Time to throw it away?

To better understand cosmetic shelf life, you need to know what to look for in your favorite makeup products and brands.  While there are certain cosmetics that have a longer shelf life than others, all of your makeup will eventually go bad over time.  Take note of these tips on makeup safety.  How Long to keep it and proper storage methods to lengthen your makeup shelf life is worth consideration.


Keeping makeup beyond the expiration date can cause a number of skin conditions.  This is especially true with expired foundations.  The best way to tell is by looking for the expiration date, which can be found by a small symbol on the bottle or box displayed as 2m, 6m, 10m or 12m.  This stands for the shelf life after opening.  For instance, 2m means the makeup is good for 2 months after opening.

Ever notice how liquid makeup tends to separate, leaving the darker compound on the bottom and an oily clear compound on top?  This is a sign that your foundation has expired and is breaking down.  Simply shaking the foundation bottle to recombine its contents cannot repair the fact that the foundation is too old.  Toss it.

Think about it this way.  Even if shaking the bottle will recombine the foundation after separating, the fact that it separated in the first place should tell you that it will most certainly separate on your face.  Expired foundation is infamous for leaving an oily film on your face when it separates.  This separation also makes the foundation run or rub off easily.

This oily residue produced by the separation can also contribute to acne and other skin irritations by clogging pores and over time causing blackheads, especially if you don’t wash the oily residue off every day.  Properly cleaning and moisturizing your skin regularly is a no-brainer, your skin doesn't need the extra irritation that the use of expired makeup will cause.

Eye Makeup Safety

With regard to how long you should keep eye makeup, consider the following tips to help you avoid eye infections.  There are a number of health issues that involve expired or prolonged usage of eye makeup. The biggest concern is infections and other potential damage eye makeup (such as eyeliners, eye shadows and mascara) can cause.

  • While pencil eyeliners do not expire, there is a health issue surrounding prolonged usage. Liquid eyeliners do expire.  You can find the expiration date on the bottom of the bottle or on the product box.  All eyeliners attract bacteria.  If not properly stored with a cap, your eyeliner can transfer bacteria laden eyeliner bacteria to your eyes.  This bacteria is directly related to “pink eye" types of infections, sties and tear duct blockage.  Eyeliners are cheap, so you can afford to replace them frequently.   Replace pencil eyeliners every three to six months and make sure you sharpen frequently for safety's sake.
  • Eye shadows have a longer cosmetic shelf life.  With the proper compact case to protect your eye shadow from bacteria and dirt, and stored in a cool location away from extreme heat, your eye shadow can last up to a year or more.  While some women discard eye shadow when it brakes up, hardens or loses its color intensity, other women simply replace eye shadows as needed.
  • Mascara, on the other hand, requires constant replacement, and is a major makeup safety issue.  You know when your mascara is clumpy and has an odd smell, it's time to get a new tube.  Mascara has a high risk of collecting dangerous makeup bacteria like eyeliner, however the risk is much greater for women who share mascara.  To avoid eye infections, don’t share your mascara and replace it frequently.

Lipsticks and Glosses

Lipsticks and glosses have a shelf life of six to twelve months.  Depending on the quality of your lipstick, it can last longer, as long as you keep it covered and away from hot temperatures.  How long you should keep lip makeup also depends on the type of storage and applicator system used.  Regular lipstick tubes (with direct application) usually hold for about a year or more, whereas lipstick or gloss tubes with built in lip sponges or brushes last at least three to six months.  When your lipstick is no good, most often it will run and sometimes stain your lips.

Since most women share lipsticks and glosses, the infection rate for lip sores and chapping is much higher.  While using a lipstick brush may reduce transmission of infections as opposed to your finger or direct application, there’s still a high risk factor.  Make sure you avoid sharing lipsticks and gloss, don’t use your finger to apply and frequently replace lip brushes to cut down your chances of transmitting makeup bacteria and infections.

Makeup gives us as women, a feeling of glamour and accentuated beauty.  Women should not only be concerned with how good they look, but about makeup safety and how long to keep makeup.  Using old expired makeup can end up having the opposite effect you intended in the first place.

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