How to CTRL ALT DLT Your Beauty Stash at Home

How to CTRL ALT DLT Your Beauty Stash at Home
Photo: Getty Images. Design: Allison Kahler.

Spring cleaning shouldn’t be limited to your wardrobe. You’ll also want to give your beauty stash a much-needed reboot once the temperatures start to rise. And yes, you’ll probably think about cleaning out your makeup bag first, as we all know broken blushes and old lipsticks tucked inside probably aren’t worth keeping anymore. However, it’s important to note that knowing how to clean out beauty products should extend to skincare and haircare products too. 

If you need to hit the reset button, we tapped a makeup artist, an esthetician, a board-certified dermatologist, and some celebrity hairstylists to break down all those need-to-know hacks on how to rev up your routine asap. From expiration dates to cleaning tips, read on below to get your routine in tip-top shape before summer comes knocking. 

What The Makeup Artist Says 

Look For Expiration Dates On Your Products

If you didn’t already know, using expired makeup can wreak havoc on your skin. According to certified makeup artist Naseeha Khan, the bacteria harbored in makeup can cause breakouts and inflammation. 

With this in mind, she advised paying extra attention to expiration dates on the label, as it signifies when a product should be tossed out. 

“You can find expiry indicators on makeup products, usually on the label near the bottom, where you can also find the company, recycling, and other information,” she said “The symbol is an open jar with a number on it—this number indicates how many months post opening the product will last.” 

Toss Makeup Items Carefully 

However, if you can’t spot an expiration date on your product label, Khan explained that there are several rules of thumb to keep in mind when you’re cleaning out your makeup bag. 

Makeup products like mascara, for example, should be discarded after three months, she said, while eyeliners should be discarded after six months. “Liquid products are more susceptible to bacteria build-up, which is why it is important to replace mascara this frequently,” she said. “Try to discard eyeliner products after six months.”

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara


Similarly, lipstick and foundation products should be tossed within a 12 to 18-month timeframe, as Khan suggested that these items are usually in direct contact with your mouth, lips, and face. 

“Although they are in direct contact with your lips and mouth, the solid formula of most lip products (toss after 18 months) allows for longer usage lives,” she noted. “Be sure to discard  foundation products after 12 months, as they can lose consistency and begin to smell.”  

Clean And Evaluate Tools And Brushes Carefully

Although it’s tempting to apply the spring cleaning concept to makeup brushes once a year, Khan said that it’s best to always clean brushes weekly to prevent bacteria from being spread between your skin. 

Additionally, she advised taking the spring months to evaluate the condition of your tools, as brushes and makeup sponges can lose efficacy over time. 

Beakey Makeup Sponge Set


“Reusable makeup sponges should be replaced once every three months – so once a season may be a perfect schedule to follow for this,” Khan explained. “However, if you notice your brush bristles are frayed or shedding, it may be time to invest in new tools.” 

What The Esthetician Says 

Refresh Your Tools

Aside from giving your makeup brushes a good clean, esthetician Leila Aalam recommended giving your facial tools the same attention, as facial brushes, tweezers, and loofahs should also be cleaned and tossed accordingly. 

Baimei Bath Sponge


“Pay attention to how long you are using your facial brushes, tweezers, and loofahs,” Aalam said. “Tweezers can be used for a longer time period as long as they are cleaned and disinfected after each use.” 

Clean Out Your Space

Additionally, she stressed the importance of cleaning the cups, bins, and jars where you store any tweezers. Doing so, she added, cuts down on bacteria overgrowth, and keeps your medicine cabinet or vanity clean. 

“I like to remove all the bins and jars from its shelving, and wipe down the area with a damp cloth( or a Lysol wipe) to remove any bacteria overgrowth,” she explained. 

What The Dermatologist Says 

Start To Transition Your Skincare Regimen 

As natural is the change of seasons, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Claire Chang, MD, said so are the changes that occur in your skin. Warmer months mean more heat, humidity, and sunshine, she added, making it wise to transition your skincare routine accordingly. 

“Compared to cooler seasons, skin during the spring and summer months tends to have higher oil and sweat production, increased hydration, and more visible pores,” said Chang.

No7 Restore & Renew Multiaction Face & Neck Day Cream SPF 30


To make some easy tweaks to your skin-care regimen, Chang suggested starting by swapping your thick moisturizers for light-weight day creams that contain SPF protection. 

“Given you may be spending more time outdoors, the No7 Restore & Renew Multiaction Face & Neck Day Cream SPF 30 is a great lightweight day cream that is perfect for the spring and summer,” she explained. “It has SPF 30, and contains a powerful combination of anti-aging peptides, pro-retinol, and antioxidants.” 

Make Sure You Use SPF 

If you haven’t been using a daily sunscreen product already, Chang said that now is a good time to start, as sun exposure is one of the most important culprits in accelerating skin aging. 

“Sun exposure produces free radicals, breaks down collagen, and increases pigmentation in the skin,” she explained. “Along with diligent sun protection, I recommend using antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients throughout the summer to counteract these effects.” 

Coppertone Pure and Simple Sunscreen


To pick a decent sunscreen product that can stand tall against harmful UVA/UVB rays, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests picking a broad-spectrum product with SPF30 and water-resistant protection. 

However, no matter what kind of sunscreen you choose, you’ll definitely want to reapply your block frequently throughout the day, as the AAD explained that water-resistant sunscreen only lasts for 40 to 80 minutes. 

Don’t Skip Out On Retinol Products 

If you took a break from using retinoids during the winter due to excessive dryness, now is the time to start using them again, according to Chang. 

RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Sensitive Skin Night Cream


Retinols and retinoids are one of the most powerful evidence-backed anti-aging ingredients on the market,” she explained. “And although you won’t want to use them during the daytime, they still can keep applied before bedtime for best results.”

What The Hairstylist Says 

Check PAO Labels On Your Products

Just like you would check expiration dates on other cosmetic products, celebrity hairstylist Annagjid “Kee” Taylor, told StyleCaster that you’ll also want to check the PAO (period after opening) date on your shampoo, hair mask, or leave-in products. If your product is past this date listed on the label, then it’s probably a good idea to throw it out, she added. 

“Most brands put a PAO (Period After Opening) on the products to give you an indication of how long they will last after you first open them,” Taylor said. “However, some hair products tend to last a bit longer, as products that are well-contained (aerosols, sprays, etc.), for example, usually have a longer shelf life.” 

Garnier Fructis Style Curl Treat Shaping Jelly

Garnier Fructis.

Keep A Watchful Eye On Styling Products

And since styling products (think gels, creams, and pomades) are exposed more to open air (and your fingers!), Taylor explained that they will need to be replaced more quickly, as these products are exposed to germs and bacteria, and can easily become moldy if you aren’t careful.  

Clean Your Hairbrushes Often 

However, celebrity makeup artist Ricardo Rojas told StyleCaster that there really isn’t a strict rule concerning how long to keep your hairbrushes. Alas, he still advises cleaning them regularly, in order to prevent you from tossing them out. 

Wet Brush The Original Detangler

Wet Brush.

“The best way to extend the life of your hairbrush is by removing the hair after each use, using a tail comb to rack out the hair,” Rojas said. “You will know the brush is working by making sure the bristles are still straight up and doing the work.” 

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