Every one of us must have had one. The uncle…
Some things are really hard to part with. Like those boots that you had the heel fixed on about ten times, or those black skinny jeans that are looking closer to dark grey these days, or that guy that you’ve been using to make your ex jealous. But sometimes, when it’s over, you need to admit it and quit it. The same is true of your beauty products. Makeup products that really work are often difficult to find and inconvenient, costly, or impossible to replace. However, you need to remember that these things do tend to have a shelf life and sometimes it is best if you admit you are done with them before it starts to appear that they are done with you.
Face Make Up
(shelf life: liquids – 6 months, powder- 2 yrs.)
Every time you dip your fingers or brushes into liquid foundation you are increasing the likelihood of bacterial growth and, with bacterial growth comes the likelihood of breakouts and irritation. Also, as foundation ages it tends to spread less evenly resulting in an inconsistent finish. Powders are a little safer because the absence of water in powders cancels out bacteria growth, but botanical powders with ingredients like jojoba or aloe can crumble and become hard to blend as the small amounts of water in them evaporates.
(shelf life- 3 months)
According to NYC optometrist Andrea Thau, O.D., “A mascara tube is a dark wet environment -the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The preservatives in mascara only work for so long.” In addition, once mascara reaches that 3-month point, it’s not exactly giving you its best performance. By the way, if you are trying to get max life out of your mascara, don’t pump the wand, it pushes air into the tube and dries it out faster. For best results, draw out wand slowly and twist to catch the product.
Eyeliner and Eye Shadow
(shelf life: liquid eyeliners-3 months, cream eye shadows-6 months, pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows-2yrs.)
As your liquid liner dries out, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Pencil eyeliners last longer because sharpening them freshens and renews their surface. It is also a good idea to give your sharpener a little rub down with rubbing alcohol for extra sanitation. Powder shadows are less likely to attract bacteria because they, like pressed powders, contain no water. However, you may notice that older eye shadows don’t perform well and become denser and harder for your brush to pick up.
Lipstick and Lipliner
(shelf life: lipstick and gloss-2 yrs, lip liner-2 yrs or more)
The high water content in lipstick makes them especially prone to bacteria growth as they age , and, as NYC makeup artist Tina Turnbow says, ” They no longer look creamy on the lips.” Although long wearing formulas may be great for lasting through the day, they may not be so great for lasting in your makeup bag. This is due to the fact that they consist of ingredients that are more likely to evaporate than those found in creamier formulas. The old sharpener will put a little extra life into you lip liner pencils, renewing the surface with each sharpening and make them last a bit longer.
(shelf life: OTC products and acne creams are usually FDA regulated and are labeled with expiration dates. However, products with skin changing benefits are do carry these dates and once opened, should be discarded after 6 months, or if the product is in a pump bottle, a year.)
Tina Alster,MD., says, “Some ingredients (such as vitamin C, retinol, and hydroquinone) degrade more rapidly if they’re left in direct sunlight to exposed to air.” However, shockingly, some ingredients actually become more powerful as they get older. Ingredients like glycolic acid and retinol become more potent as their bases break down or evaporate and which can lead to an imbalance in the formula, and may cause skin irritation. Pump dispensers are the least likely to cause these problems because they keeping air out, so look for these if preservation is your goal.
Have you ever had a bad experience with make-up that was well past the point of expiration? If so, we would love to hear your tales of cosmetic denial.