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When Should You Toss Beauty Products?

When Should You Toss Beauty Products?

Jennifer Blevins | Divine Caroline

January 13, 2011

In a previous life, I was a cosmetics junkie. As a sales representative and a makeup artist for companies like Hard Candy, Prescriptives, Estée Lauder, Benefit, and Lancôme, I brought home more free makeup and skincare products than I could possibly use.

Every available drawer and cabinet in my apartment was brimming with travel-size mascaras, lip glosses, lipsticks, day creams, night creams, cleansers, full-size bottles of perfume … the amount was staggering. My fiancé used to get upset because I had taken over every last space (though he was secretly hooked on the plethora of foaming washes and mud masks he had at his fingertips). Even if a color wasn’t a great shade for me, I’d mix it with something until it was perfect. Anything I didn’t use, I gave to family and friends.

Like most women, I tend to hold on to products as long as I can, saving that last nub of lipstick or those few remaining crumbles of bronzer left shaking around inside the compact because “I really might use it someday.” I’ve always had a hard time throwing products out, and apparently, I’m not alone.

Sara Stern, the director of cosmetics at Debenhams department store in London, conducted a survey in February 2010 and found that more than 68 percent of the women reported replacing makeup only when they’re about to run out. Makeup does have a shelf life, and if you’re brave enough to use something that’s past its prime, you may be putting your skin―or, worse, your health―at risk.

Here’s a rundown of when to let it go, how to make it last, and what can stick around for a long while. (Yes, there’s at least one item that really may last forever.)

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