It’s Time to Clean House, Part 3: Check the Expiration Dates

Out with the old! In with the new! Have your body care products expired?

It’s always wise to check the expiration dates. As governments become more aware of health and safety, new laws require manufacturers to label packaging with the production dates and the expected date that the product will no longer be effective. Sometimes that means the product may become dangerous after that date.

Often abbreviated “Exp.,” the date that follows that abbreviation will be the manufacturer’s suggestion of when the product should no longer be used. Of course, if cosmetics are kept tightly sealed and you know the date you opened them, you can figure from that date.

Tip: Use a permanent market to write the date you opened a product right on it! That way you’ll always know when it’s time to throw it away.

If you can’t find an expiration date listed on the packaging, manufacturers also organize their products by batch numbers, which include production dates. You can then calculate the shelf life of the product from that date.

You can find “cosmetic calculators” online which can give you a good estimate of the date of manufacture for many brands. You enter the batch number and the calculator will return the production date. Then you can add the months to figure out the expiration date.

Recommended general period after opening (discard after these times):

    Natural and Organic products – up to 6 months to 1 year
    Mascara – 3-6 months
    Liquid eyeliner – from 3 to 4 months
    Solid eyeliner and eyebrow pencil – from 6 to 8 months
    Pencil (Eye, Lip) – about 1 year
    Lipstick, lip gloss – 1 year
    Skin care products (hydrating cosmetics, wrinkle care, eye contour, etc.) in a sealed packet – 1 year
    Skin care lotions or creams in a jar – from 6 to 10 months
    Powders (including blush, eye shadows, face powder) – 1 to 3 years
    Foundation in a jar or a cream powder – 1 to 3 years
    Sun cosmetics – 1 year (but no more than one season)
    Perfumes – up to 3 years

And while you’re ‘clutter clearing,’ make plans to deal with those nagging skin or hair problems that you haven’t had time to handle before. Get that scalp cleanser and an exfoliating mask, and do a deep cleansing of your hair and face. Follow up with hydrating oils and serums that renew your cells.

You’ll feel so clean and refreshed – like a new person — a great way to start the year!

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /

By Teviot Fairservis.


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It’s Time to Clean House, Part 2: Sterilize your Beauty Tools

How clean is that sponge you use to smooth on your foundation?

For your beauty, health and safety, check the condition of your beauty products. It’s a good practice to always check your products before using them. But there always seems to be items you use only occasionally or not at all. Why not get out one of those shiny new calendars for 2013 and schedule a Beauty Products check every 3 months or so?

The French National Institute for Consumers INC warns cosmetics should not be used if they show any visible changes in color, texture, or odor. Give products the sight, smell, and touch tests: does the product look like new? Does it smell right?

Here’s a test tip: Put a tiny amount of the product on the underside of your arm and leave it there for an hour; do you see any changes on your skin? You might be allergic or the product may have turned. This is also a good idea whenever trying out a new product, especially anything you will put on your face – you don’t want to be heading out on a date or to your job with splotches or rashes or allergy burns!

Climate can affect your personal care products. If you store items in a bathroom, they can be exposed to high humidity, which can promote bacterial growth. Temperatures in closets can rise. Even extended exposure to air can cause powders to crumble and lotions to sour.

According to dermatologists, the higher the water content of the product, the shorter the shelf life — and the greater the possibility of bacterial growth.

Mascara and eyeliner should be renewed after 3 months because tears contain bacteria and dead cells. After touching your eyelashes and returning the wand to its container, bacteria can grow very quickly inside the closed tubes.

Clean and sterilize your body care tools. Of course, you regularly wash towels and washcloths in the laundry but how often do you clean sponges, brushes, and your other beauty tools? Something for your calendar – once a week or at least once a month, you should sterilize anything you use regularly. Throw out anything that gets old but by cleaning your sponges, powder puffs, and other tools of your beauty regime, they will last longer and be safer to use.

