We’ve recently experienced a burst of warm weather here in the NE. After weeks of dashing from car to house trying to avoid the frigid temperatures, it was nice to open the windows and let in some fresh air. But opening those windows also reminded me how dirty they’ve gotten over the winter. It brought back memories of my grandmother taking down all the heavy drapes in the living room to wash them at the first signs of Spring. There was a procedure to follow every year. Drapes and curtains came down, you got yelled at to clean your room, dust mops came out and grandma could be found hanging outside the second-story window cleaning the glass (daring and crazy old woman!). And now as an adult, I do the same thing…well my windows tilt in, and at least I THINK about taking down all the curtains to wash them….
But I digress. Spring is also the perfect time to give your make up bag and your face a good cleaning. Go through the basket in your bathroom, the drawer on your vanity and all the stuff in the bottom of your purse (scary, I know) and throw out anything that’s old, broken or unused.
Here are some general rules for how long to keep cosmetic items after they have been opened for the first time:
Mascara: Toss your mascara after 3 months. Mascara has the shortest life span of all make up because the risk of transferring bacteria back and forth from your eye into the mascara tube is so great. If your mascara starts to dry out before its 90 days is up, throw it away. Don’t add water or saliva to your mascara to rewet it. Doing so will only increase your chances of getting an eye infection.
Eye pencils: Eye pencils can be kept up to 2 years. To make sure you’re using a clean tip, and sharpen before each application.
Eye shadows: Keep your applicators clean, and your powder shadows will keep 2 years.
If you’ve had an eye infection, you’ll need to throw out all of the eye make-up and applicators you used from the time you developed symptoms. The virus or bacteria that caused the infection has probably taken up residence in your make up, so using those cosmetics again could cause you to develop another infection.
Lipsticks: You can stow your tube lipsticks and your lip pencils for 2 years. As with eye pencils, sharpen your lip pencils before each use. If your lipstick starts to smell ‘off’, toss it.
Blushes and powders: Discard your powder blushes and face powders after 2 years.
Think of your make up a bit like you do your food. If it smells weird, develops a film, or has a mold-green tint to it, it’s gone bad and needs to be tossed out.
Using clean brushes and sponges will help lengthen the life of your cosmetics. Be sure and wash or replace your applicators frequently.
When you open a cosmetic for the first time, write the date on the product. It will help you keep track of how long you’ve had the make-up so you’ll know when it’s time to throw it away.
Now that your make-up bag is good to go, time to switch the focus to your face. Weeks of exposure to cold air and dry indoor environments can leave your skin looking dull and lifeless. My personal favorite treatment (and one I think works the best/costs nothing) is to give your skin a good scrub down. Rinse your face with warm water. Take a terry cloth wash cloth and apply your favorite cleanser. Personally, I use good old-fashioned natural bar soap. But, depending on your skin type, you could also use ground oatmeal, yogurt, buttermilk, smashed banana or avocado. Whatever you choose, rub your face with the wash cloth using GENTLE circular motions. No need to try to remove a few layers of skin here. And do your entire face. Don’t forget your forehead and neck area. This process should take about five minutes. When you’re done, rinse thoroughly with warm water until all traces of cleanser are removed. Then splash with cold water a few times. You could follow with your favorite moisturizer, or I like to do a honey mask (apply honey to the face for ten minutes and rinse off). For a few hours after I do this facial spring cleaning, my skin looks blotchy and not exactly attractive – so do it at night or on a weekend. But the following day my skin looks AMAZING. Smooth, soft, even, tone. Such great results from such a simple process.
So when Spring finally hits your area, don’t forget to clean the windows, dump your make-up bag and scrub your skin!