When is it Time to Clean Out My Skincare Cabinet?

Spring is (finally) here! Can you believe it?! After this past year, I think we can all agree that the longer, sunnier days of spring on the horizon have never been more welcome. To fully embrace the season, we are gearing up for that time-honored post-winter ritual: spring cleaning. If you're looking to set yourself up well and get a fresh start this spring (we certainly are), you may be considering some seasonal cleansing yourself. It can be a big job, but starting with small items like beauty and body products can be a helpful way in. Here are some of our favorite tips for choosing what to keep or toss when it comes to products. Be brave, the payoff is so worth it.

  • What's the expiration date? Skincare, especially natural skincare, is best when fresh and generally should be used within 6-12 months after opening. Dry products like our powder masks, bar soaps, and bath products can last quite a bit longer—up to 14 months. Check the product packaging for a little picture of an open jar with a number in it—the number indicates the months of shelf life. Cute, right? Using expired products not only means the product will be less potent and less pleasant to use, it might actually be bad for your skin. Obvious indicators that a product has gone bad might be discoloration, odd or foul smells, or a drastic change in texture. Toss!

  • When was the last time you used it? Expiration dates are a good place to start, but most people don't keep a spreadsheet of when they opened their moisturizer. We find this to be a good rule to live by: The products worth keeping are the ones you reach for regularly. If you haven't touched it in 6 months, you probably don't love love it. This can be a tough call to make, especially if the product wasn't cheap. But remember that space on your shelf is valuable, and getting rid of the things you don't use makes room for things that you will.
  • "I'll use them someday" products. You know the ones. Maybe it's a little bag of free samples you got that one time, or that super specialty serum you've never actually put on your face. You might eventually need it right?! Chances are, probably not. Again, try to remember when you first put it in the back of the cabinet, and how long your skin has survived just fine without it. Focus on the things you need now, and if someday does come along, your trusty future self has got your back.

  • Keep the container! Maybe the product's crummy but the packaging is adorable? Clean it out and give it a new purpose holding keys, bobby pins, earrings, q-tips, or dried flowers. Or sip whiskey out of it! You deserve it after all that tidying.

  • You don't have to toss it, but it can't stay here. Products can have a second life! You may not need it, but it could be the perfect thing for a friend or loved one. Allure also has a great list of organizations where you can mail unused or gently used products. Lastly, some local women's and homeless shelters may take unused or gently used products. Do your research, as many of them have strict guidelines—particularly during COVID-19 times.

In general, we like to take a page or two (or 100) out of Marie Kondo's book and approach our cleansing process with joy in mind. Skincare and self-care should be enjoyable, so if the product in question isn't a delight to use anymore, it's time for it to go. If it helps, give it a little hug and gratitude before sending it on its way. Happy cleansing and happy spring!

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