Cleaning tips for beauty tools:

  • Wash out your makeup and hair brushes regularly with dish detergent or shampoo.
  • Sponges and powder puffs can be boiled in hot water on the stove.
  • Metal tools like tweezers, cuticle sticks, nail clippers, and other items can go in the boiling pot as well (but no plastics as they’ll melt)
  • Plastic tools can be microwaved.
  • All tools can be sterilized in an alcohol bath but anything that will touch your face (especially those used around the eyes) should be rinsed with clean water before use.
  • Lipsticks, eye pencils, and other wax-based products can be dunked in or left overnight in mouthwash (toothbrushes, too!).
  • Use vinegar, alcohol, or even window cleaner to wipe off the exteriors of glass and plastic bottles and cases – anywhere your hand touches, you leave or pick up germs.
  • Mouthwash and vinegar are among the safest solutions to sterilize items that touch your skin. Just be sure to rinse well with water afterwards.

Schedule routine cleanings to be sure your beauty tools are really super-clean whenever you use them.

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /

By Teviot Fairservis.


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It’s Time to Clean House, Part 1: A New Year, A New You!

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a magic wand and could just instantly become “a new you for the New Year?”

Well, it always takes a bit more work than that but now that the New Year has started, it’s a good time to clean house. It’s time to update your look and renew the ‘magic wands’ you use to get that look.

Somehow you always feel lighter after doing some serious cleaning and re-organizing. Move that bookcase and get the dust bunnies out from under it. Wipe down the tops of shelves and closets. Reach way into the backs of cabinets and chase out spiders. Give away or sell any clothes you haven’t worn in the last year.

Go through your collection of makeup, skin and hair care products (you know you have one. Clean and clear away the old and make room for new products that help create the new, updated you.

One good ‘clutter clearing’ tip is to throw out anything your hands haven’t touched in a year. Make three piles: use, trash, or donate. Then be sure to take action!

Think about designing a new look for the coming year. Purchase new items that will make you feel really beautiful — and get rid of anything outdated or expired.

Take some time to go through your cosmetics and personal care products. Do the colors of your eye shadows really suit you? Do you have tubes of lipstick or foundations that you never use because you don’t like the taste, texture, or the color is just too bland or too bold? It’s time for them to go.

Did you find unopened boxes or items still in near-perfect condition? Open and use them or give them away to someone – they’ll (usually) appreciate the gift.

Give yourself the gift of a “New You” – What do you want to look like and feel like this coming year?

Image courtesy of marin /

By Teviot Fairservis.


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Your Beautiful Skin, Part 5: Absorption or Protection?

Did you know? Your skin is the most absorbent organ of all your body parts. In other words, what you put on your skin is absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream than if you swallow it!

Talking to a professional nurse the other day, she told me some interesting facts – more reasons to choose the safest skincare products made from pure, natural ingredients.

How do substances get into your body? Inhalation through the mouth and nose into the lungs, ingestion when you swallow something down your throat into your stomach, or localized injection anywhere through your skin into your tissues (ouch!). Or they are absorbed through your skin.

At the microscopic level, your skin is actively changing all the time. The top layer of cells – the epidermis – is constantly being renewed and dying off – at a rate of every 7 days or so. These outer cells contain a substance called “keratin” which forms a fibrous layer that gives protection from mechanical injury, hazardous chemicals, and bacterial invasion. Secretions from sebaceous and sweat glands add to the protective barrier. Those who curse their oily skin may actually be better protected than the folks who battle dryness.

Your skin does offer a lot of protection between you and the outside world, but is it enough? Our environment has become increasingly polluted – when it rains, you would be surprised at the number of pollutants that come down from the sky. We work with harsh chemicals to clean our homes. Our skin comes in contact with detergents, bleach, acids, latex and polyester, etc…

A number of factors can affect the rate of absorption: the level of concentration and pH of a given substance, the length of time of contact, the solubility of the substance and the physical condition of the skin. All these factors play into how fast a chemical or bacteria can move through the protective cell walls and into your bloodstream.

What happens when you bathe or shower? You wash away all that protection. Your skin and your body becomes vulnerable. That’s an important reason why you should follow up with a protective moisturizer every time you wash.

It’s also another important reason why you should choose the skin care products that you use very carefully. That’s why Paul Penders uses only pure natural organic ingredients to ensure you are getting safe and effective skin care.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

By Teviot Fairservis.


