Does Makeup Have An Expiration Date?

woman putting on mascara( – We know. It feels like you just bought that lipstick or foundation yesterday, and it’s such a beautiful color on you. But despite the urge you may have to keep all your favorite beauty products until every tube, tin, and bottle is empty, all makeup does have an expiration date that you should pay close attention to. Ignoring those dates can expose your skin to bacteria in old products that can cause skin irritations, rashes and acne breakouts.

Isn’t Makeup Designed to Last a Long Time?

Unlike products like acne medication and sunscreen, most makeup products don’t have the expiration dates printed right on the containers. While most cosmetics are formulated to last several years, environmental elements that makeup comes in contact with care reduce that time to just a few months.

How Do I Know When To Throw My Makeup Away?

To help you figure out when to get rid of whatever’s been sitting at the bottom of your makeup bag, here’s a list of cosmetics and their approximate expiration dates. Make it a habit to mark time-to-toss dates on makeup containers, add them to your calendar, or set e-mail or mobile reminders so you don’t forget. Also, if you’re using all-natural products that are free from chemical preservatives, you’ll need to shave off some more time from the estimates below to be safe.

• Mascara: 3 to 4 months — This product has a very short shelf life because a mascara wand picks up bacteria from the eye area with every use, causing the tube to become a breeding ground for microorganisms. If your mascara gets dry, which may happen if you don’t always twist the cap back on tightly enough, it should be discarded.

• Eyeliners: 4 to 6 months — As with mascara, any makeup used near the eyes can easily pick up bacteria, so it’s best to part ways after a short time. The only exception here is with pencil eyeliners. If you sharpen them regularly, they can last up to a year or longer.

• Multiuse Products: 6 months — Sticks that can be used on your eyes, lips, and cheeks are time- and money-savers, but they can also spread germs all around your face. Wiping the surface of the product clean before switching from one spot to another may help protect your face.

• Cream-based Makeup: 1 to 2 years — Similar to moisturizers, liquid- or cream-based cosmetics like foundation, concealer and cream blush often contain fatty ingredients that can go rancid quickly. Apply these products with brushes and sponges — not with your fingers — to keep them fresh longer.

• Lip Color: 1 to 2 years — Use a lip brush to avoid transferring germs from your mouth onto your lipstick tube. And even if your lip gloss tastes like candy, don’t lick your lips before reapplying! Pencil lip liners can last the longest if they’re sharpened often.

• Nail Polish: 2 years — When your polish color has separated from the oil in the bottle or it has developed a tacky consistency, this is a definite sign that it’s no good.

• Powder-based Makeup: 2 to 3 years — Because most do not contain water, face powders, eye shadows, and powder blushes can usually last a bit longer than other types of cosmetics.

If you don’t remember how old a product is, a good rule of thumb is to toss anything that smells off, or has changed in color or texture. Also, if you get an infection on your face, particularly around the eye or lip areas, immediately throw out any products that have come into contact with those areas.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Above Rules?

Of course, you should also consider:

• Where you’re storing the product. Temperature and climate play a role in how long a product lasts; cool, dry places are ideal.

• What’s the product has come in contact with. If your five-year-old has raided your makeup bag with their little unwashed hands, you’ll want to dispose of most of your products sooner than usual. Also, try to never use saliva to moisten your makeup.

• There’s no need to toss all your cosmetic tools. Items such as your makeup brushes, tweezers and eyelash curlers, for example, don’t need to be thrown away – they just need to be washed regularly to rid them of germs and pore-clogging oils.

By observing these few simple rules, your skin will stay healthy and glowing while showing off the season’s pretty new tints and hues.