Have you been holding on to that favourite high-end lipstick for years because it is your go-to choice for exclusive occasions? Or that spunky blue eyeshadow that you’ve used so sparingly that it is as good as new. Have you spared a thought to whether it is really as good as new? If not, maybe its time to revisit the age-old question – does makeup really expire? If it does, how do you know when? And why you should care about it?
But does makeup really expire? Yes.
All beauty products come with a limited shelf-life. Liquid and cream based products, for instance, expire sooner than dry and gel-based products. So, there is no standardised thumb rule on how frequently you must replace different makeup products, except one – you cannot have them around for years!
How Do You Know If A Product Has Expired?
The first and the most obvious indicator of whether a product is past its shelf-life is the ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Unfortunately, not every product comes with one. Those that do, more often than not, have them in the form of incomprehensible digits embossed either on the crimp or in some obscure corner of the label. That’s why we have put together this go-to guide on expiration timeline for different beauty products:
Mascara – Mascara tops the list with the shortest shelf life. You need to replace your mascara every three months, on an average. This means your mascara tube may last you anywhere between two to four months, depending on the frequency of use. If the mascara has turned dry, flaky or clumpy, it is a sign that it needs to be tossed.
Eyeliner – Next in line is the eyeliner with a short but variable shelf life. If you use a liquid one, it can last anywhere between three and six months. Gel-based or pencil eyeliners have a longer shelf life, lasting six to 12 months. If your eyeliner becomes dry or does not glide over smoothly, it is past its prime.
Eyeshadow – Eyeshadow is certainly the most durable of eye makeup products, thanks to its dry composition. It can last you a few years, however, it can be prone to microbial growth if not handled correctly. Cleaning your applicators, closing the eyeshadow palette correctly and storing it in a cool, dry place are basic steps to enhancing its longevity.
Blush- Just like an eyeshadow, a good blush will last you long if it is maintained correctly.
Lipsticks & Lip Glosses – In case of lip products, a single expiration timeframe does not apply to all products. It may vary from brand to brand or even from product to product, depending on the ingredients, formulation, and type of preservatives used. Typically, lip products are best used within a year of being opened.
Concealers & Foundations – These two products are good to use between six months and a year of opening. If you see the separation of oils, it’s a sign that the product has deteriorated.
Skin Care Products – Just like lip products, the shelf life of skin care items cannot be generalised owing to the wide spectrum of products that fall into this category. The shelf life of a facial cleanser, for instance, maybe a lot different from the shelf life of a body lotion. Recommendations on the label are your best bet here. If you have to rely on your own judgment, nine months to a year is a safe use-by window.
In case a product has been lying around unopened, it should be good to use even a few years after purchase.
Why Should You Care About Expiration Dates?
A lot of times people dismiss expiration dates for makeup products as a marketing ploy to bolster sales. However, beauty experts believe that using makeup products beyond their expiration dates may not only reduce their effectiveness but also lead to bacterial infections and flare up skin troubles.
It may, thus, be a good idea to rummage through your vanity box to toss out all the products that have been sitting there forever and get on with the new ones.