We're all guilty of stockpiling skincare products and if you're a skincare addict like me, there is something so satisfying about having a vanity decorated with pretty bottles and products. Over time, it's easy to have accumulated a large amount of skincare and beauty products but with skincare, I believe that less can be more and sticking with non-toxic, tried and true products can do wonders for your skin.
Whether you're a skincare minimalist or maximalist, here are my tips on how to declutter your products and create a concise collection of products you love most.
1. Take everything out. With all the products you've accumulated over time, this can be overwhelming at first. Personally, I've held onto products for that 'just in case' excuse or because it's hard seeing products go to waste. But when it comes to taking care of your skin and putting products on your face, it's not a good idea to hoard products that have been sitting around for years. Not only have most of them probably expired or lost their potency but old products can cause skin irritations and breakouts. That cleanser you've been holding onto for 2 years, get rid of it. That face mask that made you break out and doesn't suit your skin type, toss it out.
2. Sort into categories. Sort each products into a pile of keep, recycle or repurpose/donate. No maybe piles; it's time to get rid of any products that are old or don't suit your skin. Be tough with what you keep and when it doubt, put it in the recycle pile. Donate any products that are still unused and unexpired, but just don't suit your skin. Starting fresh with a minimalist approach to skincare is a great way to clear the clutter and have it stay that way. And while you're at it, here are some tips for how to create a more low-waste, sustainable skincare routine.
3. Check expiration dates. You throw out food past its prime when clearing our your pantry, so why wouldn't you do the same for your beauty products? That eye cream that you tried a few times but forgot about for 3 years? Time to go. All beauty products expire, so it's never worth the skin irritation, and for those with sensitive skin, it can be dangerous.
For skincare, many products have a PAO symbol (period after opening). A good way to remember when you opened a product is to use a sharpie on the bottom of the bottle or jar to keep track of when it was opened. Eventually all products will detioriate and aside from the potential of breaking out your skin, antioxidant and skin-nourishing ingredients don't last forever. This is especially important for SPF. Not only will they not work as effectively but it could cause breakouts.
Here's a little cheat sheet on how to spot when a product has expired or gone bad:
If a product feels different on your skin than before (streaky, lumpy etc) or has developed a strange odour, throw it away. Not only do products vary on when they expire, so do their storing conditions. Keep products out of the light and when it comes to containers, keep your fingers out of the product, so you're not risking bacteria growth.
Use-by-dates for skincare products:
- Cleanser: 1 year
- Toner: 6 months to 1 year
- Active exfoliants: 1 year
- Face oils, moisturizers and serums: 6 months to 1 year
- Powder clay masks: 2 years
- Face masks: 1 year
4. Find what works for you and stick with it. Once you've narrowed down your products, assess what's working for you and stick with it. If a product doesn't work for you, don't switch everything out. Figure out what needs to be added and add 1 new product or remove it to avoid stockpiling too many more products again.
Remember, products don't work overnight. Give your skin time to adjust to the product. Everyone's skin is different and skincare is a journey not a destination. It can take about 30 days for the epidermis (top layer of the skin) to turnover once and about 6-8 weeks for your skin to adjust to new products. This allows for three cycles of turnover of the epidermis and allows enough time for products to show longer term effects on the skin.
5. Organize. After you've decided what products you're going to keep and you've Maria Kondo'd your skincare products — visualize how you want your washroom shelf to look. Personally, the only products that go on my washroom vanity are the ones that I use the most. You can organize by category, AM / PM or whatever works best and is easiest for you.
6. Recycle or repurpose your empties. For any almost-empty products you're looking to get rid of, clean them out and recycle them. For anything else that can be repurposed (ie. empty jars, bottles, bags etc.), there are so many great ways to upcycle them. For a couple fun ideas, here are our favourite ways to re-use empty skincare containers.
When it comes to skincare, I believe that less is more and trust me, your skin will thank you. Happy decluttering!