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Let’s face it; makeup is expensive. A well stocked makeup bag is often the sign of years of hunting and gathering. Your friends might be jealous of your drawer of MAC eye shadows that represent the entire line since their first store opened in 1991, but is your 20+ year stockpile actually doing you more harm than good? While most makeup contains antibacterial ingredients and preservatives, the chemicals and ingredients still have a distinct shelf life. While companies are not required to include an expiration date on their cosmetic products, research over the years suggests that they should be tossed over time to avoid health risks. The following is a helpful list of basic makeup products and their suggested replacement time frames:
With normal use, any makeup that touches the sensitive areas of your eyes (including mascara and eyeliner) should be replaced every 3-4 months. Using these items beyond this time frame could result in growth of bacteria that you could transmit to your eyes. It is recommended to replace these items immediately, however, if you develop and eye infection or your product begins to dry out. Never share your eye makeup with others, as this can result in transmitting bacteria as well. It is also important not to “pump” you mascara’s applicator wand in and out of the tube. This action pushes air into the container; potentially carrying bacteria with it.
Research shows that lip products can last anywhere from 2-4 years depending on how they are maintained and stored. You can disinfect your lipstick by dipping it in alcohol and then wiping away the top layer with a cloth. Placing it in the refrigerator regularly will also help it maintain its functionality. If it becomes dry, oily, dull in color or develops an odor, it’s definitely time to toss it!
Liquid and cream makeup typically lasts for a year or two. While oil-based makeup usually lasts longer, water-based liquid foundations will need to be replaced at around 12 months. Pump applicators reduce the amount of bacteria entering the bottle. You can also reduce bacteria by using a clean sponge or hands each time you apply.
Powder-based eye shadows, blushes and translucents can last anywhere from 1-4 years. If the powder starts to crumble, produce and odor or loses its smoothness on the skin, it’s time to replace it.
All-natural makeups, like 100 Percent Pure, either do not contain preservatives or are made with plant-based preservatives. Because of this, they have a much shorter shelf-life than other cosmetic products. Most all-natural makeup companies will include expiration dates on all of their products. Be sure to check the labels of these products or email the company if you are unsure.
Nail polish might have the most surprising expiration date of all: One year. After a year, it just loses its color richness and functionality. How many bottles of nail polish have you had for over a year?
Here’s a quick visual guide to the shelf life of your makeup!
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Photo Credit: Hinge Photography