Yes, makeup expires for those who don’t know. Certain makeup actually needs to be disposed after several months of use and not when you hit pan or get tired of it as old makeup can harbor dangerous bacteria. In fact, expired foundations can cause skin allergies (little red bumps that look like acne) while expired mascara can cause styes and/or “pink eye,” an eye infection medically known as conjunctivitis.
Lipsticks /glosses and lip balms also can give you cold sores through a herpes virus that can easily be absorbed by lip products especially if you share yours with other people. Like any other makeup addicts, I have a “Beauty Separation Anxiety” and it saddens me when I have to pitch a makeup, even more so if it’s a high-end brand. The drugstore brands I don’t mind, but the expensive ones are hard to let go especially when you’ve hardly used them. However, I’d rather buy new makeup than get a skin disease and spend more money for treatments.
Anyway, here’s how to know what is still ok and when to throw it away: (Take note, the keyword is THROW. Throw away and not give away! Please spare other people from infection!)
Mascara – dispose after 2 months or 3 months maximum. Mascara can easily give you an infection as the brush brings with it any dirt or bacteria that it has collected when taken out, applied, and placed back in the tube.
Eyeliner – 3 months. Same with mascara, it is applied near a sensitive area and can pick up bacteria and bring it back to the eye without any visible signs of contamination. Pencils will last a bit longer and sharpening your pencil liners every use will help them stay fresh and clean.
If you’re fond of tight-lining, don’t share your eyeliner with anyone!
Liquid Foundation – 12 months maximum. Keep away from moist environment and heat as high temperatures encourage the growth of bacteria and can speed up the spoiling. Unopened and unused foundation can last several years though.
Liquid Concealer – 12 months maximum. But once the color starts to shift, toss it. Concealers in powder or stick form will last up to 24 months.
Lipstick / Lipgloss – 18 to 24 months. But if you notice an off-smell or if it already tastes like a stale oil, it has already gone bad. Lipgloss on the other hand will feel streaky if you apply it.
Face Powder – will last up to 24 months as long as you keep it away from moist areas such as your bathroom counter.
Blush – Powder form 24 months, cream 12 months.
Eye shadow (powder) – Recommended to dispose after 3 months. Even though it has similar formulation with face powder and blush, it is constantly in contact with the eyes (mucous membrane). Hence, the risk of transfer of bacteria is high. Cream-based eyeshadows tend to grow more bacteria quickly so be aware of any color switches or off-putting smell.
Things to remember:
An off smell or a change in consistency and/or color tells you the formula has gone bad thus applying it could cause irritation or breakouts.
Water-based makeup (liquid foundation, concealer, mascara, liquid liner) means bacteria love them.
High temperature encourages the growth of bacteria and can speed up the spoiling.