Be honest: When was the last time you cleaned out your beauty bag? From expired mascaras to dirty makeup brushes, there's probably a good amount of clutter you've been meaning to get rid of that's getting in the way of the items you actually use.
If you don't want to keep pushing off all of that overdue cleaning, Cosmopolitan Beauty Editor-at-Large Julee Wilson stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share what you need to know to get it done — plus, the items you should add to cart once you do.
As a general rule of thumb, Wilson recommends letting go of anything you've had in your bag for over a year. However, that time frame is shorter for eye makeup (which should be thrown away if older than six months) and makeup sponges (which should be replaced every 3-4 months). But when in doubt, look at the expiration date.
As for fragrances, Wilson says they have a shelf-life of five years if left out of sunlight. Though, she still recommends sticking to your favorites and using them up before they expire (or you start shopping for new ones!).
Keep reading for even more insight from beauty experts, along with the best picks to check out. To shop this article by category, click on the links below:
- Best beauty products as seen on the 3rd hour of TODAY
- Best beauty cleaning products
- Best foundations and concealers
- Best eye makeup
- Best lipsticks and gloss
- Best makeup applicators
- Best serums and moisturizers
Best beauty products as seen on the 3rd hour of TODAY
When it comes to replacing your lip color, Wilson recommends reaching for this 2-in-1 lip treatment. It's both a lip oil and a nourishing gloss (it's formulated with baobab-seed oil and camellia oil) and comes in a "universally flattering" tint. The product has been all over Instagram, Wilson says, and went viral shortly after launching.
Your mascara "should definitely" be replaced every six months, Wilson said. The next time you need to grab a new one, she suggests reaching for this Grande Cosmetics bottle. The brand says it can help with volume as well as lash growth, thanks to the peptides in the formula.
Vitamin C can be a great bonus to your skin care routine — but Wilson says the ingredient is "super unstable." So, if you haven't turned to your serum within the last few months, it likely isn't going to do you any favors. Toss your old one and upgrade to this serum, which can be used daily.
If your go-to products aren't helping your summer hair, Wilson has a beauty PSA: Make this strengthening treatment a staple in your hair care routine "ASAP." The Briogeo product is fortified with rice water protein, rosehip oil and other hair-loving ingredients that are said to nourish damaged strands.
When it comes to keeping all of your new additions organized, Wilson suggests this display case where "fashion meets function." The smart design can help keep your brushes and cosmetics from gathering dust or being exposed to water, but it can also look chic on any countertop or vanity.
When should I replace my makeup?
Not only will expired beauty products be less effective, but they can potentially lead to irritation and infection if contaminated with bacteria, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Shop TODAY.
According to Zeichner, things that come into direct contact with your skin, like mascara or eyeliner need to be replaced more often than other products. It's recommended that you replace mascara every three months, lipsticks every year and eyeliner every three to six months (though pencils last longer than liquids). Primers and foundations usually last about two years, Zeichner said, and powdered products like blush and eye shadow are typically the same.
As for your skin care products, lotions and creams in pump bottles can last more than a year, while those that you scoop out with your fingers typically last six to nine months, since bacteria is more likely to grow there.
Dirty application tools can also cause similar issues, so while you should be washing your sponges and brushes weekly, it's also a good practice to replace them every few months, said Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey.
For even more expert recommendations on what products to reach for when replacing old makeup and skin care, TODAY tapped lifestyle and beauty expert Ami Desai, who also previously stopped by Hoda & Jenna. She shared some helpful tips and finds to keep your beauty cabinet clean and fresh, which you can check out below.
Best beauty cleaning products
If your skin is already blemish-prone, putting a dirty brush on your skin might just make things worse. A spray cleanser is an easy fix for any brush that needs a quick clean in a pinch. All you’ll need to do is spray the brush head (avoiding the glue, Desai says) and swirl it onto a paper towel until no more makeup comes off of the brush. Desai’s pick? She says IT Cosmetics’ brush cleaner is an affordable option.
If you use a BeautyBlender to apply foundation or concealer, you’ll notice that it gets very dirty, very easily. While you can get away with using soap and water, you’ll need a solid cleanser to really remove the dirt and grime and stains that build up over time. Desai recommends immersing the sponge in water, adding a few drops of BeautyBlender’s cleanser and then letting it sit overnight. In the morning, all you’ll need to do is give it a few squeezes and then jump right into your beauty regimen.
