Don’t jump the gun and blame hormones for your recurring bouts of acne, and wait a moment before you blame your perpetual eye infection on the pollen in the air — expired beauty products can cause these problems as well. Shirley Mistry tells you about the shelf life of some commonly used beauty products, so that you can keep your skin safe
YW hen it’s past its expiration date, makeup can damage your skin. From pimples and irritated skin, to more serious problems such as eye infections, you put your health at risk when you use makeup that is past its prime. Take a look at the average shelf life of commonly used beauty products to get the most out of them without damaging your skin.
Lipstick & Lip Gloss
If the product feels gloopy, tugs on your lips or makes your lips sting and feel itchy after application, it is a sign that your lipstick or lip gloss is past its prime. Another indicator of spoilt lip products is a strong, oily smell that resembles cooking oil and streaky application of the product. Although they usually last a year, exposure to bacteria and moisture can speed up their expiration.
Compared to other beauty products, face powders last the longest. With a shelf life of around 1½-2 years, pressed powders and compacts are worth their price tag. You will know that it is time to toss them out when you notice them changing colour and/ or developing a waxy film, making application difficult.
Whether you use eye pencils on your waterline or on your eyelid, you are dealing with one of the most delicate parts of your body, so it’s wise to be extra cautious. They usually last a year, but it is a good idea to replace your eye pencil every three months. Since it comes in contact with the mucous in your eyes, the bacteria that breeds on the surface of the pencil can cause dangerous eye infections. Regularly sharpen your eye pencils and throw them out as soon as they develop a white film that can’t be sharpened away.
Cream blushes, eyeshadows and powders (that are applied as creams, but dry as powder), spoil faster than most makeup. Creams breed bacteria faster and so, put you at a greater risk of skin problems than their powder-based counterparts. If you notice a chalky white or gray film on the product, or find that it is difficult to extract and apply from its tube, it is time to toss it out.
Leaving the house without a slick of mascara is unimaginable for several women, which is why you should know that you have more things to worry about than your mascara drying out in the tube. Every time you pull the wand out and return it back to the tube, the bristles trap bacteria and dust particles, which make their way to the product in the tube and later on, into your eyes. Unsurprisingly, once opened, mascara has a shelf life of just four to six months, but we suggest replacing yours every two to three to save your eyes from irritation, redness and/or conjunctivitis.
All liquid foundations are water-based, which means that bacteria will breed quicker in foundation than in most other beauty products. With an average shelf life of a year, you know foundation has gone bad when it smells funky, separates into two layers and feels greasy on application. Sometimes, you may find that the colour has changed as well. If your skin feels irritated after application, toss out your foundation immediately.
Extend their shelf life
Here are a few tips to extend the shelf life of makeup.
- Dry is good: As far as makeup is concerned, keeping it away from any external moisture is a good idea, as this prevents the growth of bacteria. So, if you are used to storing and applying your makeup in the bathroom, we suggest you switch to a dressing table, or apply your makeup in front of another mirror and store your makeup in your closet. It may be inconvenient, but it will help extend the life of your products.
- Keep it cool: Extreme weather, especially heat, can cause makeup products to spoil quickly. Store your makeup in a cool, dry place, as heat can cause germs and bacteria to breed faster and can even affect the texture of your products, making them split or separate.
- Muscle power: Ensure that you screw on the lids of all your makeup containers really tightly, so as to prevent them from being contaminated by dust, bacteria and moisture.
- No cushioning: While it is great to wash your makeup brushes regularly, don’t dry them on a towel, as this makes them prone to mildew, which will eventually get transferred into your makeup and skin.
- Use & throw: If you use sponges, which we recommend, purchase them in bulk from wholesale dealers and dispose them after one or two uses. This will ensure that your skin and products both stay free of bacteria and germs.