In this economy, tossing out beauty products that aren’t used to the last drop can seem wasteful. But using products that are past their prime could be a waste of time or even lead to an infection, according to dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Beer. Here’s how to know what should be tossed and how to keep the rest of your stuff intact.
Pay attention to expiration dates. “As soon as you open a package, the preservatives start to break down,” says Cargo national makeup artist Annesley Broadhead. “By the time the expiry date rolls around, the preservatives are gone, so your products could be crawling with bacteria.” Adds Beer, “When products begin to break down, it can cause the skin to get irritated or, worse, bacterial and fungal infections.”
All beauty products are required to have a PAO symbol (Period After Opening) symbol that looks like a little jar with a number in it. This tells you how long the product is good for after you open it. For the forgetful among us, >Cargo’s Classic Lip Gloss with Timestrip Technology features a nifty indicator that you pop into the top of the gloss and it’ll count down the days until it expires.
Do a sniff & smell test. If you can’t find the PAO symbol or are still unsure, Beer advises you to inspect the product in question carefully. If the color or consistency has changed or it has a funky smell, toss it pronto.
Prevent premature spoiling by always using clean hands when you dip into any cream or makeup product. If you use makeup brushes, be sure to clean them weekly with a gentle facial cleanser. Sharpen eye and lip pencils after every use to get rid of germy gunk.
Screw the lid on tight. Active ingredients can start to deteriorate when exposed to air so make sure you close them tightly when you are done using them. If the active ingredients are weakened, your product will be less effective.
Don’t share products. It may seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of people still share their glosses and mascaras with their BFF’s. Remember that cold sore your friend had last week? It can be yours tomorrow if you lend her your gloss.