Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Germinator

Hello Beautiful Darlings, I hope you have had a good week being kind to yourself.

With the dicey weather we've been having on the Continent, nearly everyone has fallen prey to a winter cold. The last few days have found me lying on the couch in a pile of Kleenex...I know, it's not exactly the glamorous Miss O life you imagined. Me neither.

Living in close quarters, it is inevitable that Honey and I keep trading germs. It's too stuffy in here, it's too cold, it's dry, one of us is stuffed up, the other is coughing. Hot, right? Romantic. Um, no. And then there are all the germy people with whom we come in contact. Darlings, riding the metro during cold season is a serious health risk. City dwellers are very generous about sharing their germs with fellow citizens. Buh!

While it is important to avoid germs out and about in the world, let's talk about some that are dwelling in your home...specifically in your beauty products. Cue scary music.

Darlings, I am willing to bet that you have a couple (or more!) products that have been hanging around for far too long. Even as a seasoned beauty professional, I am not as diligent as I should be in ditching outdated cosmetics. Why do we do this? Are we being thrifty? Compulsive? Greedy?

Male readers: you are excused from reading the rest of this post (though you might learn something), but why not use the opportunity to adios some of the science projects currently residing in your fridge? No, sorry, even condiments do not last forever.

True confession: I have a Shiseido lip gloss that I bought *cough* a couple of years ago. There is really nothing left in it except fumes, but it was costly and I don't want to part with it. See: Irrational hoarding behavior.

As part of a Lenten resolution to release items/people/situations that no longer serve a positive purpose, and because I just read an article on germy make-up, I went straight to my beauty lab and plucked three offending lip glosses and an eyeshadow that are waaaaay past their expiration date. I already knew that they were outdated but had let them linger there breeding bacteria. Why? See: Irrational hoarding behavior. How can I name this disease so easily? Because I have at least a half dozen (ok, ten) other lip glosses on my dressing table, not to mention the four floating around in my handbag. And some are duplicates.

I believe in a woman's right to choose and in a woman's right to multiple lip colors, but even I have to admit that fourteen lip sticks/stains/tints is pushing it. For your amusement a peek at Miss O's former dressing table/beauty operations center.

and this picture, taken after a weekend of Bridal shows.
How do I know it was Bridal season? Note the "spare hair" prominently featured in the center of the photo. And no, that is not a mascara wand lying about, it is an eyebrow brush. This picture is dedicated to my dear friend, Neeners.

My current workspace is a tenth of the size but I still manage to cram it full of powders and potions. What can I tell you? I enjoy being a girl.

But let's get back to germy cosmetics...
You may be surprised to realize that cosmetics, like condiments, do not have an infinite shelf-life. We should be tossing make-up, especially mascara, often, like every three to six months often.  Products with wands such as lipgloss or mascara pick up bacteria from your face and deliver it back into the tube. Yucky. (Mascara Tip: do not pump the wand in and out of the tube, it creates air bubbles which feed bacteria and creates clumpy eyelashes). If your mascara is thick, clumpy, or has a curious odor: Toss it. Ditto if you've recently had a cold sore or pink eye. Throw the products away and start over fresh.

Drier lipsticks and powdery products (eye shadow, blush, bronzer) can last longer but you should not keep any make-up more than 18 months, two years tops. If you have a product in your stash that is more than two years old, stop reading and go throw it out. Right now. I'll wait.

Can't remember how long you've had a product? Here's a nifty idea:

If you use powder or concealer, make sure to wash your brushes regularly. (N.B. powder and concealer, especially ones you dab directly onto your face, should be replaced every six months) You can't imagine the scary germs lurking on make-up brushes. Yucky.  Even better, use disposable sponges...and dispose of them.

Products that are hydrating contain extra water, which, after a while can be a become a bacteria feeding ground. No, thank you. To keep your products in good condition, make sure they are tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. Please do not leave your foundation lying around without the cap on, the same goes for eye-liners (sharpen them often), and all other products. When in doubt, better to ditch it. 

What is the state of your make-up bag? Sticky with spills and stains everywhere? Yep, it's probably swimming with germs. Don't bother to try to clean it, just give it the heave-ho and get a new one.

What about moisturizers and other skin care products? (Nearly) all products these days have a PAO symbol, it looks like this:

PAO=Period After Opening (i.e. this product should be used within 12 months of opening) and M=months, not millennia, Darlings.

Ok, Beauties, you have been informed. No excuses! Protect your health and get rid of any creepy, old cosmetics taking up valuable real estate and I bet you'll have room for a new lip gloss. Hooray! No, Miss O is not an enabler. She is an empowerer.

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