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Do a cosmetic case clear-out


Expiry dates are required on some over-the-counter personal care products that have therapeutic properties – think antiperspirants, dandruff shampoo, and sunscreen – because their therapeutic effects diminish over time.

Cosmetics, on the other hand, don't require an expiry date. But even though that powder compact doesn't bear a best-by date like a cup of yogurt, that doesn't mean it will last forever!

Sometimes makeup will bear a date stamp, but most of the time it won't. You can usually use your senses – including your common sense – to tell if a cosmetic product needs to be tossed out. Dispose of products with dark spots, fuzzy patches, colour changes, or a change in texture or scent. These sorts of changes often just mean a product won't work as well, but using outdated cosmetics may sometimes lead to skin irritations and eye infections.

Mascara is a special case. Since it's a water-based product, it is especially prone to bacteria growth. And since you use it so close to your vulnerable eyes, mascara should be thrown out after 3 months. Toss the tube sooner if you notice a change in smell or colour or if you've had an eye infection. To keep it safe for longer use, keep air out of the tube. Seal it up tight and avoid pumping the wand up and down in the tube. But you should continue to replace mascara every 3 months, no matter how many times you've used the tube.

In general, be careful about any products you use near your eyes. Keep eye pencils sharpened and clean, and they should stay hygienic, but treat liquid eyeliner the same way you would mascara.

One type of liquid cosmetic you don't need to worry about is nail polish. Sure, nail polish can dry up and become unusable, but it would take a long time for nail polish to "go bad." Bacteria stand no chance in the chemical stew of nail polish – isopropyl alcohol, formaldehyde resin, and butyl acetate, to name a few of the ingredients.

You could also contact cosmetics manufacturers and ask about when a product was made. To do this, you'll need the company's contact information and the product lot number, usually found as an alphanumeric code on the container. A law in Europe requires its cosmetic products to be labelled with a period after opening (PAO) symbol that can tell you how many months the product is good after you first start using it. While not required in Canada, this number may appear on products imported from Europe.

It is best to never share make-up, especially those used near the eyes, as it is easy to transmit bacteria and infection. If you happen to share cosmetic tools, wash them down following the simple steps listed in "Do a big brush-off."

Still unsure about a product? Better to be safe than sorry and throw it out! Avoid future cosmetic confusion by marking product containers with your date of purchase.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Do a big brush-off


Here are some quick tips for taking care of the brushes you use every day.

Makeup brushes: You go to the trouble of washing your face every day. So why would you then go and spread bacteria all over it with dirty makeup brushes? Made from synthetic fibres like nylon or from the fur of animals, brushes can trap bacteria in their bristles, and the bacteria then feed on microscopic skin cells and the moisture from makeup. Day to day, a quick spritz with water or with a specially formulated brush cleaner followed by a gentle wipe-down will keep brushes clean.

You should do a deeper clean at least once a week for foundation and concealer brushes. Other brushes can go longer:

  • Run brushes under warm water.
  • Pour a small amount of baby shampoo into your palm and gently dab the brushes into the shampoo.
  • Rinse the brushes in warm water.
  • Delicately wipe the brushes clean and lay them flat to dry (if needed, re-shape the bristles on the brush).

You can also simply use your daily cleanser to wash your brushes. Professional cleaners can be harsh, and thus sometimes irritating to the skin. Using your daily cleanser is also good way to ensure you will not suffer an allergic reaction, since you already know how it treats your skin. If at any time the bristles look worn or shed, throw out that brush and purchase a new one.

Toothbrushes: It would seem like toothbrushes would harbour lots of icky bacteria. And while our mouths definitely harbour millions of germs, there's not much risk left behind on your toothbrush. All you need to do is follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use.
  • Leave it to dry in an upright position.
  • Avoid cross-contamination (and an increased risk of infection) from others: never share toothbrushes or allow toothbrushes to touch.
  • To prevent bacteria build-up, store toothbrushes in open air, rather than in a sealed-up container.
  • Don't bother with extreme measures you may read about. There's no need to disinfect your toothbrushes in the dishwasher or microwave!
  • Replace every 3 to 4 months, or earlier if you notice the bristles look worn or splayed.

Hairbrushes: When you rake a brush through your hair, the bristles grab onto dirt, dust, and any hair product you've used. A gunky brush just drags gunky stuff back into your hair. Now-and-then maintenance can keep your brushes fresh and lasting longer. Day to day, simply clear your brush of hair after each use. For a deeper clean, try this:

  • Use the pointy end of a comb to de-snag all of the hair wrapped around the bristles.
  • Then you need to cleanse. You can do this by running the brush under warm water and using an old toothbrush dabbed with shampoo to scrub between the bristles.
  • Or you could fill your sink with warm water and swish the brush around in it to loosen up dirt and left-behind hair.
  • Either way, follow up with a rinse. Shake out excess water and dry with a towel. Place upside down so water doesn't get trapped back into the base of the brush.

Shaving brushes: If you happen to be one of those retro types, you may lather up with a shaving brush. Depending on frequency of use, with proper maintenance a shaving brush can last a good, long while. Make sure you're thoroughly rinsing and shaking out your brush after each use. Handle the bristles with care, and always dry in open air with the bristles facing down. For a deeper clean, try this every few months:

  • Rinse the bristles in a mixture of 20% vinegar and 80% water.
  • Rinse and massage a cream rinse into the bristles. Rinse again.
  • Dry in open air with bristles facing down.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: