Spring is just around the corner, a time filled with cleaning out closets and basements, nooks and crannies. But one area often overlooked during spring cleaning is our makeup collections. While cleaning other areas of your home, make sure to take a moment to go through your makeup to ensure it hasn’t expired. Using expired makeup can have negative effects on not only your skin but on your overall health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t issued any official regulations on the cosmetic industry when it comes to printing expiration dates on products, so it’s not always cut and dry. Some products, however, do bear a Period After Opening symbol that offers an expiration period.
Official guidelines from the ’80s and ’90s only offer broad, sweeping instructions, indicating that cosmetics could have a minimum shelf life of 18 to 24 months without going into the specifics of the many different types of products that make up the cosmetic industry.
Thankfully, there are other pros out there who have done the legwork to determine how long you can keep certain types of beauty products. We’ve outlined the expiration periods for commonly used makeup products so you know when it’s time to trash and replace. And whenever you buy new products, consider writing the purchase date on it in marker so you can maintain a clean collection going forward.
Bacteria can build up in foundation and cause breakouts or skin irritation. Whether you use powder or liquid foundation will determine the length of time you can keep it before discarding it. Powder foundation can typically last up to two years, while liquid foundations have a shorter lifespan of six to 12 months, according to Cosmopolitan. As for face powder, you can hang on to that for up to two years.
Similar to foundations, concealer can build up bacteria over time and lead to acne if used past its expiration, but they tend to last longer than foundation. Concealers can last roughly one year, but you’ll know it’s gone bad when it begins to change texture or smell different.
Bacteria builds up faster on cream blush than it does on powder blush, so you can keep powder blush for as long as two years, while cream blushes have shorter lifespans. Again, if the products begin to change in consistency, you’ll want to toss them.
The eyes are a more sensitive area, and bacteria can lead to infections. As a result, manufacturers tend to recommend replacing eye-related products like eye shadow every two to four months. However, you can hang on to your powder eyeshadows for longer than cream eyeshadows.
Similarly, Cosmopolitan recommends tossing liquid and gel liners after four to six months of use. You can keep pencil eyeliners for one to two years, though.
As you swipe your mascara brush across your lashes, bacteria formulates over time, and if you use the same product for too long, it can lead to an eye infection. Manufacturers recommend replacing mascara every two to four months or after it becomes dry.
Lipstick and Lip Liner
A lot of bacteria can form around your mouth, so make sure to replace your lipsticks and liners one to two years.
Natural and Organic Products
The FDA also recommends that if consumers are using all-natural products with plant-based ingredients, they should replace their cosmetics more frequently to avoid microbial growth.
Our makeup applicators are just as susceptible to bacteria as the makeup itself. Make sure to clean them with shampoo every week to prevent breakouts.