Keeping all of your makeup products on display can help you remember to keep them clean. Desai says a spinning makeup organizer that you can customize to your preferred height is one way to keep things within sight and in mind. However, it’s just as important to remember that you’ll need to clean the organizer to prevent dirt and buildup, too.
Yes, your facial cleanser can double as a cleanser for your makeup brushes and sponges! Not only can it give your skin the treatment it deserves, but it can also give your products the refresh they need.
In addition to a cleanser, Desai says she uses tea tree oil to give an extra boost to the cleansing process. In addition to giving your brushes a great scent, Desai says it is also anti-microbial and helps kill bacteria that can cause acne.
Best foundations and concealers
Cover blemishes, redness and dark spots with this top-rated concealer. According to Maybelline, the oil-free formula blends in seamlessly and won't clog your pores. The brand recommends ordering one that's one to two shades lighter than your foundation.
This affordable concealer went viral on TikTok after one woman posted a video using the product and comparing it to a popular, more expensive option. When applied to under eyes or other problem areas, it provides an instant boost of brightness. It has a brush tip for easy application and features skin-friendly ingredients, like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
Available in 50 shades, this medium-coverage foundation is designed to provide a matte, shine-free finish. It's resistant to sweat and humidity and won't cause breakouts after all-day wear, according to the brand.
Best lipsticks and gloss
From natural nudes to bold reds, this bestselling lipstick comes in colors to match all of your moods. It has more than 7,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and reviewers say that they love how long it lasts as well as all the shade options (with many people saying they own multiple).
Best eye makeup
A TODAY shopper favorite and a consistent bestseller on Amazon, this mascara is deserving of its royal title. It's not just because it's super affordable, although that definitely helps. It has more than 182,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, with shoppers raving about how long and voluminous their lashes look after application.
Plenty of our current favorite beauty products were found on TikTok, including this bestselling mascara. The "#skyhighmascara" hashtag has more than 622.5 million views on the platform. One user called it her "new favorite mascara" while another said, "I have not been this excited about a mascara in a long time."
Master your cat-eye with this waterproof eyeliner, which lasts for up to 24 hours. It has a built-in sharpener which will help to ensure that you always get crisp, smooth lines, and it's available in eight different shades to help you create a range of looks.
This palette includes warm and cool neutrals that can be worn every day. The clay-infused formula goes on like a cream and will never look chalky or patchy, according to the brand.
When you want a bolder look, reach for this palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills. It features 14 shades, from the shimmering Primavera to the bright pink Love Letter, that will take you from day to night.
Best makeup applicators
From an angled brush to a lash and eyebrow comb, this 16-piece set contains just about every beauty brush you could possibly need. Each one is made with soft, synthetic fibers for a smooth application. Just don't forget to give them a good clean every week.
This makeup artist-approved tool can be used to blend foundation and concealers, apply powders and more. It can be used wet or dry, and the precision tip allows you to target specific problem areas, while the rounded side is great for all-over blending.
Best serums and moisturizers
We previously spoke to three dermatologists who all said that they use this product in their daily routines, so you know it has to be good. The formula is great for anyone with sensitive skin, as well as those who deal with dryness. It contains a high concentration of ceramide 3, niacinamide and glycerin to hydrate and restore the skin's moisture barrier.
Give your skin an intense dose of moisture while you sleep with this Skin Renewing Night Cream. Suitable for all skin types, the formula features a peptide complex to help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles as well as hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin, so you'll wake feeling renewed and refreshed.
With a No. 1 Amazon ranking in bestselling Eye Treatment Creams and more than 61,000 five-star reviews, this popular moisturizer is no joke. Users can't get enough of the ultra-hydrating gel formula.
At one point, one bottle of this serum was sold every 60 seconds. Made with 1.5 percent pure hyaluronic acid, the hydrating serum is said to absorb quickly to visibly plump skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
One Shop TODAY writer who put this bestselling serum to the test said she saw a noticeable change in the brightness of her skin in less than a week. Along with its brightening abilities, the serum — which blends vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and jojoba oil — is said to help improve signs of aging and prevent future damage.
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