Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet

Spring has crept up on us, and along with it the natural shedding of layers and clutter. Articles of clothing we’ve been hoarding over the winter are now bound for donation bins, sunscreen is becoming top of mind (as it should be year-round!), and we’re all starting to return to outdoor activities like biking, running, and — our personal favorite — beach-bumming.

We’re kickstarting our layer-shedding with this quick guide on how to declutter your medicine cabinet. We reached out to our Chief Dermatologist, Dr. Robin Schaffran, for her advice on when to chuck items from your bathroom counter, since they tend to add up until you’re drowning (and quite frankly, dripping) in products.


Here’s a simple guide to sorting through your bathroom products:

Product Designed to Last Dr. Schaffran's Explanation


About a year

Products where you dip your finger to apply to the skin are more susceptible to bacterial contamination than lotions with a pump. Those with less preservatives (i.e. more “natural” or made for sensitive skin) are not going to last as long. It’s better to use applicators that don’t involve putting your fingers back into the product. If you notice foundation starting to separate, it’s time to toss it.


About a year

Similar to foundation, avoid touching the applicator with your fingers.

Blush and powdered products (e.g. eyeshadow and highlighter)

Up to 2 years

It’s best to keep brushes clean so as not to put germs into the product.


1 year (or sooner if they get dried out or goopy.)

Store in a cool, dry place to make them last longer.

Eye pencils

6 months to 1 year

Pencils last longer than most eye products because they are constantly being sharpened.


3 months

It’s very important to replace mascara regularly to avoid eye infections. Dr. Schaffran suggests sooner than 3 months if you notice it getting clumpy or smelling funny.

Liquid eyeliner

3 months

Similar to mascara, liquid eyeliner applicators harbour bacteria because they touch the skin near the eye and are re-inserted into the product.

Topical skincare medications

See expiration date

There usually is an expiration date listed on the crimp of the tube of a topical medication. This is a legal requirement for the manufacturer, and although the medicine may lose some efficacy after this date, it’s unlikely to be unsafe. Don’t keep it past 1 year after the expiry date.


Some overall best practices we recommend? Close your products tightly after each use to avoid unnecessary air exposure. Store away from natural sunlight in a dark, dry place. Regularly wash your makeup brushes and sponge applicators with antibacterial soap. Keep your fingers away from the neck of the bottle and instead drip the product onto your hand before applying. And never, ever share your mascara with anyone.


How to recycle properly

Did you know that many cosmetics companies have introduced a recycling program? Beauty brands like LUSH and Bareminerals offer their own reward programs, where if you return empties, you can win rewards. Other companies like Burt’s Bees, EOS, and Garnier have partnered with Terracycle to tackle waste. Be sure to check out these initiatives before tossing your products in the trash. Or consider donating unopened or lightly used cosmetics to your local Goodwill thrift store.

Many pharmacies offer drug take back programs for responsible medication and health product disposal.

And of course, ClearBalm bottles are made with up to 50% post-consumer recycled materials, and are recyclable after use. Our cartons are produced using wind power and are also recyclable.

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