I spent my teens in nothing but lip gloss. A brief summer job at a department store cosmetics counter won me a slew of eyeshadow, most of which I gave away or let expire. I breezed through my 20s with gloss, groomed eyebrows and the occassional application of undereye concealer or powder.
Then 30 happened. That year, I had my first child, and fluctuating hormones, sleepless nights, and sketchy eating habits made my skin go beserk. The makeup routine of my youth no longer cut it.
Fortunately, my time at the cosmetics counter put me on a good skincare rountine. I wash, tone and moisturize twice a day. Unfortunately, that same experience made me a skincare junkie. I'm willing to try just about anything, and the words "gift with purchase" are very difficult for me to ignore. Once I decided to jump on the makeup bandwagon, the addiction took hold. Emails from Sephora inevitably ended in an online order.
The binge resulted in an overwhelming collection of products. I figured out how to put on my makeup in about five minutes (explanation to come in Part 3), and I was generally pleased.
Yet, I was not that happy with my natural complexion. I experienced occasional breakouts, and the zits left dark spots that took months to fade.
I opened my medicine cabinet one day and looked at my skincare and makeup. I was unsure of when some of them were purchased. That's when the epiphany hit:
Was I making my skin worse by using too many products and/or expired products? The miracle of modern technology known as Google led me to a few articles that confirmed my suspicions. Makeup can grow bacteria if it's kept too long. I've never known the "b" word to be associated with anything good, so I went about the business of cleaning out my cosmetics.
I pulled out my Caboodle and stash of cosmetics bags. I'm a child of the 80s, so yes, I still have a Caboodle. It's blue with a purple clasp and pull-out tray; I convinced my mom to buy it for me because it was on clearance at Target.
But, I digress. Here's how I spent five minutes:
Samples and unflattering free gifts were the first to go. I have sensitive combination skin, so anything uncomplementary to that hit the trash. BB cream and foundations labeled "oyster bisque" were next out the door. My profile pic should tell you why those don't work. I also tossed samples of high-priced products. There's no need to fall in love with anything I can't afford to buy when the sample runs out.
Then I tackled my products in rotation and got rid of anything that expired. I've heard so many things about how long you should keep makeup, so this was tricky. In general, mascara is a three-month deal. I value my eyesight, so I adhere to this one. Most foundations last about a year, some powders can go for two. Eye and lip liners, when sharpened from time to time, can last about three years. If you're like me, and you don't remember when you bought it, it's probably a good idea to throw it out. And if it smells funny, that's a definite toss.
During one of my many trips to Sephora, a makeup artist told me to pay attention to product labels. Some manufacturers indicate how long to keep a product with this tiny diagram:
If you have extra time, you can use those little round stickers to label products. I write down the date that I open it so that I know how long it takes me to use something completely. And I know exactly when to toss it if there's any left when that window expires.
So, how's my skin doing? I'll give you an update in Part 2!
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