Monday, March 14, 2011

When does your makeup expire?

Like everything else, your cosmetics have expiration dates.. but do you know when they are? While some products may not show visible signs of deteriorating, others may dry up or develop an "off" smell. Depending on how your makeup is stored and the way you use the products themselves, your makeup may thrive past its prime or even go bad before it's supposed to!

I was reading an article online about different types of makeup and when it expires, and that made me think about my own collection. Even though I went through and weeded out about 80% of what I had when we moved in January, I still have some eye shadows from when I was in high school. Yikes! But it's hard when you love a color that has been discontinued.. so I'm not going to tell you to throw your products away the day they "expire", but certainly use your best judgement. If something changes consistency or color.. or generally just doesn't look or smell right.. toss it. Immediately.

With that being said, I'm going to give you the expiration guidelines from the other article and some general hygiene tips when it comes to makeup with my own advice sprinkled in.

First and foremost: the shelf life of your makeup begins the second you open the product for the first time.. which is handy if you stock up and buy your makeup in bulk!

A trick the other article listed that I'm going to start doing is to take a small dot sticker and calculate when my new products should be thrown out and write it with a permanent marker, then apply it directly on the product. However, there are some things I use a lot of (eye liners, etc) that I use up before they expire.. but for concealers, mascaras and any loose powder items, I will DEFINITELY be doing this. You can get the stickers in the office supply section of WalMart. And they even have fun neon colors! Super cute!

And now onto the guidelines:

Concealers: Stick concealers and liquid concealers with applicators (packaged like lip glosses in tubes with a wand) should be tossed within 6 months of being opened since they are known to grow bacteria. However, if you use a brush that is cleaned regularly (and does NOT stay in the product) to apply your concealer, you can hang onto your sticks, liquids and compacts for up to 1 year.
Foundation: Liquid, cake and mousse foundation should be thrown away anywhere between 6 months to 1 year after opening. For instance: If you use a liquid foundation with a brush that's cleaned regularly.. you can definitely get a year out of your bottle.
Pressed Powder Cosmetics: These include face powders, bronzers, blushes, and eye shadows and can be safely kept anywhere between 1 year to 18 months.
Lipsticks and Lip Glosses: Unfortunately, these expire after only 1 year. If you use a brush to apply your lipstick, you might be able to push it to 18 months.. but that would be something you'd have to decide for yourself.
Eye and Lip Pencils: If you keep your pencils sharpened regularly and they don't become dry or crumbly, you can easily get 1 year to 18 months out of them. Unfortunately, my pencils never last that long but I guess it's still good to know!
Mascara and Liquid Eyeliner: Ladies, please. I can NOT stress this enough. Mascara MUST be replaced EVERY 3 MONTHS. Personally, I will push my liquid eyeliner to 6 months (if it even lasts that long) but you really should throw that away every 3 months too. If you get an eye infection, throw your mascara, liquid AND pencil eyeliners away IMMEDIATELY and buy new ones after the infection has completely cleared up.
Organic cosmetics: Any all-natural or organic cosmetics must be disposed of after 6 months because they have no preservatives in them to prevent the growth of bacteria.

And finally, here are some general hygienic tips when it comes to getting the most out of your makeup:

  • Always wash your hands before applying your makeup or other face products.
  • If you wear contacts, be sure to put those in after washing your hands and before applying your makeup or other beauty products. You don't want any of your cosmetics getting in your eyes!
  • Never share your makeup. With anyone. Ever.
  • DON'T put your fingers in your products. Use a makeup brush or an applicator to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Speaking of makeup brushes, make sure you clean your brushes weekly using a mild shampoo, brush cleaner, or a gentle face cleanser. Personally, I prefer to clean my foundation brush after every one or two uses.
  • Sponges and sponge tip applicators should be replaced as soon as they become saturated and soiled. On average, they should be replaced once a week.
  • As I've already said, if a product changes color, texture, consistency or smell.. toss it. Immediately.
  • Keep your makeup containers tightly closed and store them in cool, dry places out of direct sunlight.
  • Again, DON'T use your eye products if you have an eye infection and throw what you're currently using away immediately. Buy new products and resume use after your infection has completely cleared.
  • Don't use saliva or water to wet your brushes for a smoother application and never add liquid to a product unless specifically directed to by the manufacturer. Adding liquids can breed bacteria and cause unwanted breakouts and infections. Gross!
  • Lastly, don't sample makeup at beauty counters and stores. If you feel like you must test, always use a clean applicator (cotton swab or sponge tip applicator) to apply the sample. Also try testing products on the back of your hand if at all possible.
Whew! I know that was a lot of information, but hopefully with a little bit of knowledge and proper use, you can be sure to (safely) get the most out of your makeup!



  1. So this is what you spent 45 minutes typing. That's a lot of info.

  2. Yea, I know.. right? :)

    ♥ youuuu.