Guest contributor: Healing Lifestyles & Spas

When was the last time you tossed out your old cosmetics? Eeeeeek!

I’m a culprit for keeping my goodies way past the expiration date (hello 5-year old gooey mascara!), until recently, when I read that old makeup not only can cause breakouts but also more serious infections including Pink Eye- a not so glamorous look.

You wouldn’t eat month-old food, so why should you use makeup that’s way past its expiration date?

Here’s the breakdown and timelines on when to toss your goods:

On your eyes: Mascara and liquid liner lasts for only 3 months. It is easy to transfer bacteria with eye products, so be sure you don’t share it with anyone. (It’s like sharing a toothbrush!) Sharpen your eye pencils to help remove the old portion of the pencil that may harbor bacteria. Cream shadows typically last 12-18 months.

On your face: Eye shadow, blush, and compact face powder- these products can last up to two years. If the product is drying out it is probably bad.

On your lips: Most experts say a year with most lip products, however if it has an application wand it can go bad much more quickly.

The foundation: Up to two years. You cano usually tell if foundation has gone bad- it will separate and smell. (And if you really aren’t using it in two years maybe you don’t need it at all!)

And for you guys out there, your cologne can expire too! Its ingredients will break down over time & change the scent, so spray more often.

The Period After Opening (PAO) icon on the products tells you how long a product will remain fresh. This isn’t a mandatory requirement, however, so you’ll want to keep tabs yourself as well. Mark it on your calendar!

Here are a few tips to keep your makeup fresh:

  • Look for funky smells. If it has an unusual odor it may contain bacteria.
  • Store dark. Keep your products in a dark place to preserve the preservatives.
  • Never add liquid to a product to make it last longer. This can cause bacteria growth as well as a change in the texture and color anyway.
  • Wash your makeup brushes, they can aid in spreading bacteria all over your face if gone unwashed for too long. Here’s how.

Makeup Image via


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