Tag Archives: health

Makeup: When to Toss

15 May

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So if a lot of you are makeup junkies like I am, you probably have a ton of makeup products, with half of them being unused or somewhat-used. Today I urge you to clean out your makeup closet, as probably a good portion of those products are no longer safe to use. Old products can contain lots of bacteria, which can be harmful to your health and skin.

The following list reviews major product categories with shelf life times. I have done extensive research and compiled all the information I found to create this list:

Mascara: 3 Months

Mascara is an ideal environment for bacteria, which can easily be transferred to your eyes. Throw out your mascara every three months to avoid eye infections.

Liquid Eyeliner: 3 Months

Liquid eyeliner is moist, which makes it prime territory for bacteria that can transfer to your eyes.

Pencil Eyeliner: 3 Years

Powder Eyeliner: 2 years

Powder eyeliner will last longer than cream or liquid liner because it doesn’t dry out, but you should always use a clean brush to avoid contaminating it with bacteria. If they’re in stick form, sharpening them regularly prevents bacteria growth. If the color changes or it becomes hard to apply, throw it out.

Powder Eye Shadow: 2 Years

Powder eye shadow lasts as long as powder eyeliner if you always use a clean brush and avoid using it while you have an eye infection.

Liquid Eyeshadow: 1 Year

Moisturizer: 1 Year

Some of the essential oils or natural components break down quickly, so moisturizer that’s more than a year old may not be as effective.

Nail Polish: 1 Year (but also depends on brand)

The chemicals start to break down after about a year, which could cause the color to change. You’ll also notice that the polish doesn’t hold together well or apply smoothly.

Oil-Free Foundation: 1 Year

These foundations tend to dry out faster than cream or powder foundations. The oils on your fingers can also introduce bacteria into the liquid. Use a sponge or brush to preserve it. Storing it in the fridge can also extend its life. When the color changes, it’s past its prime.

Concealer: 12-18 Months

Stick concealer lasts longer than liquid concealer, but both become lumpy after 12-18 months. Lumpy concealer won’t cover as well, and may contain bacteria from your blemishes. You may also notice color changes.

Cream Blush: 12-18 Months

Cream blush will dry out after about a year. It may also start to change color or not go on as smoothly.

Cream Eye Shadow: 12-18 Months

Like all other cream products, it dries out over time. It may also harbor bacteria. Never use it while you have an eye infection to avoid contamination. You should apply it with a clean brush to extend its life.

Cream Foundation: 18 Months

Cream foundation will dry out after about a year and a half. It may also start to change color or not go on as smoothly. If you apply it with your fingers, the oils on your skin could also introduce bacteria into it.

Lip Gloss: 18-24 Months

Lip gloss dries out fairly quickly because it’s thinner and contains less fat than lipstick. If it becomes clumpy, dry, or changes color, throw it out.

Blush and Bronzer: 2 years

Powders last longer, but the oils in your skin will alter the texture and make it more difficult to apply after a couple years. You may also notice changes in color.

Lipstick: 2 years

After two years, the fats in the lipstick will start to break down, which will make it dry, crumbly, and probably change the color. To make it last longer, apply it with a clean brush. Never use lipstick when you have a cold sore or share it with someone else.

Lip Liner: 2 years

Lip liner can last up to two years if you sharpen it regularly to prevent bacteria build-up and avoid using it when you have a cold sore.

Powder: 2 years

Powder tends to get clumpy after more than a couple years because it mixes with the oils in your skin over time. If you take excellent care of it, it can last up to three years.

Perfume: 3 Years 

Cheaper perfumes and eau de toilettes may only last two years, but good perfumes should last up to three years. You can extend the life slightly by storing them in the fridge. If the color or scent changes, throw it out. If you’re not sure how old it is, check the stamp on the bottom. The number at the end is the year it was bottled, for example, a number ending in 6 means it was bottled in 2006.

Anti-Aging and Acne Products: 1 Year

Shampoo and Conditioner: 3 Years

Body Lotion: 2-3 Years

Sunscreen: 1-2 Years

If you’re not sure how old your makeup is, check the consistency. If in doubt, throw it out and start fresh. Mark the date on the label with a Sharpie so that you always know how old your makeup is. Another great tell-tale sign? Some products directly tell you, and have a jar symbol on the back or bottom of the product. Here’s an example on my Sinful Colors nail polish, which lets me know that it has a 24 month shelf life:

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After seeing this list, I too tossed out a bunch of my half-used, opened products from many years ago. It’s hard to say goodbye, but on the bright side, you have an excuse to buy a brand new product. Happy cleaning!

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