Is Your Makeup Expired? Here’s How To Tell

If you’re anything like me, checking the expiration date on your favourite makeup products is one of the last things that cross your mind. I mean does it really make much difference if I use my mascara one or two months longer than the advised date? Surely not!

The hard truth is, while we may find it difficult to throw away our non-empty products and fork out money for brand new ones, cosmetics are known to trap toxins and bacteria, which means replacing them regularly will help us avoid skin irritations, stinging, redness and breakouts.

A survey carried out by found that many British women kept hold of their makeup products for up to 6 years longer than the expiration date, exposing them to bacteria and causing unnecessary skin and eye irritations. Eye shadow was found to be the item that lingered the longest in makeup bags, with women keeping hold of them for nearly six years too long. The next worst was lipstick and liquid foundations, which the survey revealed were kept three years longer than advised.

Unlike food products, cosmetic companies are not legally required to share expiration dates on their packaging. How do we know then when it’s time to upgrade from that foundation hiding at the back of our makeup drawer? Lucky for us, products have a great way of showing when they shouldn’t be used anymore. For instance, separation (unless it’s an oil formulation that naturally separates), changes in texture or smell are clear giveaways it’s time to bid the product farewell. Many cosmetics also have a jar symbol with a numeral that signifies the number of months the item can be used before it expires, so it’s up to us to keep track of when we first opened the product.

Let’s not forget those makeup brushes! When we use our brushes bits of makeup, oil, dirt and bacteria can get trapped in the bristles causing clogged pores and acne. Washing these should therefore also be a regular part of our beauty regime. It is recommended that makeup brushes be washed every two weeks and can be cleaned with unscented bar soap, antibacterial soap or baby soap mixed with lukewarm water.

So, with the change in season upon us, now is the perfect time to update our new-season beauty look and reorganise our makeup bags and drawers. It’s our skin and health on the line after all!

Replace after 3 months:

  • Mascara
  • Liquid Eyeliner

Replace after 6 months:

  • Cream, liquid or stick foundations/concealers

Replace after 1 year:

  • Eye and lip pencils
  • Lipstick and gloss
  • Powders including blush, shadows and bronzers

Replace after 2 years:

  • Nail polish

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