With the fresh start of the new year still on our minds, it's the perfect time to take a look at some of your favorite beauty products that got you through the previous year. Maybe even earlier...which means they probably need to be tossed. Trust me, I know how hard it is to say good-bye to some of your favorite beauty products especially when it can seem like you are just throwing money down the trash. We've all been there, walking into Sephora to restock your mascara and leaving $100+ later. Happens to me every. single. time. But that lipstick you are holding onto from two summers ago because it's the best shade of pink or that awesome glitter eyeshadow you had to have might just be little petri dishes of bacteria. The harsh truth is that beauty products do expire and the last thing you want to do is put those bacteria ridden products on your face. Our make-up is meant to enhance our features not cause us to want to hide them.
Most products expire because their consistency changes and the formula begins to breakdown. However, some products also tend to collect bacteria which speeds up the natural lifespan of a product. I know we all are guilty of holding onto our beloved make-up products for a little too long but it's not the smart thing to do. I'm extremely guilty of it. I have way more eye shadows and lipsticks than I can feasibly use. I have never used an entire tube of lipstick yet I keep buying more. It's an addiction, I tell ya. With the new year, I'm going to be better about not buying more until I've used what I have and edit my beauty drawer with a closer eye. So why don't you join me?
Grab your trash can, pull out your make-up bag and dig deep into the back of those make-up drawers. While it might be painful to see some of your favorites in the trash, think of it as a reason to try something new - but make sure you are going to use it.
Mascara & Liquid Eyeliner | 3 - 6 months
These might be the two items that easily get restocked the most so you may not even make it past the three month expiration. Each time you apply your eyeliner or mascara you are opening your product up to taking on some bacteria from your lids, lashes, and air. Mascara tends to have a shorter shelf-life due to the fact that the wand lives inside the product. So if your mascara wand happens to pick up bacteria during use, it's going right back into the tube with the rest of the product. One thing you can do to inhibit bacteria from getting inside your mascara tube is to stop pumping your wand into the tube. I'm not sure where we all learned to do that but it's bad practice. The pumping motion pushes air into the tube which let's bacteria and air in, which can dry out the product. Liquid liners or pot-based cream liners are also very susceptible to bacteria due to the placement on the eyes so close to the eyelash follicles. The last thing you want to come from using expired eye product is the potential of getting pink eye, sties, or some other infection that will have you going eyeliner and mascara-less for awhile. Your eyes are sensitive and prone to irritation, so this not a place to take chances.
Lipsticks, Lip Balms, Glosses & Liquids | 1 - 1.5 years
Let me guess, you've probably got one of every style lip product stashed all over. Buried at the bottom of a purse, last winter's coat, your car, or suitcase - they seem to get lost in the oblivion of our lives. However, the next time you get excited about finding that lipstick, you are going to want to think twice about applying it. The good thing though is that lipsticks lasts longer and you can sanitize traditional bullet-style lipsticks with a spritz alcohol to keep the bacteria at bay. If you've actually used up a full tube of lipstick, kudos to you. But if you're anything like myself, that's not happening because you continuously keep buying new lipsticks even though it's basically the same color as the ten others in your drawer. We tend to reapply our lip products multiple times a day which means you have just increased the potential of bacteria being introduced. Even more so if you've just been kissing someone and need to reapply - that's potential for more microbes to infect your fave lipstick. For liquid lipsticks or glosses, where the applicator/wand lives inside the product (similar to mascara), you run a higher risk of these going bad first. You can hold on to your traditional lipsticks for up to two years but they tend to start drying out around one and a half years so keep an eye on that. If at any time during the lifespan of your lip products you start seeing signs of dryness, odor, color, or texture...toss it out.
Eye and Lip Pencils | 1 - 2 years
You might be wondering how eye pencils, whether it be eyeliner or eyebrow, and lip pencils have a longer shelf life. It's because you have the ability of sharpening them which removes a layer or two of previously used product to reveal basically a brand new surface that hasn't been exposed to the elements. These will last you longer if you sharpen them at least every other day (depending on how frequently you use them) and hit them with a little bit of alcohol. These also tend to dry out so be on the lookout for that, once they start drying out the product will lose pigment, won't apply as smoothly, and needs to be tossed.
Foundation and Concealer | 6 months - 2 years (depending on the application method)
While this seems like a larger span of time when considering how often you might use your foundation or concealer, it really depends on how the product is delivered. Similar to mascara and liquid lipsticks/glosses, if the concealer or foundation has a wand that you apply the product with and this wand gets put back into the tube/jar then you want to stick to the six month mark. If your products formula has any special ingredients like salicylic acid, then you definitely want to be more cautious and consider getting rid of it sooner than later. Those ingredients tend to expire faster and more importantly change the formula of your product over time. So instead of them reducing breakouts, they might be causing them if you've held on to them for too long. For concealers or foundations that get dispensed by pumps or tubes, you can easily keep them around for up to two years. But again, if the consistency or color changes, it smells funny, or seems off then dump it. For stick foundations and concealers that tend to dry out quicker and get applied directly to the face, those should be thrown out around six months.
Loose or Pressed Powders (Blush, Eyeshadow, Foundation) | 2 years
Powders will last you a considerable amount of time because they don't have the same moisture as liquid products. Additionally, most powders are applied using a brush, which also need to be cleaned (we'll get to that). However, the oils transferred from your face to the brush to the product can cause the powder to start breaking down faster and also transfer bacteria. If you notice the product drying out or breaking down then it's time to say goodbye.
Beauty Blenders & Sponges | 3 - 6 months
Beauty tools likes sponges work wonders in getting a flawless application but just as with any other sponges (think kitchen) they can harbor some nasty bacteria. Be sure that you are cleaning them once a week and then toss them between three and six months. If you travel with your beauty blender or sponge, opt for storing them in this handy little holder. It allows them to air dry and gives them a home so they aren't being tossed around with other contents of your make-up bag getting exposed to bacteria.
While makeup brushes don't technically have an expiration date, they do need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Remember that these tools are repeatedly being dipped into your product from your face where the transfer of moisturizers, oils, serums, and bacteria can grow and deteriorate the products formula. Industry make-up artists suggests cleaning your make-up brushes once a week. Personally, that's not ideal for me because I just don't have the time. While a deep clean of make-up brushes might seem like a chore, especially if you've got yourself a nice collection, doing this once a month and then using cleaning wipes in between makes the task much easier. Also, having the right tools and knowing how to clean your make-up brushes makes it go a lot faster. Keeping them freshly cleaned, helps to keep your beauty products less tainted, makes for smoother application, and allows for the true color of your products to stand-out.
While all these expiration times are industry guidelines, remember to trust your gut. If any of your products seem off whether it's the color, the smell, or the consistency it's time to get rid of it. Don't take any chances using something that could potentially be detrimental to your skin. Keep in mind that time starts ticking as soon as the product is opened. If you need help remembering when you opened something, grab a permanent marker and jot down the date somewhere on the product. Not only will this help you know when it's time to say goodbye, it will serve as a little reminder to use the product before that date. In the end, if you can't remember the last time you used something then it's probably time to toss it.
Items Featured: Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow | Kat Von D Tattoo Liner | Benefit They're Real! Mascara | YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector | Farmacy Lip Bloom Balm | Urban Decay Eyeshadow | Beauty Blender | Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation | Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Lumnious Eyeshadow | NARS Contour Blush | Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion | Laura Mercier Cheek Color Brush | MAC Blending Brush | Sephora Eyeshadow Brush | BareMInerals Buki Brush | Stitch & Rivet DC Pouch