Words by Jared Michael Lowe
Let’s face it, no one likes to tackle all the grooming products stored in our bathroom cabinets. Between the crap you received as presents over the years from ex lovers and distant relatives (really, what are you going to do with that decorative black soap from your great aunt?), to the basic necessities that you use to stay so fresh and so clean with, your cabinet probably looks as if a bomb went off in there. In any case, most of your grooming products have expired or are on their way out.
While we can’t help with the mess in your cabinet (sorry bruh, you’re on your own for that), here’s what you should know when it comes to preserving, tossing or replacing those products that’s causing you anxiety.
Moisturizers, Butters, and Creams: It’s best to take extra care of the stuff you slather onto your skin. After a year, throw out any heavy creams, moisturizers or body butters (especially if they’re all natural – most will have an expiration date or “use by” on the back of their jars). Also, to increase their longevity, limit their time exposed to the air. For example, closing the tub’s lid or jar after use to keep them fresher.
Acne Products: The struggle to keep your skin baby soft is already real; you don’t need spoiled products made to remedy your breakouts, also making it worse. A rule of thumb, most acne medications with active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids last between 3- 6 months. But before you re-up, know that if you store them in a very cool place (like your refrigerator) it can slow down the active ingredient decay.
Body Soaps, Shampoos and Conditioners: You’ll be surprised to know that your trusty soap, and shampoo/ conditioner can last longer than most of your grooming products. Shampoos and conditioners can last beyond two years, and unopened bar of soaps and body wash can go as far as three.
Loofahs and Sponges: As crazy as it sounds, you should throw out your loofah and sponge every six weeks. Those water filled holes are a playground for bacteria, and even worse, can cause the skin to irritate if not thrown out after a certain time. Opt for a washcloth or simply sit the loofah outside your shower so they can dry faster post cleanse. Most are relatively inexpensive, so buy in bulk your next time visiting the drugstore aisles.
Antiperspirants: The good news about your deodorant? It’s a natural disinfectant with active ingredients that tend to be pretty stable. So guess what, you can shellac it on under your arms for the next three years and you’ll still smell fresh. You can thank us in the future.
Cologne: If you’re spending a good amount of change for an expensive little bottle of cologne, you want the most bang for your buck. After two years, if the scent starts to lose its smell and/or colors start to lighten, it’s time to toss ’em. To preserve, avoid direct light and store your cologne in a cooler, darker place (like your bedroom) to last longer as light oxidizes it.
Styling Products: All the stuff you use to style your hair don’t last forever regardless of what you’re told. Most beard oils, pomades, and gels have a life expectancy of one year tops, if carefully used and not opened. Avoid using dirty hands to scoop up pomades and gels in tubs and jars as it will cause more bacteria to seep it and damage the product.
Toothpaste, Brush, and Mouthwash: Your mouth already holds a lot of bacteria; you don’t want that stuff that you’re supposed to clean it with to add to the drama. Toothpaste, if unopened, can last up to 2 years just as mouthwash that is sparingly used can last to 3. Your toothbrush is another story. As the brush wears down due to daily use, this causes it to be less effective at removing plaque and calculus that accumulates around the teeth. Most dentists recommend that you should switch up your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months.
Products that are all natural or lists water, as the first ingredient will quickly expire. Monitor them by smell and check for their consistency. Also, check for their expiration dates, many are printed on the back of the packaging or on the actual product container.
Store your grooming products in a cool dark place and not your hot and sweaty bathroom (records show they’ll last longer).
If the product separates, changes color, has a weird consistency upon touch or generally looks funny, chances are they’re expired and you should toss.