14 Jul Vegan Cosmetic Care
No matter what the time of year, it’s always a good time to take stock of your beauty cabinet and do some de-cluttering, especially if your products are vegan and organic.
When your beauty products are vegan, they’re typically organic and vice versa. This is wonderful, but it also often means they have a shorter shelf life, due to a lack of synthetic preservatives. With this in mind, it’s important to stay on top of their use-by dates and bin them the second you think they may have expired.
Here’s a checklist:
CREAM, SERUM AND BODY WASH
This encompasses all skin care, really, from cleanser to toners to moisturisers; eye creams and even body wash and creams. If you’re using them properly, they should really only last you a couple of months, perhaps three at a stretch. Extend their life by keeping lids tightly fastened after every use and storing them in a cool, dry place. Try to avoid keeping them in the bathroom, as the steam from the shower might alter their formula and it can also create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The exception here of course is body and hand wash, but these typically have airtight containers and dispenser, so you’re OK. Resist using your fingers and hands to scoop the product from its jar or container. Use a bamboo or wooden skin care spatula (you can find them easily on EBay, Etsy or Amazon) and take out a small amount before applying to your skin. Your fingers can transfer germs into the formula. If at any time, the formula changes colour, separates or adopts a strange smell, it’s time to toss it.
Mascara should be replaced every six weeks or so. Why? We pump it in and out of the tube continuously and because of this, it can attract bacteria, which is a bit scary when you consider it then goes directly on our eyes. Dry, gluggy or sticky mascara is screaming to be thrown away. When the formula changes like this, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to trash it and get a new one, or you’re risking infection and irritation. If it slides out of the tube glossy and you still need to wipe away the excess, you’re good to go.
EYESHADOW AND BLUSH
Cream eye shadow and blush won’t last as long as powder formula. We tend to use our fingers to apply them, which means bacteria do get into the product. If this applies to you, aim to refresh them every month or so by scraping the top layer off with a clean knife (unless they’re really dirty, in which case you should throw them away). You can buy sponges to extend their life, but these aren’t very environmentally friendly and require daily washing with an anti-bacterial formula. I’d suggest using the aforementioned spatulas and scraping a small amount off the surface, transferring it to the back of your hand and then blending it to your eyes or cheeks from there. If cream shadows or blush form cracks or dry out, or indeed develop fuzz, throw them out immediately. Powder shadows are longer lasting and as long as you keep your brushes clean, you should be ok using them for up to 12months (unless they develop an oily surface or appear dirty or contaminated, in which case you should again just throw them out). Eyeshadow brushes should be washed every week at the least. Use a solution of warm water and an environmentally friendly, vegan washing up liquid, like Earth Choice.
EYE AND LIP PENCILS
Pencils are pretty amazing in terms of longevity and you can usually use them until you sharpen them down to a little stub. Just make sure you do sharpen them after a few uses, as this will eliminate any germs and refresh the point for a clean application each time. The Golden Rule here is never, ever share. In fact, this applies to most make-up, but in particular, anything that you apply to eyes or lips. These areas are vulnerable to viruses and germs, which can be quickly spread if a friend is infected.
If in a bullet, your lipstick can last until it’s worn down. However, be sure to wipe the surface with a clean tissue regularly to remove and debris or bacteria. Again, using a lip brush is advisable, but you do need to clean the brush regularly. If you use gloss in a tube, you have even longer to enjoy your colour and it should last until the product is finished. The exception here is if it has a wand and you pump the wand in and out of the tube. This can allow air and bacteria to contaminate the product, so keep an eye out for any changes in the formula’s texture, colour or smell, all of which could indicate it’s turned. Gloss or cream lipstick in a pot is fraught with issues, as you again use your fingers mostly to apply it and it’s also more exposed to the air, which means bacteria can quickly settle in the formula. Keep an eye on the formula and if it separates, changes colour or begins to smell, you know it’s time to get rid of it. Extend the product’s life by using a clean brush for application and always replacing the cap or lid tightly and quickly after use.
When it comes to watching expiry dates, sunscreen is probably the most important of all products. If it’s even slightly out of date, it might not work and you risk not being protected when you’re outdoors, which could lead to sunburn or worse. Keep a vigilant eye on its use by date and always store it in a cool, dry place. Again, if the formula separates, goes gluggy, dries out, smells or changes colour, bin it. Spring Clean your Beauty Cabinet No matter what the time of year, it’s always a good time to take stock of your beauty cabinet and do some de-cluttering, especially if your products are vegan and organic. When your beauty products are vegan, they’re typically organic and vice versa. This is wonderful, but it also often means they have a shorter shelf life, due to a lack of synthetic preservatives. With this in mind, it’s important to stay on top of their use-by dates and bin them the second you think they may have expired.
Lifestyle and Beauty editor Shonagh Walker