It’s depressing, but true: All good things must come to an end. Okay, maybe that’s a tad dramatic. However, in many cases, it holds true—it even pertains to your beauty routine. Most of your beauty tools aren’t meant to last forever. While they may not actually expire, in order to keep things hygienic and working their best, you should replace tools regularly. Exactly how often they need to be replaced depends on the tool in question. Below, we’re breaking down when to toss everything from your razor to your toothbrush.
WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR RAZOR
Who hasn’t heard that razors need to be replaced regularly? It’s one of the first rules of shaving that you learn, right after you go over shaving with the grain. Of course, whether you do it often enough is another topic entirely. Razor blades can get pricey, and you might not be inclined to keep purchasing them if it doesn’t seem 100% necessary.
However, keeping your razor for too long can have adverse effects. First, it isn’t hygienic to use the same one for too long. Second, the more you use a razor, the duller its blades become. This means that over time, the razor won’t work as well. It’s hard to get a close shave, and you’re more likely to cut yourself. Do yourself a favor and replace your razor before you get to that point.
Disposable Razors: How often you need a new razor will vary depending on whether you shave every day, every other day, or less frequently. Daily shavers should switch to a new disposable razor about once per week. If you shave every other day, your razor will be ready for a replacement after about two weeks.
Another way to think about when to get a new disposable is based on how many shaves it’s been used for. A disposable razor is good for about seven uses. Remember, disposable razors are meant to be just that—disposable. They aren’t intended for long-term use.
Razor Blades: If you have a razor handle and buy replacement blades instead of using disposables, you can keep the handle for pretty much forever. Just make sure to clean it like any other beauty tool. As for the blades, you can follow the same guidelines that apply to disposable razors. After about seven to ten uses, release the blade and pop on a new one.
Even if you track how long you’ve been using a razor, you may find that you could use a replacement earlier than expected. This could be due to the coarseness of your hair or how long you go between shaves. If you notice a blade isn’t as sharp as it once was and it’s taking more effort to remove the hair, you should use a new one.
WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR LOOFAH
There’s a lot of talk about whether loofahs are gross and bacteria-filled. We even wrote an article about it: Is Your Shower Loofah Covering You in Bacteria? The truth is, over time, bacteria can most-definitely build up on your loofah. The warm, wet environment in your shower may even make things worse. When using a loofah, it’s important to wring out excess water and make sure it dries out completely between uses. You can also clean them with bleach. Still, you should replace yours regularly. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when to replace a loofah depends on what it’s made out of. A natural loofah can be used for three to four weeks, while one made of plastic can last up to two months.
WHEN TO REPLACE MAKEUP SPONGES
It’s not an exaggeration to say that introducing a makeup sponge to your makeup routine is life-changing. Suddenly, your foundation applies easier and looks better. Soon, you’re recommending the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender to everyone you know. But you can’t keep using the same one forever. Sponges should be replaced once every three months.
If you have trouble keeping track of when a new sponge is necessary, consider this: Mascara should also be replaced about every three months. Try to time it so you can start using a new sponge and a new mascara at the same time, and it’ll be a little easier to remember.
Keep in mind, a sponge only lasts three months if you take care of it. You should clean a makeup sponge at least once per week. If not, it will hold old makeup, oils, and bacteria. Not only is this not very hygienic, but it can also lead to breakouts, and you’ll find the sponge doesn’t apply your foundation quite as perfectly as it once did.
WHEN TO REPLACE REUSABLE COTTON PADS
You toss regular cotton pads after every use—at least that’s what we hope you do. You can’t exactly wash and reuse them. That’s why reusable cotton pads have to exist. Lately, these fabric makeup remover pads have become increasingly popular as people try to follow beauty routines that create less waste. The question is, do they still need to be replaced eventually?
This is the deal: You won’t use the same towel or washcloth forever. Eventually, it will become worn out, and you’ll buy something new. This is what will happen with reusable cotton rounds. However, you won’t need to replace them after a set amount of time or for hygiene reasons. The pads can be washed after each use to keep them clean. Make sure the ones you’ve purchased are machine washable, then throw them in with your towel load.
WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH
You don’t want to put anything that’s past its prime in your mouth, and this certainly holds true for your toothbrush. The American Dental Association states that you should replace your toothbrush (or brush head, if you use an electric one) every three to four months. If you find that the bristles on your toothbrush get frayed after less than three months (you probably brush aggressively!), you should grab a replacement once you notice the fraying, regardless of how long it’s been.