Make your products last, and then use them up

Jackie from the Home Shopping Network recently contacted me about a post Lara from the Glossarie did called “Save Makeup Save Money” and suggested I add a response.

My initial gut feeling was that the idea of making my beauty products last was kind of contrary to my dedication to natural and organic beauty products. For goodness sake, I’m trying to run away from parabens and everything that allows beauty products to sit on shelves for 2 years without growing bacteria! 
But of course, similar to what Lara says, my beauty budget definitely rivals my clothes budget (it’s not even a fair fight), and with all of the beautiful ingredients and products that are cropping up these days, I want to make the most of my products while they last and finish them in the appropriate amount of time they are supposed to last to avoid waste. Thus, I present two parts: How to make your products last, and how to use them up.
Tips on Making Your Beauty Products Last

 1. Cap your products after using them

I am a hard multitasker, especially during my beauty routine. While I’m waiting for my face serum to sink in after a shower at night, I’m applying my body oil, then by that time my face is ready for cream moisturizer, and this whole time I’m calling my mom and telling her that as usual, I went to class and practiced piano and cooked this and that for dinner (livin’ the life). In this hustle and bustle of overlapping steps, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the morning to find that I forgot to cap my body oil. Or my face oil. Or I don’t notice at all, and later when I go to use the product again, I spill it over (cue Noooooooooooooooo!). Though my dresser and my bookcase may thank me for being exquisitely well-oiled, for the sake of preserving the integrity and efficacy of the product and avoiding any contamination, cap that product after you use it!

(Pictured: Osmia Organics Body Oil in Flower which is beautifully flowery, and a sample-with-order of YÜLI Skincare Harmony Body Oil, also beautifully and subtlety flowery and sadly one of the oils I spilled on my bookcase.)

2. Store your products in a cool, dry place

Every over-100 degree day this past summer in California found me rushing these two products to my fridge after morning application. Heat and sunlight spoils products like no other, hence the beautiful Miron glass containers that brands and I love to use that prevent rays from damaging the beautiful oils and extracts that brands have worked so hard to formulate and put together. I store most of my products in my bookshelf which naturally shields them from the sun, my pots in a box leftover from a May Lindstrom purchase (multi-use for the win!), and my makeup products on plates behind the box. Putting products in the fridge is more of a summer thing for me, though I’ve heard cold eye cream in the morning is a good way to wake up.
(Pictured: a long-empty YÜLI Skincare Panacea Elixir which I always love for its refreshing, anti-blemish properties and my favorite YÜLI Skincare Cell Perfecto PM for healing my acne scars)

3. Dip and apply with clean hands and/or brushes

Do you want to rub dirt (and I’m not talking about May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt) on your face? What about germs from the bathroom? The subway? The bus? Right. Wash and dry your hands and brushes before dipping and applying. Germs love wet places (ask my humidifier when I forget to clean it–nasty!) and so many of these brands make an effort to make beautiful waterless products, so keep it that way. Bonus points for whoever can name these pots-y products without peeking below. (Sidenote: this is why I’m wary of dipping a wet BeautyBlender in makeup compacts)
(Pictured from yellow balm going counter-clockwise: De Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm which is divine and my current first cleanse, May Lindstrom The Problem Solver which is my favorite unwinding mask, Tata Harper Limited Edition Wild Plum Resurfacing Mask which I have been using a lot lately to avoid flakes, and Aurelia Skincare’s Miracle Cleanser which is what my skin craves in this chappy, cold winter)
And now for the other side of the sword. I look back on my early green days with much fondness, and remember how when I first bought the rms beauty ‘un’ cover-up, I thought, “This pot is so small for the price! This won’t last me long.” And then it lasts me two years and I’m past the expiration date. Because so many of these products are so amazingly concentrated, a little goes a long way, maybe even too long of a way, and the whole while, a clock is ticking until the time that the product will spoil. Hence…
Tips on Using Up Your Beauty Products

1. Put them on display

If you see it, you’ll be more likely to use it. Also, what better way to show off the “Cartier” of makeup, Kjaer Weis? Also a great excuse to buy cute, decorated plates. Ps. Spot any of your favorites here?

(Pictured: Kjaer Weis, rms beauty, W3ll People, Sappho Cosmetics, Nvey Eco, R.L. Linden and Co., Osmia Organics, S.W. Basics)

2. Take them with you

This is a tease photo since the lovely Mary from Makeup by Mary B. tagged me in the “Spill it: Come As You Are” tag and I don’t want to give anything away yet (watch this space!), but the idea is here. Bring your products with you so that you can and will use them on the go. Lip products are great to carry along since they seem so easy to accumulate (how does that happen…) and you can switch up your look during the day as you like. I’ve been known to apply red lipstick in the practice room midday to get myself in the mood (and then run into classmates who say, “Jade…did you go home and apply makeup??” No…… “Jade, why did you randomly put on makeup?” Because I wanted to…)

(Pictured: Swag pouch from a recent hackathon, Baggu Small Leather Pouch in Persimmon, and mystery products)

3. Watch expiration dates

One thing I love about NuboNau is that they send these little “Date Opened” stickers with every purchase to help you keep track of how long you have been using a product, and thus you will know when it’s time to throw them out. Watch those expiration dates, and when it’s time to throw them out, throw them out no matter what. My parents conditioned me on the evils of waste (memories of them making me finish my cereal as a young child…), so even I was finding it hard to throw away a half-full bottle of the Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel (because it’s so good!), but I think you have to realize after the expiration date, the product is no longer your beloved product…it is an enemy. Exterminate!

(Pictured from left to right: Studio 78 Paris Chamelion Foundation, Absolution La Solution + Éclat, Studio 78 Paris Luminous Primer, Absolution La Solution + Contrôle)

 4. Sample first, don’t spring immediately for full-size

To avoid waste, sample, sample sample. This is my main mantra of 2014 (along with “I love and accept myself”) to avoid the paranoia of “Am I going to finish my rms beauty lip shine before expiration? Pulling out the bright magenta in the winter!”. Luckily, many green beauty shops have great sampling programs these days, such as Spirit Beauty Lounge, NuboNau, FreshFaced, and recently Clementine Fields. Brands like W3ll People, One Love Organics, and Osmia Organics offer sample packs or single samples of their products which give at least a week’s idea of how their product works with your skin (The W3ll People sample of Narcissist lasted me months! And then I purchased it).

So that’s my spiel. What do you think of these tips? Have any more to add?

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this post in any shape, manner, or way. I thought this would be a fun challenge to take on, and I wanted to put in my word how it’s not always the best idea to make your products last. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jackie has asked me to share the following links–feel free to peruse the following pages and check out the new layouts at your own leisure. While they don’t carry any of the mentioned brands in this post, they do carry a range of makeup tools as well as VMV Hypoallergenics, which is carried in BeautySage‘s edited and tested collection.

Home Shopping Network’s Makeup Page
Home Shopping Network’s Beauty Page


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  1. Audrey Nature
    March 2, 2014 / 9:17 am

    Really nice post! enjoyed reading it :-)x

  2. TinaOurWonderLust
    March 2, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    Really great post! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Jana D.
    March 2, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Agree with the ladies, great post and tips! Really enjoyed it! 🙂 xx

  4. Caitie
    March 3, 2014 / 1:53 pm

    Great tips! I'm the worst for forgetting to cap things after I use them, but I've been working on changing that 🙂

  5. Ru Chan
    March 4, 2014 / 4:16 am

    Great write-up, Jade! I remember I once knocked over my Osmia body oil, and thankfully it was a sample size but there was still a little heart pain involved. I love make-up samples; wished Spirit Beauty didn't switch from 9 to 6 samples for their sampling program.

  6. Jade
    March 4, 2014 / 9:27 pm

    Thank you Audrey! I am glad you liked it 🙂

  7. Jade
    March 4, 2014 / 9:27 pm

    Thank you Tina! I hope they are useful!

  8. Jade
    March 4, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    Thank you Jana! Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂

  9. Jade
    March 4, 2014 / 9:30 pm

    Thank you Caitie! Me too, the absolute worst, but I've been making a super conscious effort to cap things these days, and for good measure–walked past my bookshelf today and knocked over a body oil that was thankfully capped!

  10. Jade
    March 4, 2014 / 9:37 pm

    Thank you Ru! I hear you on the heart pain 🙁 I wish SBL didn't decrease the number either! But seeing as how the samples are coming from new products and how deceivingly long they last, I am mostly okay with it.

  11. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014 / 6:21 am

    I enjoyed reading this post,as it was very informative.
    How long do you generally keep face oils before you throw them out?

