When was the last time you ate expired food? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that unless it was an accident, or maybe a high school dare, you’ve probably never eaten expired food. For good reason too; around the time that an expiration date hits food starts to smell different and look different. The culprit of change: bacteria. Both fortunately and unfortunately bacteria is everywhere and affects virtually everything, including makeup. This being the very reason that like food, makeup expires. Of course, the vast majority of makeup produced today is manufactured with preservatives which help the product fight both air bound bacteria and bacteria transferred from brushes and applicators.
Just think, every time you touch your finishing brush from your face to your setting powder you are transferring bacteria, over and over again. This bacteria isn’t going anywhere either; it enjoys a nice staycation on your products. There’s no denying the fact that we’ve all used expired makeup before. Some people figure everyone does it, so it can’t be that bad. Others simply aren’t aware of makeup expiring or the risks that accompany expired cosmetics. Ahh yes, the risks. That’s right, using expired makeup doesn’t only sound icky, but it puts you at the very high risk of experiencing yucky unwanted effects.
Problems that the average person is likely to encounter when using expired makeup include adult acne, dry and raw patches of skin, redness and swelling, excessive oil production, eye irritations and infections, various rashes, blisters and peeling… and more!
The worst part about many of the effects listed above is that, naturally, your first defense will be to cover it all with more makeup. The thing is you are only going to make matters worse; it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that covering a pimple with a pimple-causing product is bound to make the pimple problem more prevalent than ever. If you are doing this day after day, you’re bound to experience a major – seemingly unexplainable – acne flare-up.
So you know what happens when you use expired makeup, but you might be wondering how to tell when your makeup expires. Somewhere on the packaging of all cosmetics is a picture of a circular shaped open container. Either in the center of this open container or to the side of it, you will see a number. This number represents how long you have before the product expires. There are three things to keep in mind: First, this number is most always represented in the form of months; you may see something like “12 mo.”
Second, this time, begins the very moment you open the product and expose it to air. Use this knowledge to your advantage. For example, if you bought a new odd colored lipstick hue on sale, don’t open it until you actually want to use it, this way it’s not an unused ticking time bomb just sitting in your makeup bag.
Third, while all expiration dates are printed on the original packaging (such as the box or outer plastic wrapping), they may not be on the actual product. Maybe you’ve had a product for a while, but you aren’t totally sure when you opened it. Don’t fret. Below you will find an exhaustive list of beauty products and the typical amount of time that the specific product is “good” for. Keep in mind that since natural makeup is chemical free, it does not contain any sort of bacteria fighting preservatives, so it is very likely that its expiration is sooner than those listed below.
Cosmetics and beauty products which last an average of 2 to 3 months:
- Acne pads
- Face masks and peels
- Loofah or shower sponge
- Nail file
Cosmetics and beauty products which last an average of 6 to 12 months:
- Acne creams and cleansers
- Eye creams
- Face wash
- Face and eye serums
- Liquid eyeliner
- Liquid foundation
Cosmetics and beauty products which last an average of 12 to 18 months:
- Bar soap
- Cream eyeshadow
- Eyebrow gel
- Face cream in a jar style container
- Lip gloss and lip stain
- Shower gel
Cosmetics and beauty products which last an average of 24 months:
- Body lotion in jar style container
- Eye and lip pencils
- Face and body scrub in jar style container
- Nail polish
- Powder eyeshadow
- Powder foundation
Cosmetics and beauty products which last an average of 36 months:
- Body lotion in pump or tube style container
- Hairspray and hair gel
- Perfume and cologne
- Shampoo and conditioner