Are your brushes due for an update?
If you're like most people, you only think about your makeup bag when you're digging through it for your favorite lipstick. What may seem like a small part of your day could be affecting you more than you think. Makeup that is contaminated, past its expiration date, or just plain outdated can actually compromise your look and even cause irritation. Don't worry—you don't have to throw everything out and buy all new makeup products but it may be time to look more closely at your stock. A few tips can help you clean out your bag, refresh your makeup, and give you a chance to upgrade some of your most important tools.
Keep or Toss?
Just like your favorite fruit salad, makeup has an expiration date. That's because your makeup is made of ingredients that over time can deteriorate, separate, and become contaminated, rendering the makeup less effective than it used to be. Expired foundation won't apply as smoothly; expired mascara can transfer bacteria to your sensitive eyes; even expired powder products can look cakey and dry. If there's no expiration date printed on your products, follow this general guide for how long your new makeup products should last. Be aware that expiration dates vary and your products may not follow these rules exactly—use your best judgment and toss anything that looks suspicious.
- Mascara may expire after three to six months. Expired mascara will become dry and difficult to apply.
- Foundation typically lasts between a year and eighteen months, although exact times will vary. Watch for separation between oil and pigment—a clear sign it's past its prime.
- Powder products (think eyeshadow, blush, and translucent powder) may last between one and two years. Throw out any product that contains visible mold.
- Natural products, such as those produced without preservatives, usually last for three to six months. Improve longevity by storing them in your fridge.
- Lipstick is one of the longest-lasting products, with a typical shelf life of around two years. Don't use lipstick if you notice a change in texture or smell.
You use your makeup bag every day, so it might be time to give it a little love. By keeping your bag and tools clean, you can avoid the transfer of bacteria and keep your products fresh for longer. Some tasks need to be done once a week, but an overall clean sweep of your makeup bag and cosmetics drawer only needs to happen monthly.
One of the most important ways to keep your makeup fresh and your tools clean is to wash your makeup brushes weekly. There are plenty of mats, soaps, and other tools marketed specifically for this task, but you only need warm water, a towel, and some mild baby shampoo, such as Johnson's Baby Shampoo. Wet each brush and then pour a dime-sized amount of baby shampoo into your palm. Swish the brush around your palm in a circular motion until the pigment is completely removed and rinse as needed. Dry overnight on a towel or store upright in a brush organizer like the Daylogic Expandable Beauty Organizer.
Cleaning your makeup tools should also be a weekly task. Your tweezers and eyelash curlers can transfer bacteria and cause ingrown hairs or even eye infections when not cleaned regularly. Just wet a cotton round with a little rubbing alcohol and do a quick swipe of your tools to keep them fresh. Once a month, take all of your makeup out of your bag and wipe down the case with a disinfecting wipe. Inspect your products and get rid of anything that has expired, started to separate, or changed in texture or smell.
Disposable products used in makeup application and removal—items like cotton swabs, Q-tips, and tissues—have to be replaced regularly. Buying in bulk is one way to keep costs down. Go online or use the Rite Aid Pharmacy app to access the Load2Card tool and store coupons on your wellness+ with Plenti card.
Time to Upgrade
After washing, if you notice your brushes don't bounce back to their previous shape, or that they're shedding, it's time to upgrade your tools. When it comes to new makeup products, a fresh set of makeup brushes is one of the best investments you can make. Look for brushes that are soft and have sturdy handles (like the B4Y Bamboo Smoky Eye Brush Set for eyeshadow) and be sure you purchase the right brushes for different applications. An all-over face brush is perfect for a finishing dust of translucent powder, while a stipple brush works better for applying liquid foundation.
Brushes may be the obvious culprit, but it's important to keep all of your tools in good, clean condition. Eyelash curlers that are missing their protective pad can seriously damage eyelashes, for example, and an old makeup bag can fray brushes and cross-contaminate pigments. At least once a year, examine your products and tools and start new when necessary.
Your makeup works hard for you. Make sure that you return the favor by taking care of the products and tools you love. Doing so keeps your face fresh and healthy and even extends the lives of all your favorites. Ultimately, a few extra minutes of TLC can give you months of flawless wear.
By Jae Curtis