cousin/mom/coworker might love that color and you will be saving them dollars. Better yet, plan a beauty swap with your girlfriends where you all bring gently used (and acceptable) products that you don’t want anymore but can’t bear to throw in the trash. Same goes for curling/straightening irons, etc that you have too many of or didn’t work out.
Hopefully this gives you the push to throw away or donate some of those items you have been eyeing in your makeup bag. I will be doing it too so strength in numbers!