Let’s be real… everyone has some makeup that should have been thrown away ages ago. I personally have a blush and a mascara from several years ago that I haven’t tossed because I like them and they still work.
Expired makeup is more problematic than most people think. Not only could you be collecting germs from germ-compromised products, but you could be opening yourself up to chemical reactions due to the products breaking down over time. Every time you open it, it is exposed to air which starts the oxidizing and breakdown of the chemicals used to make the product. Variable heat and humidity in the home (or your purse or car) can cause the growth of yeast and mold. All of that combined has the makings of war on your skin (and in your eyes).
The problem here is two-fold. Experts don’t always agree with each other on expiration dates. On several sites, I saw that liquid foundations expire after 6 months. On others, it said 1 year. Cream products seem variable in that I saw 6 months, 1 year, and 1.5 years on different sites. Very few sites seemed to agree except that pressed and loose powders are good for 2 years or longer and mascara has to go after 3 months. The other problem is that the industry doesn’t agree with the experts. I have 15 mascaras currently. 4 of those don’t list an expiration date. 10 of them say 6 months. 1 of them says 1 year!
Expiration guidelines (after first opening a product) according to internet “experts”:
- Mascara – 3 months
- Liquid and gel eyeliners – 3 months
- Oil-free foundations – 6 months to 1 year
- Liquid foundations – 6 months to 1 year
- Cream foundations – 6 months to 1.5 years
- Cream shadows, blushes, and eyeshadows – 6 months to 1.5 years
- Concealers – 1 to 1.5 years
- Lip gloss – 1 to 2 years
- Lipstick and lip liner – 1 year to 3 years
- Pencil eyeliners – 2 years or more
- Any powders – 2 years or more
I rarely listen to the “expert” guidelines. I don’t worry as much about germs because I clean my stuff regularly, I don’t share my makeup with others, and I don’t use them when I’m sick. I don’t keep my makeup in the bathroom or my car where moisture or extreme variables in temperature are a problem. I take note of manufacture guidelines but I don’t worry too much about those either. I keep my products until the texture stops feeling right, it dries out, or they are contaminated by a surprise illness. I go with my gut. Every time I do a clean up of my makeup (where I sanitize the containers and the makeup where possible), I always look for changes in the product. Color changes, unusual cracking, unidentifiable spots, etc. That is usually my indicator that it is time to toss something.
Ultimately, it is up to you to do what is best for you and your health. If you regularly sanitize your makeup, clean your makeup brushes, and make an effort to keep your products tightly closed, only opened long enough to use the product, avoid using your products when you begin to feel sick, and don’t share your makeup, you can probably extend the life of your makeup beyond the “expert” guidelines and stick closer to the manufacturer’s guidelines instead. Even then, there is wiggle room. Use your best judgement.
Do you have any hard and fast rules you follow regarding product expiration?