When Beauty Products Go Bad

By on November 10, 2011

Whats In My Makeup Bag When Beauty Products Go Bad

Ever wonder how long is too long to keep makeup products? All makeup has a shelf life
and it is important to be aware of what it is because not all are the same. For example
mascara should be discarded the most often as it is the most easily contaminated of all
cosmetics and anything that comes in contact with your eyes should always be clean and
as safe as can be.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has something to say about how long it is safe
to keep makeup. According to them: “Cosmetic products are generally formulated and
tested for a shelf life of 1-3 years under normal storage conditions, depending on a
product’s composition, packaging, preservation, and other factors. Consumers should be
aware that expiration dates are simply, “rules of thumb,” and that a product’s safety may
expire long before the expiration date if the product has not been properly stored.
Cosmetics that have been improperly stored, for example exposed to high temperatures
or sunlight or opened and examined by consumers prior to final sale may deteriorate
substantially before the expiration date. On the other hand, products stored under ideal
conditions may be acceptable long after the expiration date has been reached.”

As a guideline to how long you should keep your makeup products, a water-based
foundation will last for up to one year and an oil-based one for a year and a half. If you
find that your water-based foundation dries out before it is all gone (or has expired) all
you need to do to revive it is to add a few drops of alcohol-free toner and then shake it a
little to rid it of any lumps. Oil-based foundation on the other hand is likely to separate as
opposed to dry out, so you will need to give it a shake sometimes to refresh the

Concealer (or cover stick) can be kept up to a year and face powder (pressed and
translucent although translucent usually stays fresh longer) up to two years. Blush can be
kept up to six months and cream and gel cleansers, a year.

Eye liners can last up to a period of three years time and should be sharpened on a
regular basis for a smooth application and finish and to guarantee that no bacteria has had
time to settle and take up residence on it. Eyeshadow can last up to three years as well,
whereas mascara is the product that must be disposed of most readily. Get rid of your
mascara after three or four months (regardless of whether the tube is finished or not).

Mascara is the most likely to harbor bacteria which can make it bad news! And contrary
to popular belief, there is no need to pump the mascara wand in and out before applying
it, instead simply twist it slowly in a circle in the tube before opening it up to use.

Lip liner can last up to three years but there is a mixed opinion about lipstick. Some
cosmetic experts say lipsticks are good for a year or two while others say they are good
for a period of up to three to four years. You will know that a lipstick has gone bad when
it smells funny. If it does then don’t use it on your lips whatever you do, toss it out. In
order to preserve the longevity of your lipstick, keep it in the refrigerator.
Nail polish can be a tricky one. If stored properly it can last up to two years (if you store
it in the refrigerator it will last even longer). In some cases nail polish will only last one
year. If you notice that the bottle of nail polish has separated, then shake it up a bit. If the
colors and oils don’t meld back together and it smells odd then it is old and it is time to
get rid of it.

There are other things to bear in mind about the ditching of makeup products. Learn to
use your own discretion when it comes to deciding if a product is safe to use or if it
should be thrown out. Some products might be safe to use past the expiration date but
this is not recommended. It is very easy for contaminants and bacteria to innocently find
their way into makeup products (in particular eye makeup) no matter how hygienic you
attempt to be.

Always wash your makeup brushes every two to three months in warm soapy water, mild
detergent or baby shampoo. Sponges should be washed every ten to fourteen days and
then rinsed with cool water. Sponges should not be kept anymore than a month or two.