We all know how easy it is to get attached to your favourite beauty products. Even the best of us can be terrible for hoarding endless beauty products that we just haven’t the heart to throw away. And don’t even get us started on the heartbreak that is all about the Limited Edition beauty products – we shed an extra tear when these go in the bin. But the point is that all your products, apart from one or two do need to be thrown away at some point. The products usually aren’t made to last for years and putting a decades-old foundation on your skin is never going to be a good thing.
Unfortunately, the bad thing is that when it comes to knowing the expiration date of your makeup bag contents, it’s not very cut and dry. According to Well&Good, the only products required to have expiration dates are items like sunscreens, acne products and antiperspirants, so it’s up to your trained eye to know when it’s time to toss that lipstick. However, most beauty products do have a rough guideline for how long they stay at their best, as below:
Though, you can initially tell if you’re using your makeup past its sell-by date if the texture changes if it separates or has a strange scent.”It’s time to toss your products if the texture has changed; you see signs of separation; the odor shifts to a funky note, or the color dramatically changes,” said cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. “Separation is normal for some natural products that contain oil, like foundation, so give it a shake and if it mixes seamlessly), then it’s fine.”
There are some general guidelines you can follow for certain products. These aren’t set in stone, but good to know the next time you’re clearing out your makeup bag:
Hold onto it for 18–24 months, or until the smell changes. “Think of how much bacteria could linger on the lipstick and the oils in them could become rancid. Rancidity is expedited by heat, so don’t leave your lipstick locked in the car on a hot day or any hot room.
Blush, Eyeshadow & Pressed Powders
These can last up to 12–18 months, according to Wilson. “Clean your brushes often to avoid contamination and make them last even longer. For the most part, pressed powders won’t ever really turn bad because there’s no oil or water in them, and can usually last a few years before really turning.”
Glosses will last for at least 12 months, closer to 18 if it’s an oil-based product and you store it properly. But the nature of the product—pulling the wand out of the tube, letting in oxygen, and then dipping it back in with your saliva on it—ups the chances of it turning. You should know by the texture of the gloss on your lips.
We think this is the beauty product that has the shortest shelf life. Most will say that mascara can dry out in as little as six weeks, some six months; it depends on the brand. Since mascara is wet, it’s going to be prone to some serious bacteria growth. And as the eyes are so sensitive you should be extra careful when it comes to using old mascara. You’ll know as soon as it starts to clump and flake on the lashes, it’s time to buy a new one.
Pencils, you’ll be happy to hear can quite literally last years. As long as you sharpen them on a regular basis, you can hold on to these as long as it takes to use them up. Happy days, you can stock up on these so.
Liquid Foundation, Concealer & Tinted Moisturisers
These products are often made with plant oils, so if you’re careful to avoid contamination and store them away from heat, they’ll last longer than water-based products, according to Wilson. As we mentioned above, smell and colour check will let you know when these have turned. As long as you wash your hands first and use clean brushes or sponges, these should last around 12–18 months.
Keep an eye on all your products (storing them in a cool, dry place is key too) and trust your instinct, however hard it may be, when it comes to throwing them away. If they look or feel funny on the skin, treat yourself to some nice, shiny new products.