How can I spring clean my beauty stash effectively?

How can I spring clean my beauty stash effectively?

As the year is drawing to a close, this would be a good time to clear your beauty cabinets and dressers of rancid and expired products.

Here are some rules to stick to.

Some products come with the manufacturing or use-by date stated on the packaging.

Others are marked with an open jar logo and text that states how long you can use the product after it is opened. For example, "24M" means 24 months.

But you would most probably throw out the box or plastic wrapping after opening the new product.

So make it a good habit to label each bottle, tube or jar with its manufacturing or use-by date, as well as the date it was opened.

If you have no idea when the product was manufactured or its use-by date, look for its batch code. These codes - with three to 11 digits - are usually embossed on the bottom of the box or crimp of the tube, or printed on the underside of the product.

Key these codes into websites that will help you to determine the manufacturing date of the products. These useful sites include and

However, these sites offer a general guideline and only certain products from popular brands such as Chanel, Dior, Kose and L'Oreal are supported.

Contact the brands directly if you need further verification.

When in doubt, dump it.

Especially if the product looks or smells weird, is covered in strange spots or have an unusual texture. To steer clear of a beauty wasteland piling up in your bathroom or make-up pouch, here is what to do.

Buy new beauty products only after you have emptied out the previous ones.

Do not break the seal of a new product unless you are going to use it frequently.

Cap all products properly and tightly after use.

Store products in a cool and dark area.

Always use a clean spatula to scoop creams out of jars.

For make-up, keep your powder compacts and eyeshadow pots clean by swiping the top layer of the powder gently with tissue paper after each use. It also helps if you keep your brushes clean by washing them once every couple of days.

Never use lipstick on oily or dirty lips, and swipe the lipstick with a piece of tissue after every use.

Keep the brushes of pen highlighters, lipglosses, liquid concealers and liquid lipstick applicators clean by not applying them directly onto your greasy face or lips.

Instead, dispense the product onto a clean spatula or clean skin on the back of your hand, pick it up with a separate brush, and apply to face or lips.

This article was first published on Nov 28, 2014. Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.