Not to disrespect Mother Nature (since we’ve just celebrated Earth Day and because it’s clear she may have a mood disorder) but I think spring should be penalized for lateness this year. But while there have been few signs yet of the season; it’s time to spring-clean your beauty stash.
Organizing your beauty inventory lets you assess what’s no longer working for you and what you need in order to face the new season beautifully. Some tips to get started:
Begin by going through the drawers, cupboards, makeup bags or wherever else you store cosmetics and toiletries. Look objectively at the bottles, jars and tubes and ask yourself if there’s anything you can toss. Each time I do this (most recently a few days ago), even I, a product pack rat, find at least two products to lose.
What to ditch? Anything past its expiration date or that you haven’t used for an age. Most cosmetic industry guidelines advise tossing mascara after three months, liquid eyeliner within six months, and liquid foundation, concealer and lipstick within a year.
If you feel guilty about disposing of a product that’s still good but just not right for you (and it’s not something that should be used by only one person for hygienic reasons, such as any makeup, or a jar you’ve dipped fingers in), offer it to a friend.
This is also a good time to wash makeup brushes, which in the rush of daily life often don’t get cleaned as frequently as they should. A makeup artist I know advises putting a small amount of cleanser (baby shampoo, mild liquid facial cleanser or castile soap) in the palm of your hand, adding a little water and swishing the brushes around. After washing, rinse thoroughly, reshape brushes and let dry for at least a day.
In addition to brushes, clean cosmetic lids, jars and bags, which tend to bear the battle scars of daily makeup application. Natural household cleaner or makeup-remover wipes work well to beautify the packaging of products that beautify you.
Now that you’ve sorted and cleaned; it’s time to figure out what to replace. In other words, the FUN part.
In addition to new versions of the mascaras, eye creams, etc., that you’ve dumped; ask yourself what you need both for the upcoming season and for long-term. Note: you don’t have to buy everything at once.
For example, for the season you’ll likely need a new sunscreen. While I hope you’re using at minimum an SPF 15 facial sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection year-round, for the warmer months that are (hopefully) coming you should upgrade to a minimum SPF 30 for your face and use a sunscreen for the body as well (sunscreens for the body tend to be thicker than their facial counterparts).
For your long-term needs, ask yourself if your daily skin-care products are still working for you. Is that moisturizer you’ve used faithfully since you were 32 still effective for your skin today? Do you have new issues, such as hyperpigmentation or loss of firmness that your old-faithful lotion isn’t addressing?
Make a list and head to your dermatologist or a skin-care counter for advice about the right products for your skin type. Note: I’m a fan of Sephora for this process. As its staff doesn’t work on commission for specific brands, I find the advice I receive there more objective than at department store beauty counters. Sephora is also usually generous with offering samples so you can try a new product before buying.
In addition to the essentials, make sure to buy yourself one product purely to get you in the mood for spring. This could be a pretty-in-pink lipstick (for a splurge, Rouge Dior Lipcolor in Pink Caprice is a beauty) or a new fragrance.
Another option is a spring-fresh hair product, such as the limited-edition WEN Spring Gardenia Green Tea Cleansing Conditioner. As I’ve written previously, WEN cleans hair without harsh stripping agents or sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. But don’t wait too long if you want to try it: Spring Gardenia Green Tea is available only until June.
I hope you’re now inspired to spring-clean your beauty stash. Even if Madame Nature isn’t yet cooperating, here’s to you having a lovely season!