Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love It or Leave It? The Shelf Life of Makeup & Beauty Products

With all the chemicals involved in making makeups you would think this stuff lasts forever right? Wrong. Makeup, just like any inorganic (or organic for that matter) thing has an expiration date. While some you can employ little tricks to last longer (thinners to nail polish, rubbing alcohol to re-hydrate and clean powders), others become such a hotbed of broken down chemicals and bacteria (*cough* mascara and sunscreen) you really need to toss them whether or not you finished it up. Before you start getting nostalgic over tossing that $40 mascara remember that expired makeup can cause skin irritation and eye infections, as well as lose their effectiveness! You're better off binning it and seeking a replacement instead of falling to victim to a whole host of problems.


These are general guidelines of typically how long a product lasts, but each item ultimately comes down to your judgement. Obviously use some common sense, if you can see clear separation in your nail polish and if anything has a funny smell, just toss it, the health risks are just not worth it. The ones to really be careful and faithful about cycling through is definitely the mascaras and liners since those are the ones that sit closest to your eyeballs and run the risk of actually getting on your eye, and foundation since it covers your entire face and a bad bottle can really trigger a horrible cycle of breakouts.

Mascara: 3 months (there's no way to clean mascara, bacteria gets trapped in the tube and no amount of wiping down the wand will help)
Liquid Eyeliner: 6 months
Organic products: 6 months (most organic products will come with an expiration package on the item, just look!)
Concealer: 1 year
Lip Liner: 1 year
Creams (blush, highlighter, eye shadows, etc.): 1 year
Anti-aging and acne products: 1 year (they lose their effectiveness after a year due to oxidization, invest into products you can feasibly finish up in 365 days!)
Foundation (water based): 1 year
Foundation (oil based): 2 years (avoid dipping your fingers into any type of foundation to help prevent makeup induced breakouts)
Nail Polish: 2 year (nail polish thinners are a great way to extend the life of your polish!)
Lip Glosses: 2 years
Sunscreen: 2 years (SPF stops working after two years so be sure to pick up a new bottle every two years!)
Loose Powders (foundation, pigments, etc.): 2 years
Pressed Powders (blush, bronzer, eye shadows, etc.): 3 years
Lipsticks: 3 years (these will smell awful when they go bad)
Shampoo & Conditioner: 3 years
Lotion: 3 years (the chemistry and smell will change after three years, the effectiveness is still there however you won't want to smell funky from this)
Pencil Eyeliner: 5 years
Perfumes: 8-10 years (putting perfume in the fridge actually messes up the chemistry and will change the smell, instead store in a cool dark place to prevent oxidization and preserve the integrity of the scent)

If you really have a hard time parting with products once time is up, take additional steps to keep your makeup clean and extend their life!
  • First of all make sure to store them properly! This means take this stuff out of the bathroom! The moisture and fluctuating temperatures in there messes with the chemistry of the product (and it also ruins your makeup brushes!). Instead keep them in a room where it can be a constant temperature, room temperature or even a little cooler, and out of sunlight which will destroy the preservatives! Also know things like cream products should always be stored face down so that the moisture can't escape and storing nail polish in the fridge reduces solvent evaporation which will make it last longer.
  • Extend the life of lipstick by always applying with a clean lip brush. This not only saves on product but it also keeps foreign bacteria off your lippie. Alternatively you can use a Q-tip to lightly wipe away the top layer of your lipstick and then submerge in some rubbing alcohol to clean it up.
  • Spraying your pressed powders with rubbing alcohol (this is important, rubbing alcohol NOT hydrogen peroxide) will re-hydrate and kill bacteria in your product.
  • Keep your tools clean and avoid dipping into the pots with your fingers. Again this is a bacteria thing obviously, as a rule makeup brushes should be cleaned at least twice a month, and sponges should be washed after each use and tossed after a month.
  • Sharpening pencils before each use is a great way to keep these clean. Just a few quick twists to scrape off the lightest layer will do.
These expiration dates pertain to open products. If you have a item that is still factory sealed and untouched those are good to go for years until you get around to them! Best tip I can offer is if you go on a makeup buying spree, fight the temptation and keep things sealed until you can realistically get around to using it on a daily basis and therefore get the most use out of it!

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