The shelf life of your make-up products

Monday, 23 January 2017

How often do you come across an old lipstick or eye pencil you remember buying but haven’t used all year? Do you keep your products until the very last bit, right at the bottom of the tube? We’re all for getting the most out of your beauty products, but there comes a time when you have to face the fact that your product may have expired, and needs to be tossed.

Not only will it perform differently (think a hard, sticky or crumbly consistency), but the colour of the product may change upon expiration too. Plus, if it’s been a really long time, bacteria may have formed in the product (especially in liquids), making it hazardous and infection-inducing. Quick rule: if it smells funny or changes in colour or texture, it’s time to bin it. Follow these basic guidelines for the average lifespan of your make-up products:

Mascara: To avoid conjunctivitis, be very careful with your mascara wand. It picks up bacteria easily and is a major cause of infection. Most people go with a six-month shelf life, but if you wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes, don’t use it longer than three months.

Concealer + liquid foundation: These products are water-based, which means bacteria flourishes when the product gets old. Once it’s been opened, keep it for one to two years, but no longer than that. Keep an eye out for change in consistency and colour.

Powder + blusher: Much more long-lasting than liquid products, these will be good for about two years. Cream blusher, however, might not last longer than one year, depending on whether or not it’s come into contact with heat or bright light.

Eyeliner: Eyeliners can last anything from three months to a year, depending on their formulation and how they’re stored. Liquid liners have a shorter life span than pencils, however, if you’re applying your pencil liner on your waterline, you should be treating it like a mascara – three to six months only. Be sure to sharpen it regularly to avoid contamination.

Lip products: Lip products will last between 12 and 18 months. If you’ve recently been very ill or had a cold sore, it’s best to toss the lip products you used during that time to avoid spreading any germs left behind on them.

Eye shadow: This is a tricky one, and it all depends on how you use and store the product. If you’re applying it over a sticky/liquid foundation, storing it in a humid bathroom cabinet or leaving it open and exposed to air, you may want to replace it every three to six months. However, if you’re storing it in a dark and cool place, washing your brush every week and being careful about exposing it to water, it can last up to two years, according to Bobbi Brown.

Nail polish: This won’t go bad with bacteria, so it can be kept and used as long as the formulation is still runny.

Tools: The lifespan of your tools is determined by the way you treat them. If you wash your brushes regularly and allow them to dry naturally, they can last for years. The same goes for eyelash curlers and tweezers – don’t let them get squashed at the bottom of your make-up bag and they’ll be yours up to five years. Toss them as soon as they stop performing their function, or once bristles start falling out from your brushes.

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  1. Cookie Nandlall

    Valuable information. My cosmetic closet is in need of a spring clean.Piles of items kept years to to be discarded.

    1 year ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    Valuable information.My cosmetic closet in need of a spring clean.Piles of items kept years.

    1 year ago •

  1. Arlene Beukes

    Fantastic article, BSA! I confess I am a makeup hoarder… Seriously time to toss the old stuff.

    1 year ago •

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