I am sure we have all experienced that in-ward battle when it comes to our cosmetics about when to keep them and when to toss them. And since the FDA does not have any regulations for skincare or makeup expiration dates, we are left on our own to decide when something is expired. I think we can for the most part determine when something is really bad and must be tossed, like if a product looks separated, lumpy, smells funky, or has changed colors…that is usually a good indication. But if none of those “tell tale” signs have occurred, here are some good guidelines to go by for tossing, plus some ways to prolong product and tips on storage.
Most products have preservatives in them to help with longevity, because the moment you open a product and air get’s to them, is the moment your product can start to degrade and oxidize. Water based product tend to go bad the quickest due to their bacteria-breading environment, so be aware of that as you look at your ingredient labels. Also- if your product is preservative free- you should note that these usually go much quicker than the time-lines I am posting below.
Basic Tossing Time Frames:
Mascaras, liquid and gel eyeliners– Due to the fact that these ingredients are stored in a dark environment plus has bacteria from your eye and from the air being pumped into it, you should toss this every 3 months. Never add anything to get more out of the bottle, and definitely toss if it is dry. Never share this product with anyone unless you plan on tossing sooner. If you have an eye infection, you need to toss this product immediately.
Foundations/Concealers– These items can usually last between 6-12 months. If they are stored in a pump like container they are not bound to get as much oxygen so they will last towards the 12 months period. If you are constantly touching the inside of the bottle with your fingers or a foundation brush, you are just adding more bacteria to the product and it will go bad faster.
Eye/Lip Pencils– I have definitely purchased an eye pencil before only to notice that it was dry and discolored in places. It had probably been on the shelves for a while. You should keep these items between 2-3 years, and if you purchase something and it looks like that, take it back!
Lipstick and lip-glosses– Because I am a lipstick addict, this is a typical item for me to forget about tossing because they are so seasonal and I have a million. But needless to say, they should be tossed every 2-3 years, and will probably smell kind of rancid if kept for longer.
Powder Based Products– 2-3 years also is the recommended time frame for powder-based items including eyeshadows, blushes, powders etc. If they have jojoba oil as an ingredient, the little amount of water will probably evaporate and leave a bit more of a crumble consistency. However, these shouldn’t be too much of a worry for bacteria growth.
How to Make Products Last the Longest:
- Avoid purchasing products where your fingers are constantly in and out of them. Anything in a pot or jar form is something that will definitely get contaminated with gross germs.
- Wash your hands before touching your products, especially if have a jar or pot form.
- Take note of when your product was first purchased by placing a sticky at the bottom with date of purchase.
- Store products in cool and dry area, if you live in a humid area your products will go quicker. Also- if you product is stored near a shower where it is hot and steamy, it will shorten the life of the product as well.
- Don’t purchase any product from anywhere if it is stored near a window and the heat is beating down on it. It has probably already gone bad. In addition, don’t store your products near sunlight at all, ever.
- Avoid keeping your products in the car or anywhere where it is hot.
- Always make sure to tighten the lid as to not get extra oxygen in it. And again, if you can buy something in a pump version, do.
- Avoid sharing products unless you are good about disinfecting brushes, using disposable applicators etc.
- Don’t pump your mascara a million time to get your mascara out. Pump as little as possible.
- Don’t add water to your eyeshadow’s unless you plan on using them quickly.