Time to Clean Out Your Makeup Bag: The Shelf-Life of Your Products

Posted Thursday December 27, 2012 8:41 PM GMT

You trust your makeup to conceal your imperfections and to highlight your natural beauty.

However, what if we told you that depending on the age of your cosmetics, they could actually be wreaking havoc on your complexion … sounds like a terrible horror movie.

It’s true! Some formulas are breeding grounds for bacteria and if used past their expiration dates, could cause harm to your health. So, to be sure you’re always putting your best (and healthy) face forward, we’ve put together a list of the cosmetics most women use on a daily basis – when to replace them and how to know if they’ve gone bad.

Also, don’t forget about your brushes! Click here to get the 411 on how to properly clean those babies.

When to replace: Every two – three months
Warning Sign(s): Paint-like or gasoline smell
Consider the mascara application process: the wand it taken out of its tube, applied on lashes and put back inside its container. Each time you swipe and reinsert the brush, you’re bringing bacteria along for the ride as well. A formula with too much build up can cause conjunctivitis, sties, redness and itchiness. Ew!

When to replace: After six – 12 months
Warning Sign(s): Weird smell, change in color and/or if you’re experiencing breakouts.
Since liquid foundations are water-based, they are more prone to bacteria.
To prolong the life of your product, keep it out of moist environments and away from heat, as they can speed up the spoiling process.

When to replace: After two years
Warning Sign(s): Check for botanical extract, as these will lessen the product’s shelve life.
Facial powder does not contain any water. However, as we stated above, if there are any ingredients such as oat extract, chamomile, aloe, or green-tea extracts – just to name a few – then your powder or bronzer does, in fact, have the potential to harbor water, which will breed bacteria after time if not kept at a pleasant temperature.

When to replace: Two years for powder/stick forms, one year for liquids
Warning Sign(s): Experiencing breakouts, change in product color
Using an old concealer will just amplify any of the imperfections you were trying to camouflage in the first place. On expired products, there is a grease film that gets transfers upon application, hence the breakouts and no one likes those.

When to replace: Two years for powders, one year for creams
Warning Sign(s): Same as other water-based, powder products
Again, since powders do not contain water, blush can last you a very long time as well. However, the same rules apply for creamy products. Since they DO contain water, refer to the rules under ‘Liquid Foundation.’

When to replace: After three months
Warning Sign(s): Itchy, irritated eyes
The reason for the product’s speedy turn-around is because it’s in contact with the mucous membranes in your peeper region, so the formula is more susceptible to bacteria – especially ones with a creamy base.

When to replace: Every three months
Warning Sign(s): Redness, itchiness, and in extreme cases, conjunctivitis
Eyeliners are in contact with the same mucous membranes and bacteria that shadows are, so it’s important the replace yours every three months, religiously. Now, pencils will last you a bit longer than liquid liners. Liquids will gain a paint-like smell, whereas liners will form a white coating over the tip.

When to replace: After one year OR immediately after you’ve been sick
Warning Sign(s): When it gains a foul smell or gets too firm to apply
Most lipsticks contain little to no water, so – pop quiz – what does that mean? Right! No bacteria. However, they do have oily ingredients within that can cause colors to change and become lackluster.

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