The knowledge there really are makeup expiration dates is a shock to many consumers. While we recognise that many other products go off over time, our makeup bags often avoid scrutiny. However, makeup can and does go off, and the consequences can be quite damaging to our skin.
Old Makeup: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
How bad can it really be, we hear you ask? Well, the truth is that old or off makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria (our eyes are at particular risk). Now, liquid products such as mascara and foundation are a greater risk than dry, powder-based products but even eyeshadow goes off now and then.
Using expired products won’t always end in infection, but when makeup goes off it often changes in texture, smell, and shade so at the very best you could end up looking dodgy. At the worst? Well, you could get a case of cystic acne or pink eye if you’re really unlucky.
Keep your makeup in a cool, dry place to minimise bacteria growth.
How to Tell if Your Makeup Has Expired
Some countries do require the display of an expiration date on cosmetics, but the USA isn’t one of them so it’s even more important to be vigilant. Like most perishables, however, makeup shows signs of expiration!
So, keep an eye (so to speak) on the way your make up smells, looks, and feels. If the smell or colour changes, if the liquids separate or become lumpy, or if it feels crumbly, oily, or rough on your skin it’s time to toss the product and get a new one.
This is tough for many, especially if the makeup in question is high-end. Makeup expiration dates are no joke, however, so it may be better to reconsider your habits. It is far better to regularly change amid-range product than to hold onto an expensive foundation or mascara long after it has expired.
Thankfully, most products have a reasonable lifespan.
Makeup Expiration Dates
If you’re determined to be a conscientious fashionista there are a few general guideline timeframes that you can follow to keep your makeup bag and face, in good health.
Eyeliner and Mascara: (2 – 12 Months)
Officially eyeliner and mascara can last 3 – 6 months, but there are some factors to consider. For example, gel eyeliners which come in pots are much more susceptible to bacteria contamination an growth. If you don’t wash your eyeliner brush after every use, you should seriously consider tossing your gel eyeliner at 2 – 3 months. Pencil eyeliner can last up to a year if you sharpen it often. If you have any eye infections during a period, throw out any products you used directly before getting it to avoid reinfection.
Foundation (6 – 24 months)
Once again, liquid foundation in a pot will expire much faster than any other due to increased air exposure, and the fact that you put your fingers in the pot. Powder-based and pump dispensed foundation can last between 1 and 2 years. Ironically, a liquid foundation with a pump dispensation system lasts the longest because of the relatively sterile conditions it stays in.
Blush, Eyeshadow, Highlighter, and Contour (2 – 24 months)
Any powdered formulas should be good for 1 to 2 years, just keep an eye on the texture, colour, and smell of the product (if it changes, toss it). Any liquid highlighters, blushes, or eyeshadows should be treated the same way as liquid eyeliner or mascara.
Lipstick (2 years)
There’s no reason why your lipstick shouldn’t last 2 years if you care for it well! Wipe it clean and spray with a little alcohol now and then to keep it sanitary, and above all else monitor the product for changes in smell, texture, or colour.
All Natural Problems
Recent moves towards vegan, cruelty-free, and all-natural products are making the beauty industry a safer, kinder place for all, but these formulas do have their cons. Namely, all-natural products which lack preservatives are more likely by far to go off.
So, if you have any all-natural formulas keep them sealed and in your fridge as much as possible to prolong their shelf-life and keep your face infection free!
The Final Word
We all like to swap and share our favourite products, but you should be wary of trading makeup with people. Sharing lipstick and blusher with your besties is one thing, but anything which touches your eyes should be shared with extreme caution.
Stay safe, stay beautiful, and keep an eye on those makeup expiration dates.