As spring approaches, many are looking to start fresh and revitalise their homes by cleaning, decluttering and disposing of items that not longer serve.
One area that demands attention is the bathroom cabinet – specifically the hoards of barely-used beauty products.
Beauty editor and host of Gritty Pretty Radio, Erin Cook, said the pandemic has seen beauty industry sales skyrocket.
“Everyone has been shopping a lot for beauty at the moment, especially with lockdown,” Ms Cook told The New Daily.
“Beauty and skincare is something you can do at home so we’ve all been researching it and stocking up.”
Less is more
When condensing your skincare and make-up products, the first thing to do is work out which products have expired.
Yes, that means saying goodbye to the moisturiser from 2014 and the mascara you bought when Kevin Rudd was still in office.
Experimenting with new ingredients, researching new products and testing out DIY facials has turned many skincare addicts into pseudo-chemists, but we may not actually need every product we collected.
“There’s so many products to choose from and it can get really overwhelming, even for a beauty editor like me who works in the industry full time,” Ms Cook said.
If you’re a skincare novice, or you’re overwhelmed by all the products available, you’re not alone.
Spending your money on the right product is tricky, but there are some areas you can prioritise over others if you know where to cut corners and where to splurge.
“You need a cleanser, whether you’re wearing make-up or not wearing make-up, you need to wash your face twice a day,” Ms Cook said.
“Everyone needs a moisturiser, just for hydration and to lock everything in … and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone in the beauty industry who doesn’t recommend sunscreen.”
But just because they are necessities, doesn’t mean you need to drop half your pay check on them.
“Cleanser goes down the drain, it doesn’t stay on your face for long so if you want to go budget with something, go budget with your cleanser – and there are some good budget cleansers on the market,” she said.
Brands like Cerave and Paula’s Choice offer effective and inexpensive cleansers that can also be used on sensitive skin.
“Moisturiser is something you can definitely save on, so in this category I would look to the French pharmacy brands which are pretty readily available.”
“A brand like Avene or La Roche-Posay, you can pick them up online, or from a supermarket, or from Chemist Warehouse.”
The money you save on cleansers and moisturisers can be redirected into good quality serums and exfoliants.
“Serum is something that does the heavy lifting in your routine, and it’s the second step, after cleansing – if I was going to spend money on anything, I would spend money on my serums,” Ms Cook said.
“Serums are really the ones that are going to change your skin and they can be really adaptive to your skin type or your skin concerns.”
With exfoliants, rather than looking for abrasive physical scrubs that can cause micro-tears and spread bacteria, opting for products with salicylic acid, lactic acid or glycolic acid will get the job done.
Once you have culled unnecessary and expired products from your routine, there are some things to steer clear of for future purchases.
Many products include fragrance which smells fantastic and makes your nightly skincare routine feel extra special.
But every rose has its thorns, and fragrance can be a common skin irritant and may cause breakouts and inflammation, so it’s best to avoid it where you can.
If you have break-out prone skin, you should also consider switching away from skincare that comes in tubs or jars, in favour of squeeze-tubes and pumps.
As well as being unhygienic (dipping your dirty fingers into your moisturisers everyday is a one-way ticket to Bacteria City), oxygen exposure can also degrade the molecular integrity of the ingredients and render the product ineffective.