  12. Call It Vanity
    March 5, 2014 / 9:49 am

    Great post sistaaaa! Oh man it is a toughie – I love having all my skincare out on display but then have to remember it needs to be kept in the dark as much as poss…luckily my bathroom has no window which I guess is a good thing. And I hate throwing products away SO much, I feel like it's totally counter intuitive to the whole saving the planet thing, but you're right, it's not the same after 2 years is it?! Although for things like lipstick it probably doesn't matter as much so I doubt I'd throw those out.

    Mayah x

  13. March 5, 2014 / 6:13 pm

    These are very helpful tips! I specifically need to drill the "Using Up Your Beauty Products" tips into my brain….I definitely agree that it is useful to put my products on display in order for me to grab for them everyday. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with the products I need to use up before buying new things. Thanks for these tips! 🙂

  14. Jade
    March 11, 2014 / 2:16 am

    I'm glad you liked it! I tend to go through my oils fairly quickly so I haven't had to worry so much about how long to keep them around, but I think most companies set expiration dates for their oils at about 6, 8, or 12 months. Hopefully you will love your oils so much you won't have to worry about when to throw them out 🙂

  15. Jade
    March 11, 2014 / 2:17 am

    Thanks Mayah!! I know what you mean–that's why I hide all my skincare in my bookshelf. I can see all of my pretty skincare and the bookshelf shields it all from direct sunlight. Win!

  16. Jade
    March 11, 2014 / 2:18 am

    I'm glad you found them helpful!! I myself need to drill all the using tips into my brain…and definitely having everything out on display motivates me to use things up before buying. Thanks for reading Kasey!

  17. luv2smilexo
    March 11, 2014 / 2:37 am

    daleks! hehe. Thanks for posting places to purchase samples! I only knew of spirit beauty and they don't have a very huge selection of brands.

  18. Jade
    March 11, 2014 / 3:54 am

    Yes!!!!!! I'm so happy someone caught that reference! I couldn't help to sneak it in 😛 No problem!
    SBL has most of the brands I am usually looking for, but hopefully the other shops will have other brands that you're looking for. Cheers!

  19. Asti.
    March 13, 2014 / 1:21 am

    I love reading your posts, you always make me smile or laugh! And yes, I do the same.. always forgot to secure the cap but I have been given way too many chances I think that no products have spilled over so far (managed to catch it).

    Really useful tips, I agree with you 🙂

  20. Jade
    March 13, 2014 / 8:47 pm

    Happy to make you smile or laugh! Part of my goal 🙂 You are pro–knock on wood for no products spilled ever!

    Thank you!

  21. March 15, 2014 / 4:31 pm

    Great post!
    I feel a bit bad 'cause I'm that person who usually will have a product for too long haha
    The only time I've been bitten back for not following "best before"-date is when I didn't use up my own DIY toner within 2 weeks!
    I've lately discovered the world of samples, and boy am I getting the opposite effect! Haha I have more samples than what I can use up, because samples has a way of lasting longer than the actual sized product! 😀 It reminds me of when I got a mini Dr Bronner's soap and how differently me and my boyfriend acted towards it. Just because it was small, we used it sparingly in contrast to our jumbo shampoo and conditioner where we would over-use! Maybe everything should come in small packaging?

  22. Jade
    March 23, 2014 / 4:06 am

    Thank you Isabel! Awww don't feel bad! Haha, the world of samples is so deceiving–on first look, they look so small, but then they last for forever! Totally with you on the difference in reaction to small packaging–I definitely use things much more sparingly when they come in small sizes compared to when they come in big sizes. Maybe brands should package smaller 😛

  23. April 10, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    I can't decide what I love most, this post, the products, or the Game of Thrones books in the back! 😉

  24. April 10, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    One of the best blog post I've read in a LONG time. USE that stuff up. I've been known to put my label maker to work on some of my products. If it won't stick a nice paint marker works as well.

  25. April 10, 2014 / 5:35 pm

    Fantastic post, so much fantastic information. You have quite a stash of goodness. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  26. April 11, 2014 / 4:58 am

    Thank you for your kind words and for reading, Kat!

  27. April 11, 2014 / 4:59 am

    Aw thank you Paula! Thumbs up for your label maker and paint marker!!

  28. April 11, 2014 / 5:00 am

    ;D Thanks PJ! Heh, you've reminded me I need to get watching the new season of GoT.