Make-up Expiration Dates, Why They Matter

6 years ago
Every day or when I'm up to it, I bust out my make-up bag and doll myself up! There are some products in that bag that I've had for years, they are my favorites and products that have been discontinued. I've never thought twice about using these products until a couple days ago! I never once considered that just like the eggs, milk, cheese, and produce in my fridge that even my make-up has an expiration date!

Believe it or not, all of our make-up has an expiration date. The fact is that with the areas that it comes into contact: our eyes, fingers, mouth, and skin it can pick up a lot of germs and bacteria. The longer you have it the more bacteria those cosmetics are keeping. But many of us are guilty of holding on to our make-up way too long.

And as a result, we can end up with eye infections, skin sores, and pink eye, all associated with keeping our products too long. So here's the basic rule of thumb for make-up and when you need to get rid of your treasured products! This guide will also make you think twice on what you will spend your money on the next time you need to buy your cosmetics! So here's the time line and the why these particular products have their expiration dates.

For your mascara and liquid eyeliners three months is the maximum you should keep these products. Mascara is one of the worst ones to keep past this time because it can sometimes directly touch your eye. Bacteria samples were taken from these products and things such a strep and E. coli were found in alarming numbers. The infections that you can contract from your own mascara can be severe and cause permanent damage to your eye. It's not worth it, so toss it. No one looks sexy with pink eye, no matter how much you love your mascara and liquid liners.

For your eye liner and lip liner pencils, one year is the maximum time you should keep these around. These products can last for up to a year of use. If however, you are sick or have an eye infection it's important to replace these items. They come into contact with areas that spread germs more easily than a powder make-up would.

As for powders and eye shadows, one to two years is the maximum time that you ought to keep these products. These products have a longer life to them because you aren't directly putting your finger into them or applying them with a directly into your eye or mouth. It's important though to keep your brushes clean that way your make-up brushes aren't distributing bacteria into your powder based products. (For cream shadows and foundations, only keep them for one year, they are able to hang onto bacteria and don't last as long because they are a cream and not powder.

Lipstick should only be kept for 1 year. Many people hang on to their lipstick and will wonder why they break out in with lip ulcers and sores. Anything that comes into contact with your saliva and is kept for long periods of time can house just about any germ. (Think about this before using ANY store samples, you could pick up a nasty infection or herpes from these samples!)

Some tips to keep your cosmetics a bit cleaner:

1. Clean your brushes! This should be done weekly using a mild detergent. You can find brush cleaners at Ulta or ask any make-up artist at any make-up counter what they use to keep their brushes clean.

2. Use disposable sponges to apply your cream based make-up. If you put your finger into the cream based consealer you are asking for trouble. Despite you washing your hands, you still have bacteria on them. When you put your finger directly in there, you are depositing more germs into the make-up. If you were to use a sponge, glove, or something else to get the product out, it will help keep it less germy.

3. Spin your mascara brush don't pump it. When we apply mascara, we often pump it after we apply it. The best thing to do would be to spin the brush. When you pump it, you are pushing bacteria further down into the remaining mascara. Also, leaving your mascara in the freezer over night will also help kill off harmful bacteria.

4. If you are sick think about not using your make-up or know you will be tossing your mascara and liquid liner afterwards. You will need to let go of your products afterwards, especially if you have strep, pink eye, or a cold sore.

5. Purchase make-up that comes in airtight containers. If you can squeeze it out or use a brush to apply it won't house as many germs as the "pots" you put your finger into daily.

6. Wipe out your make up bags and drawer with anti-bacterial wipes. Our bags and drawers can get down right nasty! It's pretty low on the priority list to be cleaning our make-up bags, but when you think of what you could be avoiding getting by doing it, is worth it. Think of a cold sore and that will get your cleaning your bag!

Here is a really easy chart that you can print out and cut out to keep in your drawer as a reminder for you with your products. None of us really want to have a sexy eye infection or cold sore ever, let alone over the holidays when all the yearly pictures are taken. We don't want to remember that canker sore we had in 2011 from our 10 year old lip balm!

I can tell you, after doing some research and becoming more educated on this, I am throwing out half of my cosmetic bag and rethinking how long too long is when it comes to my make-up. I know this is kind of gross to talk about, but I figured if I was just discovering this fact that maybe this would be useful information to pass along! Did you learn anything? What products do you hang on to too long?

Nicole Moulton, check my daily blogs and social network out at ~women online, unscripted~ Her Social Network

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