Shelf Life In the Bathroom

Thank you so much to everyone who sent sweet birthday wishes my way yesterday. Your comments, tweets, etc, made me feel super special, and helped make my day a wonderful one.

Moving right along to our regularly scheduled programming, today I want to talk “when to toss it,” bathroom style. Below I’ve outlined various products and their shelf life. It’s important information, so naturally everyone and their little Aunt Cindy have already written about it. Thing is, I’ve noticed that all those relatives neglect to mention one crucial element, without which, product’s death dates are pretty useless.

The missing ingredient

Knowing when you’re supposed to replace beauty products is all well and good, but if you can’t remember how long you’ve had something for, how are you supposed to put that information to use? Everyday items get lost in, well, the everyday. Who in the hell remembers when they bought their last toothbrush for certain? “Oh yeah, I’ll never forget that day, June 17th, I was standing in aisle 6 of Target when the purple one with the medium-soft bristles called out to me.” Pshh.

So you have a few options here guys and gals:

Option 1– Write down or record (in whatever calendar format you use) your purchase of an item that needs to be regularly replaced. For example, “April 5- bought new razor.” Done. Boom. This option requires less effort in the moment, and more effort later on. You may still find yourself wondering when you should replace something, but you’ll be able to flip back in your calendar and know definitively when you bought it.

Option 2– When you buy an item, immediately skip forward in your calendar, going out however many weeks/ months the item is set to last. Write down or record on that future day, “buy new toothbrush.” Ka-pow. Mystery eliminated. This option requires more work in the moment, and scores very high on the easy scale later on.

Option 3– If you can write on the item itself, do so. For instance, a shampoo bottle is one you can easily take a sharpie to and jot down its birthdate.

Now for the timelines:


Toothbrushes may be kept for 3-4 months, assuming the bristles stay bristle-y (not worn down or frayed- by the way, if this happens, you may be brushing too hard. Might want to look into that, overzealous.). After a bout of sickness, a toothbrush should be immediately replaced or you run the risk of re-infecting yourself.


A loofah will last you 3-4 weeks before it looses its general oomph, and therefore ability to really get you clean. Longer than this and bacteria can also start to build up in the little crevices, ick.


The shelf life of a razor depends on the frequency of use, the size of the area being shaved, and how thick your hair is. It’s important to pay attention to how your razor feels as you shave- a razor that’s a-okay is one that glides effortlessly over the skin. If you notice any pulling, or your skin seems unusually irritated after shaving, then it’s definitely time to switch your blade out. You can extend the life of your razor by being nice to it. Rinse it with hot water after every use to clear out any hair or shaving cream, and store it in a place where it can air dry. If your razor has rust, toss it.

Body lotion

It’s worthwhile to purchase large pump containers of your favorite body lotions, since they can last 2-3 years.


Pay very close attention to expiration dates on these. If you want to err on the side of caution, toss your block after 6-9 months. If you don’t heed this advice and you end up looking like a ripe tomato, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Deodorants will keep you smelling fresh for up to two years before they should be tossed, any longer than that and…well, you just might not be using enough deodorant.


Officially, perfume should get the boot after two years, although I know plenty of people who keep their cologne’s for much longer and no one seems to mind. I’d say it’s a judgment call, but do take note of any color change or change in scent.

Nail Polish

These wonder jars usually go bad after two years. Similar to perfume, I’d say you can keep them for longer than that if the consistency is still right. If it’s gotten unnaturally thick, it’s time to ditch it.

Hair Products

shampoo, conditioner, and styling products will generally last for about two years. However, if you’re holding onto a half-used container of shampoo from even just six months ago, it seems to me you’ve moved past the product and can probably just give it the old heave hoe.

Skin care products

If your face cream is composed of natural ingredients, it’s probably got a shelf life of 4-6 months. Those products with synthetic ingredients can last up to two years.

Other notes

– Water based products will always spoil faster than alcohol based products.

– Always toss any product that comes into contact with your body after you’ve been sick or had any kind of infection, such as and toothbrushes and mascaras.

– Use color, smell and texture as your main guide when deciding whether a beauty product is still fair game.

Image credits: Birchbox, Real SimpleThe Kind LifeReal SimpleGlamour, The Glitter Guide, More, Martha Stewart

Related Posts:

The Lady’s Guide to Organizing Makeup



  1. This article is a wonderful gentle reminder of the things I need to look through and replace. I am so thankful for it, small things like this can enhance your overall big picture in life.

    Thank you for continuously providing thoughtful and useful content to your loyal readers!

    xo Georgina

    • livesimplybyannie says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I think you’re absolutely right that the small things greatly contribute to our overall well-being. Thanks for the comment Georgina!

  2. chiclittleblackdress says:

    This article was great !! I have a request would you mind doing an article about organizing book shelves are cleaning out jewelry boxs/ drawers?? If you already have these post can you reference me to them!! Thanks

  3. Happy birthday for yesterday Annie! I hope you had a brilliant day getting spoiled :) This is a great post – I always find myself wondering how long I should keep things like nail polish. I like your ideas on remembering when to throw things out too. Have a lovely Easter break xx

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: