Goodbyes are hard—especially when they involve expensive, half-used beauty products that have been sitting at the bottom of your makeup drawer for who knows how long. Everyone’s guilty of holding onto makeup and skincare products longer than they should (like that once-used purple lip gloss that perfected your Halloween costume circa 2015). In the new year, however, it’s time to say out with the old for the sake of your skin, hair and body.
Using dated or expired products isn’t just gross, it can also be harmful. Bacteria breeds like crazy in dark, damp places, which means makeup tubes and product bottles are basically Disneyland for micro-organisms. Worse still? The longer you let the containers sit, the more those teeny tiny microbes reproduce. So, by the time you go to apply your mascara, body wash or moisturizer, you could potentially be slathering yourself with bacteria.
“The clock starts the moment you open the product,” says Erin Williams, founder of Erin’s Faces. “It doesn’t matter how much or how little you actually use something.” Though the time you should keep each product varies, when you get home and crack open that new face cream, body oil or lip gloss, Erin suggests writing the date on a sticker or on the bottle itself, so you’ll know when it’s time to toss it.
Here, compound pharmacist Janis Covey of Kosmatology breaks down exactly how long you should hang on to every beauty product in your bathroom. Consider this your excuse to toss all the items holding you back from a fresh start in 2018.