also available at:

Toss Or Keep: The Ultimate Guide To Decluttering Your Makeup And Skincare Collection

So you know just when it’s time to throw out your beauty products.

With beauty brands launching new products every where you look, it’s hard to fight the temptation of buying a new lipstick or eyeliner every time you go (window) shopping. And over time, it’s only natural for you to have amassed a large amount of beauty products. Before you know it, you can hardly keep track of when you bought what, let alone when to throw what out. Before you start lining your eyes with an eye pencil you found at the bottom of your favourite handbag last season, or start moisturising your skin with a face cream that resurfaced while you were clearing out an old travel kit, here’s what you need to know about the lifespan of your skincare and makeup products:

General Rules

If a moisturiser that you forgot about for months have changed in colour, texture and scent, these are all signs that they should be thrown out. If you look at the packaging of most beauty products, they come with a label which might read “6M”, “9M” or “12M” which reflects the amount of time that they stay fresh and viable once opened. So if a product’s label reads “6M”, it means that once you’ve opened it, you should finish using it in six months and toss it after.

Beyond the fact that products might start to degrade and not be as effective as they were meant to be if you use them past this date, there’s also the risk that these products might be contaminated. In that case, you’re wasting all that effort it takes to layer on multiple products, and perhaps even risk the possibility of getting an allergic reaction or inflammation should the products really be contaminated.

Plus, any product that hasn’t been closed tightly, i.e. has been exposed to the air (and more importantly, the moisture in our air), should be tossed. This is especially so for products that have a high water content because, as we all know it, moisture provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. On the other hand, products that are in powder form tend to be able to last longer than those in a liquid form.

Another thing to look out for is if the products you have are “paraben-free”. Often used as a preservative to prolong the freshness of the product, parabens have racked up a bad rep for itself amongst the clean beauty advocates as they have the potential to cause skin irritation for some people. At such, many beauty companies have jumped on the clean beauty bandwagon, eliminating parabens from their formulas, which can affect on how long their products can stay fresh. So if you support the clean beauty movement, be sure to keep track of your beauty products so as to make sure you use them up before they start getting contaminated.

That said, here’s a rough guide of how long you should be using certain beauty products before you toss them out.

Read more on the next page.