Yes, Even Your Beauty Routine Needs Spring Cleaning — Here's How To Do It

It’s all about dividing and conquering.

skin care cabinet

The energy of spring is in the air and that means it’s officially time to overhaul your beauty products. There’s just something so invigorating about getting organized and tossing what you don’t use to clear room for the new. If you’re not sure how to spring clean your beauty routine, TZR tapped a few experts to explain. “Spring cleaning is a must. It’s good for the soul and most products really should be swapped out if they are over six months to a year old,” explains celebrity makeup artist Molly Stern. Even if you’re super diligent about editing your collection regularly, chances are you could still benefit from a bit of spring cleaning.

But don’t freak out, you don’t have to get rid of everything. “I think tried and true products should always be within your beauty routine. If they work for you, don't feel the need to toss them out because you have FOMOS (fear of missing out on skin care),” says Dr. Shereene Idriss, founder of Idriss Dermatology in NYC (and creator of the #Pillowtalkderm series on Instagram). This same advice goes for your makeup products. Though the biggest thing to be cautious of when holding on to products is the expiration date (which varies by products and ingredients). Any beauty girl knows that whittling down your products can be paralyzing and it can be tough to know where to start.

Lucky for you, the pros are sharing their tips for detoxing your beauty arsenal — see below for everything you need to know to refresh your cabinets and vanity for the new season.

Start By Category

The first step is to pull out all your products. That includes the ones that are hiding in the back of your cabinet, in your travel bag, etc. “I think that simplifies the task at hand and makes it less overwhelming and daunting,” explains Dr. Idriss. The pro suggests grouping them into piles like cleansers, exfoliating acids, and serums. For serums, “break them down into different kinds of ingredient bases,” she explains (since there are so many types). “Then move to moisturizers, sunscreens, etc.” Repeat this process with sorting your makeup, getting as specific as you can with categories (i.e. think of lipsticks, lip oils/glosses, and lip balms all as their own categories).

Throw Out Expired Products

Most people wind up keeping products longer than they should, simply because they don’t use them fast enough. Dr. Idriss says it’s best to follow the expiration dates on your skin care products. That being said, the derm usually hangs onto unopened products “plus or minus four to six months after the expiration date.” Of course every product is unique, so pay attention to the way it looks and feels. “A little yellowing can definitely happen with products and that is normal and should not be a sign of concern, but turning dark brown, clumping, breaking up, or odor changing [is not good],” she notes.

Makeup expiration guidelines also vary by product and packaging. Stern breaks down what a spoiled makeup product may look like. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not sure, smell it. If it has a rancid smell, get rid of it. If your makeup shows any of the following signs, Stern says you should toss it. Foundation and concealer color can oxidize over time and can end up looking cakey when it’s old. Bronzer, blush, and eyeshadow will sometimes get a film over the surface making it harder to blend or get a color payoff. Eyeliner will harden and can hurt the eye, while mascara will get clumpy and flakes when it’s time to be swapped out. Lipstick and gloss have a distinctly bad smell when they have turned bad.

Switch Out Your Makeup Tools

Most of us don’t wash our makeup brushes as often as we should (you should really wash them with warm water and a little soap after every use), but this next fact might shock you. According to a recent study conducted by Byrdie, makeup brushes can have more bacteria on them than an iPhone. The shocking study released photos that show how dirty makeup brushes and tools really are covered in fuzzy mold, fungus, and bacteria. Gross, yes. But the takeaway is to stay on top of sanitization. “And when the bristles on your makeup brushes feel harsh, or the hair starts to shed, it’s time to replace,” says Stern. The key is to pay attention to how they feel, and how long they last will depend on how often you wash them.

Swap Winter Beauty For Summer

Narrowing down your skin care collection is certainly tough. “I think you should really stick to your tried and trues, but if something is sitting in your closet and you haven't reached for it for over a year...then you should probably toss it out,” says Dr. Idriss.

As for types of formulas to rotate out “thicker, richer emollients and creams are probably the ones that you're going to want to swap out for more lightweight ingredients and product,” advises the derm. In spring, you can start rotating in retinols. “Your skin barrier is going to be, hopefully, less inflamed, but with that being said, you have to make sure that you're following it up with sunscreen in the morning,” advises the pro.

As for makeup, it’s always a good idea to check in and possibly replace an old mascara or concealer. “You’ll also want to clear out any makeup that’s too dark or rich; spring is about brightening and softening your colors,” says Stern. Add in any lipsticks, blushes, bronzers, or highlighters that add “fresh pops of color that really aid the feeling of change and renewal,” she explains. You may also want to consider swapping out your winter foundation for a shade or two darker in anticipation for any summer tanning.

Keep Things Organized

Once you’ve done all the leg work of sifting through old products, keep them organized. The more diligent you are the more you’ll be able to see what products you have and you’ll be able to go through them quicker. If you buy something and don’t like it, toss it or give it away. Only keep what you need and keep caps securely closed. Happy spring cleaning!