The Life of Your Makeup
You should know when to hold them, when to fold them and when to walk away from your expired cosmetics
Dig around the contents of your makeup bag, and chances are you'll turn up a stockpile of expired products. Now granted, holding on to that zinc pink lipstick you sported in high school would be taking it to a whole new level, but most girls simply don't know exactly when to toss those tubes. And while it may not specify on the packaging, every product eventually will expire and, if used beyond its prime, can cause breakouts, infection and other nasty skin issues. Makeup isn't like milk: most products don't have expiration dates written on them, so knowing when they're old can be tricky. Here, advice from the pros on how long to keep your makeup and when to give it the boot.
"I have a rule about foundation," says Joanna Schlip, Physicians Formula Celebrity Makeup Artist. "Smell it when you buy it; as soon as the odor changes, it needs to be tossed," she says. "It's not worth the bacteria or a breakout." Liquid foundation lasts about a year with proper care (i.e. changing and washing the sponge regularly). But any longer, and the formula can separate and go on unevenly. Since bacteria won't be able to form in a waterless environment, a powder foundation, like Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation, can last up to two years. But once powders harden, they should get tossed.
Mascara has a short lifespan and for good reason: Since it's dark and wet inside the tube, it's the optimal environment for bacteria to grow. Get rid of mascara every 3 months, especially since it's a product for your eyes and can easily transmit bacteria, says Lori Taylor, lead makeup artist for Smashbox Cosmetics. You also know it's time for a new tube if the formula starts to dry out or has a funky odor, says Taylor.
Waterproof mascaras may dry out faster than regular mascaras since they're made to repel water. Maybelline Colossal Mascara is an all-around good choice for lengthening and volumizing your lashes, and it won't dry out before the three-month mark.
Eye Shadow and Blush
Powder blushes and eye shadows can last up to a year or longer, says Taylor. Because they're dry, it's harder for bacteria and germs to breed, so a powder formula like Smashbox Blush Rush would be a long-lasting pick. However, if you wet your powder shadow, chuck it after six months. Cream formulas contain more water and are susceptible to bacteria, particularly since you use your fingers to apply them. These won't last as long: three to six months at most. To keep a cream product clean, scoop up the formula with a cotton swab and sweep it over the back of your hand before you put it on your face, says Taylor.
As long as you sharpen these regularly, which creates a clean surface each time, eye pencils, such as Ulta Kohl Eye Liner Pencil can be kept for up to two years, says Taylor. "Liquid eyeliner is just like mascara; it harbors germs and especially from pumping the wand in and out, so toss it after three months," says Taylor. You may need to get rid of it even sooner if it starts to dry out.
Lipstick and Lipgloss
These can last up to two years, says Schlip. However, gloss by nature will go more quickly because women reapply it often and there's less gloss in the tube than there is lipstick in the bullet. Long-wearing formulas tend to have a quicker expiration date because they contain less water than creamier formulas, which means they'll dry out faster. You can keep a creamy lipstick like Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor for ages, unless the odor changes, and in which case, throw it out.