Your cosmetic products don’t last forever, and yes, these are love stories that must one day come to an end, but the good news is that there are ways to make them last longer… and to avoid having to throw them away too soon, which can also really save you money.
1) Don’t keep new, still unopened products in the bathroom.
You know what I’m talking about. We’ve just had Christmas, there have been sales. I’ll bet you’ve been silly and bought lots of stuff (I know I have). Cosmetics are sensitive to their storage conditions, and are particularly vulnerable to heat and light, so you shouldn’t keep them in the warm, humid environment of your bathroom. You should keep these new products in cupboard somewhere, for example, or any dark, dry place with normal temperatures, where they can wait until you’ve finished the products you’re currently using.
2) Finish the cream you’re using before opening a new one.
I know, I know, it’s hard to resist, we want to try them all. And so we end up with 4 or 5 opened jars of cream. Alternating may be nice, but the more different products you use for the same thing, fulfilling the same function (like four different day creams, for example), the more time it takes to use them, and the greater the risk that something is suddenly past the expiry date. This is why you shouldn’t open up a new cream until after you’ve used up the previous one.
Doing so will also help to better evaluate a product. If you’re using four products at the same time, you’ll never know which of them is to credit for your godly new skin tone that appeared a few days ago and that’s getting you so many praising compliments from your friends and/or spouse.
Admittedly, with make-up this is more difficult, if you love to use a different colour every day. Still, take some time to observe your habits, you might be surprised to notice you mostly use the same few colours every day.
3) Protect your (currently used) products against extreme conditions.
Under point 1, I recommended keeping your new, unused products somewhere outside the bathroom. Ideally, you should also do that with the products you use every day. I know it’s not very practical and it would be a bother for you to go get them and put them back every day, so I won’t insist. But in your bathroom, then, try to keep them somewhere where they’ll be protected from light and warmth, because cosmetics don’t like extreme conditions like intense heat or cold.
Ideally, you should keep them in your fridge – not the freezer, though 😉 – in an airtight compartment or box, to make sure your products don’t end up smelling like your food. Cream that smells like smelly cheese in the morning… well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather stay in bed than have to put up with that…
Another advantage is that if you apply your cream right out of the fridge, you’ll have a tonic effect from the morning onwards.
Note however that this advice (the fridge) is:
- Not for all products: the cold can reduce the fluidity of your products and make pumps hard to use. You’d probably have to warm up your products a bit… at room temparture… it might take some time.
- Not for people with sensitive skin that can’t stand big variations in temperature.
4) Don’t put your fingers in it.
For jars of cream, don’t touch the cream in the jar with your fingers, but get a little spatula (they often come with the product) or use a coffee spoon to take out what you need. This is to avoid contaminating it by letting bacteria get in via your fingers.
Also consider quickly putting the lid back on right away, so no dust or bacteria can get in… the basic idea is to minimise the exposure of the product to the air as much as possible.
Don’t forget to clean that spatula every day, either. There’s not much point in taking every precaution and then contaminating your cream with a dirty spatula.
5) Pick bottles with a pump and airless bottles.
When you go shopping for cosmetics, pick the ones that come in a bottle with a pump or an airless bottle. For one thing, you won’t have to bother with spatulas and keeping the lid on and all, and for another, products that are protected from the air will be better preserved. And it has to be said that it’s just more practical, too… and for you smartphone addicts out there, you’ll need only one hand to use a pump bottle, so you can even keep sending your morning texts with the other! Your social life is safe! Hallelujah!
It’s easy to forget the date when you opened a product. Consider writing down the opening date on a label. If you have a product with a PaO (see here for an explanation of what a PAO is) of less than 6 months, you can quickly see on the label whether the product is still okay.
Use a water resistant label, though – otherwise you won’t be able to read it any more after three weeks.
Tip: make a paper label with the date on it, and stick it on the product with adhesive tape, so that the paper is covered by the tape. Voilà! One water resistant label. 😉
If you have products in huge containers, like a 100ml jar of cream, you could get some smaller jars of 30ml or 50ml and store some of the product in there. That way you won’t have to open your original jar 50 times, reducing the risk of contamination. You could keep the large jar somewhere more suitable while you’re using up your 30ml.
And of course don’t forget to clean the spatula or spoon you used to get those 30ml from the large into the small jar. Sterilise it with alcohol.
These smaller portions will also be useful when you go on a vacation with all the money you’ve saved!
These are my 7 tips, and I hope they’ll be useful. What do you think? If you have any other ideas, please don’t hesitate to share them!