This week it’s time to take a look at your tired products in your bathroom (actually the list is so long that we’ll be revisiting this hard-working space again!).
Two general rules: 1) clear out products that are discolored, separated or have an unusual odor and 2) be aware of expiration dates. Many cosmetics have a PAO (period after opening) label, a number followed by the letter “M” and typically it’s 6, 12, 24 and 36. This indicates how many months after opening the product is good for. However, this is just a guide to follow and some products may expire either pre- or post- this date. Trust your eyes and nose!
The 5 items for this week include:
1. Toothbrushes: General guidelines are 3-4 months or when the bristles start to fray. Store your toothbrushes upright or in a plastic cup so they can dry out between uses. If you’ve been sick, some experts say to toss your toothbrush; others claim that you can soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or try a toothbrush sanitizer.
2. Creams: So many creams! Eye creams are good for 6 months from first application. Storing them inside the fridge can extend their shelf life. Facial moisturizers = 6-12 months; sunscreen= 1 year; body moisturizers= up to 2 years. Overall, pumps and tubes keep germs out more effectively than screw-top tubs that your fingers reach into. Lotions of all kind are best stored in cool and dry spots to extend their efficacy. And unopened products that are still sealed have a shelf life of 3-5 years. The “expiration clock” only starts ticking once you open your lotion/moisturizer/cream.
3. Bath toys: “Out with the old and in with the new” applies not just to kids’ toys but bath toys as well. Limit toys so they don’t dominate the bathroom and keep them in a plastic bin or basket. Check for mold or funky stuff growing at the bottom or even inside the squeaky ones.
4. Nail polish: Always store upright and in a cool and dark setting. This is a tricky one because there are no mandated shelf lives for nail treatments and yet general research suggests 18-24 months. However, definitely trust your eyes and nose as you can assess by the texture of the polish (is it thick, clumpy, gooey, difficult to apply?) Do make sure to dispose of nail polish properly. Remove the top and allow it to harden. Once it’s a solid you can safely put it in the trash. If you have a large collection of old nail polish, it’s best to take it to hazardous waste facility (and that goes for nail polish remover as well).
5. Eye make-up: Eye products are especially vulnerable to bacteria and mascara has the shortest shelf life (2-3 months) of all beauty products. Eye pencils last longer (1-2 years) and regular sharpening helps ensure a clean tip. If you get an eye infection, it’s best to clear out your eye make up and applicators you used from the time you developed the symptoms.
Thanks to unclutterer.com, Real Simple, Mayo Clinic and webmd