Makeup has many positive attributes, but not many are cognizant of its few pitfalls, expiration dates being one of the biggest. Most products are designed to last anywhere from 12-18 months at best, but that doesn't mean they can't become contaminated before then. Germ-prone areas such as your eyes, mouth and fingers are in constant contact with your makeup or its applicators, making them breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause more serious dermatological issues. As a general makeup rule of thumb, you should dispose of any makeup, cleansers or moisturizers that have changed color, consistency or develop a bad odor.
Here are the most common makeup items in your bag that you may want to think about replacing:
- Mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria. We all have "microbial eyelash mites" and if we continue to use the same mascara on them for a long period of time, they can clog up and cause an infection.
Pencils can last several years unless you wet the tip with saliva or water. You can nearly triple the lifespan of your pencils by sharpening them every so often to keep them sanitized. The warmth of the sharpening friction can also keep the pigment softer for a longer period of time. However, if the lip or eye pencil starts to crumble or is severely dry that it can no longer glide on your skin properly, it’s time for a new one.
Cream or liquid concealer and foundations can last up to a year if you use a sponge to apply it. Otherwise, both foundation and concealers should be thrown out six months after purchase. If you notice a funny smell or if the concealer or foundation begins to separate - part of the concealer will look like water and the other will be thick and dry - you really should throw it out immediately. Shake up the bottles every so often so the product doesn't start to separate early. You can tissue off the top layer of these powders every so often to keep the colors fresh and bacteria-free. Loose powders should be thrown away a year after purchase. If your stick concealer or foundation becomes dry and starts to break apart when you use it, it’s a sign that bacteria is forming. If the texture and pigment begin to change and you find it harder to use the product, toss it.
Powder blush should be discarded a year after purchase. If you notice excessive clumping or flaking of the blush, then you really should throw it out and replace it.
Lipstick and Lipgloss typically last 6 to 8 months, but wiping off the bullet with a tissue and 70% alcohol every so often to sanitize can lengthen the lifespan by up to 14 months. If you see beads of formula separating on the lipstick or the product becomes harder and drier, it’s time for a new one. With lipgloss, the constant swiveling and swishing in and out of the container is another breeding ground for collecting bacteria. If the gloss changes in its taste and smell, toss it. If the gloss has a doe-foot applicator, it’s best to throw it out when it hits 6 months.
Facial cleansers and moisturizers
Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. Toss after six months.
Your overall health and skin health depends on your makeup and routinely sorting though it and discarding expired products. The next time you go to a store to acquire your makeup make sure to look for the expiration date on the box or bottle of the product. It may also be a good practice to put plainly visible expiration date labels on your makeup products to know when to throw them out. Also, be sure to store your cosmetics in a cool, dry place outside of the bathroom to extend their shelf life.
So if you have makeup sitting around that you’ve had for a while, go ahead and get rid of it and replace it. Your skin will thank you and it’s always great to try new products!