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The Wonderful Healing Properties of Calendula in Skincare

Calendula (Calendula officinalis), the pot marigold, is a great herb for skin care and has perhaps the longest history of use of any herb in skin care. Calendula is most widely used for skin and digestive issues, but also for menstrual symptoms.
The useful components of calendula include carotenoids, flavonoids, mucilage, resin, polysaccharides, and aromatic plant acids. Extracts of calendula can include an infused oil, alcohol tincture, water soluble tea, or distilled and used as essential oil or watery distillate (hydrolate).

Calendula is probably best used for chapped and otherwise irritated skin. Reason too why in Europe it id widely used for baby products and also in hand and foot creams. The oil soluble components including the essential oil seem especially good at stimulating wound healing. Scientific studies find that extracts of calendula speed the healing of skin wounds and burns. Calendula ointment has also been used to decrease dermatitis following skin irradiation for breast cancer.
Much of the healing properties of calendula are because of its high levels of carotenoids (vitamin A like compounds). Because these compounds are oil soluble, an infused oil is a good way to go. Calendula also contains oil soluble sterols that help plump the skin and keep it thick.

An infused calendula oil is easily made by filling a jar with dried calendula flowers and covering the flowers with olive oil. Let this oil set (infuse) for two weeks shaking it periodically to help extract the properties from the flowers. When ready to use, filter the oil through cheesecloth.
You can use this oil directly in a balm or as part of the oil portion of a cream or lotion. This infused oil can help with skin regeneration, diaper rash, sunburn, bed sores and various inflammatory conditions.

Paul Penders Rosemary & Calendula Cleansing Milk
A natural herbal facial cleanser formulated to effectively remove surface dirt and impurities for all skin types. Contains fine plant-derived oils, including calendula oil, as well as uplifting rosemary essential oil. It gently cleanses leaving the skin soft, smooth, and noticeably clearer. Includes LevensESSENTIE Gold® – a mixture of 22 certified organically grown herbs – a traditional formulation which is the pride of Paul Penders.

Rosemary & Calendula Cleansing Milk US style ingredients listing:
Aqua/Water, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui)Seed Oil, Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Cera, Sorbic Acid, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Angelica Archangelica (Angelica) Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elderflower) Flower Extract, Zingiber Officinalis (Ginger) Root Extract, Panax Quinquefolium (Ginseng) Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Equisetum Hyemale (Horsetail) Extract, Juniperus Communis (Juniper) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Centella Asiatica (Pennywort) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Flower Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort) Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Archillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Dulcis Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Linun Usitatissimun (Flaxseed/Linseed) Seed Oil, Tocotrienol Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate,Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone), Retinyl Palmitate.
Rosemary & Calendula Cleansing Milk EU style ingredients listing:
Aqua, Cocos nucifera Water, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Cetearyl olivate, Sorbitan olivate, Aleurites moluccana Seed Oil, Rosemarinus officinalis Leaf Oil, Oryza sativa Bran Cera, Sorbic acid, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) flower extract, Ascorbic acid, Angelica archangelica (Angelica) extract, Arnica montana (Arnica) flower extract, Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) flower extract, Sambucus nigra (Elderflower) flower extract, Zingiber officinalis (Ginger) root extract, Panax quinquefolium (Ginseng) root extract, Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle) extract, Humulus lupulus (Hops) extract, Equeisetum hyemale (Horsetail) extract, Juniperus communis (Juniper) fruit extract, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) flower extract, Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) leaf extract, Urtica dioica (Nettle) extract, Centella asiatica (Pennywort) extract, Mentha piperita (Peppermint) leaf extract, Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) flower extract, Salvia officinalis (Sage) extract, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) extract, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) root extract, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel) extract, Archillea millefolium (Yarrow) extract, Prunus amygdalus dulcis Oil, Xanthan gum, Cananga odorata Oil, Citrus grandis seed extract, Linun usitatissimun Seed Oil, Tocotrienol tocopherol, Tocopheryl acetate,Carthamus tinctorius Seed Oil, Ananas sativus fruit extract, Carica papaya fruit extract, Ubiquinone, Retinyl palmitate.