Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Resolution #2: Get Organized

I am an organized person in my professional life. At home, I tend to go for a more relaxed system of making piles and dealing with things later. And because of my makeup blog, I have tons of beauty products stuffed in what seems like a mountain of cosmetic cases.

The start of the new year is a great time to do things we overlook, like throwing out old makeup, cleaning brushes, and reorganizing our cases. Here are some pointers that will help.
  1. Store your goods correctly. While it may be convenient, the worst place to store makeup is on your bathroom counter. Bathrooms have warm, humid air that can destroy all those minerals, oils, powders, and other crucial ingredients in your favorite products. Instead, keep your cosmetics in a makeup case or some place cool and dark and keep it out of extreme environments.
  2. Keep it clean. To extend the life of your tools, you should clean them regularly. Experts recommend cleaning synthetic bristle brushes every couple of days and natural bristle brushes once a month. (Yikes! I am so guilty of having dirty brushes--I only do mine every few months. Oops!) To clean your brushes, apply a makeup remover, brush cleaner, or baby shampoo to the bristles, wipe the brush on a paper towel, run the brush under water to clean it out, reshape the bristles, and let it air dry. Viola! All clean and ready to go.
  3. Keep it sharp. If you really love your current eyeliner or lipliner, invest in a good quality sharpener to keep your pencils from getting gnawed. If the tip of your product is really soft, try chilling it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before you sharpen it.
  4. When in doubt, throw it out. Makeup is perishable, and if you think your stuff is past its prime (i.e., if your nail color is milky, if your foundation smells off), the best bet is to throw it out and buy new stuff. See below for more tips on this...
How old is too old?
Ok, here's a confession: I keep beauty products forever. I don't know why, but I always feel guilty throwing out unused make-up. Consequently, my makeup kit is always littered with old products I'll never (or should never) use again. I think I still have a few tubes of discontinued lipstick lying around--eek!

If you're like me, you need to read this handy-dandy reference to help figure out when you should toss out your old cosmetics. Here are the shelf life guidelines for your favorite products:
  • Mascara: 3 to 6 months. Mascara can easily get contaminated with bacteria, so it's best to buy this staple several times a year.
  • Moisturizer: 3 months to a year. Manufacturers often include an expiration date on moisturizer, so it's best to heed their recommendations.
  • Foundation: one year. If liquid foundation starts to change color or if it takes on an "off" smell (yuck!), throw it!
  • Powder: two years. It can last longer, but it tends to dry out.
  • Eyeshadow: powered shadow can last up to three years; cream shadows only last about a year.
  • Eyeliner and lipliner: up to two years. Sharpening these products helps to discourage bacterial growth.
  • Lipstick: two years. If it dries out, it's time for a new shade!
  • Lipgloss: 18 months to 2 years.
  • Perfume: up to 2 years. To keep them lasting longer, store them in the fridge or away from direct sunlight.

For all products, be sure you don't share with your friends, use on broken or infected skin (ick!), and make sure you take good care of your brushes.

I don't know about you, but I think I have a lot of purging to do. Oh well!

Tomorrow: Take your vitamins (and minerals!).

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