3 reasons why people hold on to old makeup products

In my last post I mentioned expiry dates in passing. They deserve a post of their own because expiry dates are great for kick starting a decluttering rampage in the beauty products arena.

At the beginning of the year, I used a lipstick and was quite unsatisfied because it seemed to have lost its vibrancy since the last time I used it. This made me curious about the life span of lipsticks and other cosmetics. Searching online, I found several articles that gave me guidance around the expiration dates of products. I felt liberated. I felt as though permission to throw stuff out had been granted. I felt dangerous. A rampage ensued and I threw out a lot of products with glee that I could finally admit that they weren’t making me happy. I realised that I’d been holding on to many of these products because:

a) I’d spent money on them;

b) I hadn’t really used them all that much; and

c) maybe I’d use them one day.wooden-690762_1280

The following guidelines steered my rampage:

  • Acne treatments: Three months to a year.
  • Body lotion: One year.
  • Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel: About three years.
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months.
  • Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years.
  • Lipstick and gloss: Eighteen months after first use.
  • Foundation and concealer: About a year.
  • Eye shadow: About two years.
  • Blush and bronzer: About 18 months after first use.
  • Perfume: About two years.
  • Nail polish: One year.
  • Hairstyling products: Three to five years.
  • Lip balm: One to three years after first use.

I found the experience quite fun as a memory lane exercise as well. I enjoyed stretching
my brain to remember back to when I’d bought an item. This also illustrated quite clearly just how long I had held on to something (like said lipstick) and how justifiable it was to throw it out. Once I was on a roll, it felt amazing to keep clearing out my draws and by the end, when I was down to the bare minimum, the feeling of a simplified and clutter free vanity was worth more to me than holding on to products to see if I could justify having spent money on them to begin with.

As a treat to myself for having cleared out so much, including many eye shadow single pots and samples that were as old as Clinique itself, I purchased one beautiful eye shadow palette. My plan is to enjoy this palette for two years before replacing, this will give me plenty of time to fully explore all its combinations and perfect a few looks. This plan fills me with as much joy as seeing my tidy and minimalist vanity everyday. But funnily enough, going on a rampage was so much fun that I actually feel sad that I have nothing left to purge!

If you need guidance with your own rampage, check out flor&order’s services page.

Organising heart, head and home