A quick guide to makeup expiration dates and when it's time to ditch that mascara. I know...it's so hard!
How old is too old?
So you've heard this before right? Makeup actually does have an expiration date, no matter how attached you are to it...and even if it doesn't smell (I know you've sniffed it before).
Now that it's the top of the year, I like to do a little clean up of my beauty closet (yes, closet--don't judge), and throw out everything that is in no way good for me. There's a method to this madness. First, I get to buy new stuff--case closed right? Second, I can follow an easy schedule for a makeup check-up. I like to do it quarterly (honey, that's every three months) and it gives me a chance to see what's in and what's out, and what's almost gone.
The good thing is on some makeup labels it will tell you how long it lasts or gives you the shelf life. There's a little jar with a number inside. That number is the number of months that you should keep that product once it's opened. Have I went past that? Sure. But on some products it should be no compromise and I'll tell you why.
What's in there anyway?
When you repeatedly use expired makeup, you're opening a can of worms (Ew...). Basically, you increase the chance for bacteria to grow and in simple terms it's just dirty. It causes irritation to your skin, in turn, making you want to use more to "cover" up the damage, and it starts a nasty cycle. If you store your makeup in the bathroom, the steam and wetness of the room make it even more susceptible to bacteria growth.
When in doubt, throw it out. If you're unsure when you bought it, or have had it forever, it's best practice to just get rid of it. Especially, during our current times and germs everywhere, starting with new beauty products is a smart decision.
Here are a list of products and the recommended expiry dates in order of my I don't compromise.
Mascara: This should be on your absolute, I'm not keeping it, I'm getting a new one, if it's expired, that's pretty nasty, list. Mascara has a shelf life of about 3 months and the FDA don't play about this one. It's one makeup item that carries a lot of germs and bacteria, and who wants that close to their eyes? “Anything moist that’s touching wet parts of the body—eyes, lips, open skin—lasts a shorter period of time,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. Mascara tends to get a beer smell when it's really time to go (don't get to this point), and it starts to clump and dry.
Foundation: This is the second no compromise item. While foundations can last 12-14 months it depends on a few factors. One, does it contain parabens or preservatives (and what kind) and two, how you apply it. If you use your hands, a brush, or sponge it matters in this case, and no matter how "clean" those things are, they can still transfer bacteria to that foundation jar making it a science project. Follow the guidelines on your foundation's recommended expiry jar or tube. If there isn't one listed, after a year treat yourself to a new one.
Here's a quick list of other products and the suggested toss dates:
Concealer: one year
Cream blush: one year
Eyeliner: three months
Eyeliner pencil: two years
Eyeshadow: one year
Lip balm: one to five years
Lip gloss: one year
Lipstick: two years (I'm so bad with this one!)
Liquid eyeliner: three months
Nail polish: one year
Powder blush: two years
Of course, if you have had any type of infection or irritation (*cough, *cough....cold, flu, COVID) while wearing any of your makeup, you should consider chucking it right away. Sound off in the comments and admit a beauty find you kept way too long--I won't judge.