Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't You Put it on Your Mouth!

You know those touchy topics that people don't like to talk about?  The ones where they probably know they're doing the wrong thing, but make up excuses for why they don't care or it isn't a big deal?  I mean the significant proportion of women wearing the wrong sized bra, or people who drink bottled water even though it's basically bullshit.  I also mean people who don't throw out their expired makeup.

So I probably mean you, right?

Every time I toot this horn, I get a lot of pushback.  People's hesitations seem to be based around two things: waste and cost.  Fortunately, I have three things to respond to them with.  Three is more than two.  Basic math says you should listen to me.

Waste: Most of us have a problem throwing away something that isn't finished.  You don't drink half a beer and leave the rest (unless you are my brother).  You don't eat only half a box of Smarties and throw the rest away.  Throwing things out half-used is insane.  Unless the second half of that beer has been used as an ashtray, and the Smarties are so old the candy coating has turned mostly white.  When the thing you are enjoying has become so old or so unusable that it would gross you out or cause you bodily harm, it is not wasteful to throw it away - it's common sense.

Here's how it is: bacteria is a thing.  Every time you don't wash your foundation brush or scrape the oily residue off the top layer of your eyeshadow, you're literally rubbing bacteria babies into your face.  Which might not be a problem in really small doses, but bacteria continue to multiply and multiply again every day, and after awhile that tube of mascara is a veritable cesspool.  Which you then stick in your eye.

Cost: One reason people are especially loathe to waste unused makeup is what that makeup cost them to buy or will cost them to replace.  If you're one of those people who spends $45 per bottle of foundation, you're probably not going to love the idea of chucking it before every last drop has been squeezed out.  One solution to this problem is to not spend $45 on something you don't use enough to finish before it expires, but who am I to judge? 

If you need an economic argument, let's ask ourselves what our skin is worth to us.  We spend hundreds and thousands on sunscreens, moisturizers, anti-aging elixirs, etc. just to keep it young and healthy.  A lot of our self-esteem depends on how our skin looks and makes us feel.  Or if you want to be less philosophical and look at it in short term, measurable numbers, what about the additional cost for concealer to cover pimples and rashes that could have been avoided by a few sanitary habits?  Or how about the cost of medication to clear up said rashes?  A lot of people don't notice a huge impact on their skin related to expired products, but a lot of people also don't get melanoma from using tanning beds.  That doesn't mean the people who did don't wish they'd done something differently.  Shit happens.  Don't let it happen to you because you couldn't spare $20 to replace that tube of lipstick.

I had way too much fun with this.

The third thing - utility: Most makeup products do something.  They're sold with any number of obnoxious promises, sure, but regardless of the legitimacy of those claims, products have uses.  Some plump, some cover, some lengthen, some lighten.  Presumably, the things a product does are the reason you bought and use that product.  A product that is expired will not do those things.  No matter how you feel about bacteria replicating in your mascara, a nine-month old dried up tube is simply never going to give you the results you were getting when you first opened it.  Using expired makeup is literally just putting bacteria on your face for no fucking reason.

Does not compute.

Here is a basic guideline for what needs to be tossed when:

Source unknown.

The only thing on this list I personally disagree with are the brushes.  If you own good brushes and take good care of them, including regular washing and proper drying (flat to dry, so they hold their shape and water doesn't worm down between the bristles into the collar), there shouldn't be an expiration date on those.

Another way to know an item's shelf life is to look at the product itself.  Many products will include this symbol somewhere to give you a hint of how long it should live.  The number in the symbol is the estimated number of months in the countdown.

Also, most products are probably in bad shape when they've separated or dried out.  Powders can start to look shiny from a buildup of facial oils and bacterial growth - this can often be scraped off, but after a year or two, put it out of its misery.  Mascara gets more and more bacteria-y the drier it gets (Bonus tip: never pump the mascara wand in and out of the tube, this forces in more air and dries it out and makes the problem worse.  Instead, stir gently to load the wand with a minimum of air-carnage), so if it's looking a bit crusty, or starts to smell at all, DTMFA. 

The bottom line is, if you aren't using something enough that you still have it after it's expired, it's wasting space in your makeup bag anyway.  Toss that shit and get yourself something younger and better looking.

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