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When Should You Actually Throw Out Your Beauty Products?

Plus other tips on organizing, deciding what makeup you really need, and more

With increasingly excellent beauty product launches and the news of nearly every celebrity working on a cosmetics line, it's easy to find yourself contemplating the purchase of a lot of new products. In the quest to secure a "top shelfie photo" or to try something new, you might find yourself with a little too much product. While it can definitely be easier to simply stack your palettes and leave your products in disarray, the experts advise that organization is key. For those ready to take the plunge and finally clean out your beauty stash, here's what you need to know about when to throw out makeup and how to organize your shelfie.

Be Mindful Of Expiration Timelines

Before you grab the nearest trash bag and toss away every tube of mascara you swore that you would use and needed, it's best to first give a careful eye to expiration dates. According to Shani Darden, esthetician, any product that's been opened for more than a year, should be the first to get tossed. "It's not always immediately obvious that a product has expired, but products past their expiration dates will lose their effectiveness and not work as well as they should," she said.

Powders Last Longer Than Liquids

When it comes to products with longevity, makeup artist Mary Irwin said it's best to purchase powders, as they last longer than creams and liquids. Generally, your products should come with a sticker that will advise you of shelf life, but there are other ways to take note of a tool that should get tossed. "A smell test will tell you if things have gone bad," Irwin said. "Does your lipstick smell like crayons? Does the mascara smell sour? Liquid liner smell off? If so, toss it."

Try To Only Purchase The Essentials

To avoid tossing unused products, both Darden and Irwin said that it's best to really keep your current routine and needs in mind. When it comes to makeup, Irwin noted that you should ensure you have essential products. Although your must-have items might differ from someone else, Irwin recommends having a moisturizer, sunscreen, a daily lip color, neutral eyeshadow coloring, coloring for the cheeks, and mascara. Of course, you don't want to forget a makeup remover, too.

Avoid Constantly Switching Up Your Skin Care

When it comes to skincare products, Darden warned against continually switching up your routine, saying, "If you're using the most effective product that have the most effective ingredients, it's not always necessary to add more into your skin care routine. If you are thinking of trying something new, she said it's best to add these items slowly, noting, "If you add in too much too soon, you aren't able to pinpoint what is really working for your skin. Also, adding in active products too quickly before your skin has time to acclimate can cause irritation." Her current faves include a cleansing serum and a retinol reform treatment serum.

Keep Track Of What You Do Have

There's absolutely nothing wrong with adding to your makeup collection or trying out a new product, but if you are looking to stay organized and remain more mindful of your products, it'd be great to put these ideas in practice. Ultimately, as Irwin said, the best thing you can do is to be aware of what your shelf currently holds. "Take inventory of what you have, and compare that to what you actually use. If you haven't used in a month and a half you probably aren't going to use it at all," she said.