It can be tempting to keep using your makeup way longer than you should in order to use every last drop, especially if you paid a lot of money for it. But makeup does expire, and it will probably expire far quicker than you realize. Not only is makeup less effective once it expires but it can also cause allergic reactions or eye infections and chalazia, characterized by a bump on an eyelid.
How long does your makeup last?
Some packaging has an expiration date printed on it as a guideline for how long the product will last once it has been opened or alternatively, it may have a small symbol showing an open jar with a number inside such as 12M or 24M – this is an indication of how long the item can be used after being opened. 12M = 12 months and 24M = 24 months.
It can be hard to find out when unopened makeup expires but as a general rule of thumb, if stored properly in a cool, dry place, most sealed products should last for 2 to 3 years. However, products that contain oils or butters such as concealer or liquid foundation, tend to expire much faster even if they remain sealed. This is also the case for more natural makeup products as they do not contain the powerful preservatives often found in more synthetic formulas. Eye makeup will often have a much shorter lifespan, most commonly around 3 to 6 months whereas pencils, like eyeliners or lip liners, will last longer because they can be sharpened.
Never keep any product any longer than 3 years and be sure to wash your makeup brushes regularly with an antibacterial cleaning solution.
What happens to expired makeup?
Powdered products can become dry and crumbly, if this occurs you should never use water or saliva to moisten it as it can introduce harmful bacteria. The colour pigment can also fade over time and lose its vibrancy. As products age more and more bacteria grows inside them which can cause acne, rashes, staph and eye infections or sties. Be extra careful with eye makeup and throw it away if you suspect it might be reaching its expiration, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the delicate area around your eyes.
How can you tell if it is expired?
The expiration stamp is the best indication but if you cannot find this or have throw away the packaging away then there are some other ways you can tell. If the product smells unusual or off at all then it is important to throw it away immediately. If the colour or texture has changed then it has likely reached the end of its life.
If you develop a reaction such as a rash or an infection like pink eye, then you should throw away any makeup you have been using as it likely now carries the bacteria that initially caused it.