Stop what you’re doing and go open your beauty cabinet. Have you spotted the “going out” red lipstick you’ve had since that Halloween party in university and the blue eye shadow you bought a few years ago when Vogue told you it was back in style? Count how many skincare products you’ve been hoarding to try “someday.” We’ll wait.
Did you know the average shelf life of lipstick is just one year? Or that your powders can sit for just two years before being tossed? How about your moisturizer? Try less than a year for an opened bottle (extend this to two if you haven’t cracked the seal).
To find out more about how long to keep our beloved natural products and when to toss them, we turned to Ingrid Doucet, co-owner of the online green beauty e-tailer Clementine Fields. A former actress, Doucet made the switch to natural beauty products after suffering some health issues. When she couldn’t find the natural beauty products she wanted, she decided to open an online boutique so that she and others could order them more easily. She carries select lines based on extensive research, personal success, and customer requests.
If we’re being honest, we’re among those people that have a big bag of “just in case” makeup: the bright red lipstick and blue eye shadow we might need “someday.” Why is that not the best idea from the perspective of makeup going bad?
I get it. We might need it for a special party (or Halloween even!) but the longer a product sits in your makeup bag the more it starts to break down and we don’t want to use anything on our skin that contains bacteria. And because natural products don’t have the preservatives that conventional ones do, it’s even more important to keep an eye on expiration dates and/or when the product was purchased. My general rule is that natural beauty products should be replaced after 3-6 months, depending on the product.
Is there any way to make some of our products last a little longer?
Keeping natural products in a cool environment is important. Heat is always more damaging than cold. In fact a lot of natural products do well in the fridge, like eye creams or toners. Washing brushes is very important, I try to wash mine every week.
A lot of natural makeup is more expensive, which is actually a good thing. Why? Because the products are made with better ingredients and in smaller batches. Therefore you might be buying less products which means you will using them more often and might not need to be concerned about keeping them fresher longer. [This is preferable to] having a lot of conventional products sitting around and not being used as much.
How strict should we be about following that little jar icon on the bottom of our makeup that indicates the number of months we should keep it before tossing?
I think it’s a good idea to pay attention to expiration dates. That said, you can usually tell by the scent and texture of a product if it is starting to turn.
Any hacks for actually remembering when we bought each product so we can remember when to throw it out?
A lot of brands have expiration dates on their products and they stand behind the efficacy and importance of the fresh and beautiful ingredients they use. I think it’s important to pay attention to those. Or just write the date of when you bought the product on a little circular sticker and place it on the product. You can buy those labels at Staples or other stationary stores.
Are there any ways to tell if a product is past its prime before its expiry date? Can you give us a few tips?
There are a few things to look out for. I find the scent can change if a product is starting to expire. Also look for change in colour, texture, and taste.
Do all-natural makeup products have a longer or shorter shelf life than their chemical packed counterparts?
I think we all know the answer is shorter. But we don’t have to look at that as a bad thing. It means what you are putting on your skin (if you buy natural) is made from cleaner and fresher ingredients. I can compare it to something like bread. I can buy the conventional white bread that is in the bread aisle at the supermarket or I can buy the artisan bread from the farmer’s market. We know which is going to go bad first but which loaf nourished our insides and was made with love and care? Of course the artisan bread. Our bodies are precious, we want to take care of them on the inside and outside.
You can shop Clementine Fields here.