How To Store Your Makeup To Keep It Fresh
Unfortunately, the ingredients used to make most makeup products don't have an unlimited shelf-life. Yes, like the milk in your fridge, makeup has a freshness date. It isn't always easy to discover what it is, but knowing when it's time to pitch your makeup is an important part of good makeup maintenance. The law doesn't require makeup manufacturers to list expiration dates on their products, but most have batch codes that provide manufacturers with that information.
Since you can't decipher the code yourself, and the manufacturer probably won't tell you unless there's a recall of some sort, your best recourse for making sure you're using "fresh" makeup is to write down the date you bought it. You can write it right on the tube or jar, or keep the information on a spreadsheet or on a sheet of paper. Sure, the product may have been sitting on the retailer's shelve for a while, but this is still your best strategy for rotating out "old" makeup. These freshness guidelines apply to specific types of cosmetics:
- Cream eye shadow - 12 to 18 months
- Eye shadow powder - two years
- Eyeliner - 3 months
- Face Powder - two years
- Lip liner - one year
- Lipstick - one year
- Liquid foundation - one year
- Makeup brushes - Wash in warm, soapy water once a week
- Mascara - 3 months
- Sponges - Wash or replace weekly
Once the freshness date range has elapsed (based on your handy date of purchase reminder), pitch the product. You'll notice that products that come in close contact with your eye area have the shortest useful life. That's because experts believe they're the most likely to cause infections when they get old or dirty.
Keeping Cosmetics Clean
Using makeup that's beginning to deteriorate can cause infections and allergies like dermatitis. The same goes for using makeup that's dirty or bacteria laden. To help keep contamination to a minimum, always wash your hands before using makeup. It's also a good idea to wash or replace applicators like brushes, sponge wands, sponges and puffs every week or so. As an added precaution, consider storing your makeup in the fridge. It will last longer that way, and the cold will limit the growth of bacteria. Oh, and avoid using those "tester" cosmetics in the department store. They're often contaminated with germs from previous users.
Moisture Damage To Makeup
Moisture is the enemy of makeup. It encourages bacterial growth and can react in unexpected ways with the chemicals in cosmetics. By moisture we mean more than a wayward drop of water. The steam from your shower or sink is enough to cause problems. Here are some tips that will help you protect your cosmetics from moisture contamination:
- Close cosmetic organizers after every use.
- Avoid using cosmetics when your hands are wet.
- Store cosmetics in a dry (and preferably dark) location.
- If you apply your makeup in the bathroom after a shower, be sure to run the bathroom fan to vent steam as quickly as possible.
Keep Makeup Cool
The best place to store your makeup is in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. Heat, moisture and light can all shorten the life of your cosmetics by changing their consistency or altering their tints. The problem is that many cosmetic preparations are chemically fragile. We've recommended you keep makeup in the fridge, but even if you pass on this chilly approach, keep your makeup case away from hot lights, hot water pipes, and sunlight.
A Place For Everything
You makeup will only be effective if you can locate it when you need it. If you spend a lot of time trying to find your eye shadow or concealer in a jumble of tubes, compacts, bottles and brushes, you need a system. Cosmetics are often sold in relatively small containers that look pretty darned similar. The fact that they're small can be good news, though. It means you can corral them in a cosmetics organizer. We really like the idea of using office supply organizers to store cosmetics. Like cosmetics, many office supplies (like markers, pens and erasers) are small -- and round, too.
Even better, office desk organizers come in all shapes and sizes, from free standing multi-shelf desktop organizers to drawer organizers. They're also often less expensive than makeup specific carryalls and organizers. Another option is a craft organizer. Scrapbooking is such a big hobby these days, with lots of little doodads used as embellishments, that there are quite a few organizers around that will do double duty. They often have hinged lids, too. This makes it easier to transport craft items -- or makeup items.
Here are some storage tips you should keep in mind:
- Take an inventory of what you want to stow before you shop for an organizer or other storage system. That chubby mascara wand or eyelash curler may be a difficult fit for a standard organizer slot.
- Prefer organizers with lids. They will help keep light and moisture out. They'll also make transporting cosmetics easier.
- Make arrangements to store brushes upright. A good set of makeup brushes can be expensive. Protect your investment by storing them with the handles down and the bristles up. This may require a special countertop holder, or simply a decorative cup or glass.