Sarah Tolan: A fresh start

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THE beginning of the year is the perfect opportunity to go through your beauty products because the temptation can be to hoard.

We all tend to have our favourite products; those we keep for years. But do your skin a favour and bin any opened old ones that have been hanging around your make-up bag since you can’t remember.

Unopened, good quality items are fine for a few years, but once they’re opened, over the months and years, beauty products can change becoming clumpy or drying out.

Buying new will make it easier to achieve a flawless, glowing face.

Mascaras are one of the easiest products to pinpoint when they need replaced as you should be able to see the impact on your lashes. If it’s losing its effect on your lashes and instead is beginning to clump lashes together or flake, then it’s time to replace.

The shelf life of mascaras can be between three to six months but make yours last longer by not pumping the wand; this introduces more air into the product which causes it to dry out more quickly. And never add water to your mascara in an attempt to thin it out.

How long your foundation lasts will depend on the type. Powder foundations, for instance, last longer than liquid ones which can separate out. On average though, keep opened foundations for around a year before replacing.

Those which use a dispenser are better than open pots as it makes it harder for air and bacteria to get in. But if it begins to smell different then it’s time to get beauty shopping.

Similarly, how long you should keep eyeliners varies. Liquid eyeliners are much like mascaras and shouldn’t really be kept much more than three months. Gel eyeliners, however, produce similar results and have a longer shelf life. Eye pencils should last up to three years – providing you remember to sharpen them to keep the colour fresh.

Powders and bronzers have a shelf life of up to 18 months. But if you’ve been using a powder for a while, you may notice the surface is hardening or changing colour. This is because the powder is mixing with the oils in your skin and it’s a sign it’s time to invest in a new one.

Lipsticks last longer than glosses and once opened the lifespan of these products is up to two years. However, take a look at your favourite lip product and if it’s showing signs of wear and tear then splash out and buy a new one. Signs could be the colour name is worn off. Or another tell-tale sign likely to be found on old lip glosses around the country is that the inside rim that has attracted a layer of who knows what. And if you suffer from a cold sore, it’s most definitely best to bin.

Moisturisers are one of the harder products to pinpoint as it can depend on the ingredients. Organic skincare, for instance is great for skin, but since it contains all natural ingredients, will go off faster.

But whatever you use, keep it away from any heat and out of direct sunlight.

But the worst offenders for spreading bacteria are your make-up brushes. So take the time to wash your brushes; ideally after every use however if you’re short on time, aim for once a week. Dirty brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria which you’re then transferring onto your face. So clean and stop the spread and in addition, prolong the life of you brushes. There are make-up brush cleansers out there, but I use Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo for a cheap and gentle clean.