We can all agree that quality makeup is expensive. Your small bottle of foundation, for example, could be worth a bag of groceries. It’s only natural for us frugal folks to use it until the last drop, even if that means making it last for 5 years. However, it turns out that keeping makeup for years does more harm than good.
Here’s a hard to swallow pill: Every makeup product you own has an expiration date and is meant to be tossed and replaced.
Ever wondered why there’s no such thing as a one-liter foundation? It’s because makeup is thoughtfully designed to last for a limited amount of time. Makeup begins to lose its effectiveness and grow bacteria once it’s time is up – and that could result in breakouts, skin irritations, and eye infections.
If you’re thinking of giving your makeup bag a detox, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
1. Look for the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol
Unlike your fridge items, the “use-by-date” warnings on your makeup rely on the first day you use them, not its purchase or manufacture date. Most products come with a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol, which serves as the guideline for how long you can use your makeup products without worry.
The symbol includes the letter “m”, which means “month”, and a number before that “m” which stands for the number of months the product is safe and effective for use. For instance, if you see “8m” on your product, it means that once you’ve opened it, you should stop using the product after 8 months.
2. Keep these golden rules in mind
How would you know which ones to keep and which ones to toss if you see no PAO symbol? Watch out for these signs.
- Separation or changes in texture are telltale signs of an out of date product
- Any changes in the smell also tell you that the product has gone bad.
- The more moisture the product has, the shorter lifespan is. Pay attention to water-based and oil-based products, including your foundation, liquid liners, and blush tints.
- The closer it comes to contact with your eyes, the sooner its expiration date is. Your peepers are delicate, and you wouldn’t risk an eye infection to maximize your one-year-old mascara.
- Drier products, including powders and eye pencils, last for a couple of years if they’re treated with proper care and applied using clean makeup brushes.
- The packaging affects your products’ expiration date. Products inside a pump bottle or tubes last longer than the ones in a pot, which often get in contact with your dirty fingers.
3. Know the general shelf life of your makeup
Can’t trust your own senses in discerning whether your makeup has gone bad or not? You might want to have a general idea of how long each product is meant to last. Note: This might lead to an extreme makeup bag detox.
1. Complexion products
- Cream foundation and concealer makeup: 6 months to 1 year
Liquid creams last between 6 to 12 months for they contain more water, oil, and hydrating agents that allow bacteria to grow easily. It could last longer if it’s a pump formula. Same goes for your concealer makeup.
Say goodbye immediately if your product is drying out, changing the texture, becoming lumpy or cakey, and beginning to smell different.
- Cream blush and duo sticks: 12 to 18 months
Throw away cream blush and duo sticks (like products you can use both on lips and cheeks) as soon as you notice texture changes. Keep hands clean when applying them.
- Powders, blushers, bronzers: 2 years
Powders, whether it’s a pressed powder, blush, or bronzer, last longer than creams. Drier textures have a decreased risk of bacterial contamination. Just make sure to wash your makeup tools regularly. If you notice a hard rim on your powder, that’s a sign i
2. Eye makeup products
- Mascara: 3 months
Mascara is susceptible to bacterial contamination, which leads to eye infections. If your mascara has dried out or changed texture and smell, don’t try to add water to revive it – throw It immediately.
- Gel eyeliner: 3 to 6 months
Like mascara, replacing your liquid eyeliner regularly is crucial to preventing infections.
- Eyeshadow: 6 months to 2 years
Eyeshadow creams only last around 6 months due to their moisture content. Powder shadows can last up to 2 years, but remember to keep an eye (and nose) for any changes in smell, color, and texture.
- Pencil eyeliner: 2 years
Pencil eyeliners for eye and eyebrow makeup can last up to two years – if sharpened regularly and cap closed tightly.
3. Lip products
- Lipstick and lip liner: 2 years
With proper care, your favorite lipstick can last 2 years. Just make sure to never leave them without a lid on. Use a lip brush and clean them occasionally with makeup wipes. As for lip liners, they can last for up to 2 years if you sharpen them regularly and keep the cap closed firmly.
- Lip gloss and balm: 1 year
Lip balm and gloss need to be replaced more often than lipstick. Toss it if you notice the formula starting to separate and change.
Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for Napoleon Perdis Makeup Courses, a leading luxury makeup brand in Australia, which prides itself in delivering top of the line cosmetics and makeup courses. Sticking to the heart of the cosmetics brand, she aims to empower women with articles about style and beauty.