You know that favourite eyeshadow you’ve been using since you were in 11th grade? It’s probably expired. Makeup, skin care products, and perfumes all have use-by-dates. While you should still trust your better judgement as well as your 6 senses (if it looks or smells funny, toss it), most products you purchase have an open jar logo. This open jar has a number in it, and it indicates how long a product is safe to use after opening.
How to keep track
There are a number of ways you can make sure you’re not applying expired cream or, even worse, mascara (eyes are very sensitive things). If you’ve got a good memory, go ahead and rely on that. If, however, your collection is rather large, growing, or you can’t remember what you had for breakfast on Tuesday, you may want to try a different method. Labelling each product with the month you opened it is a good start. Tiny white labels and a fine-tip permanent marker are all you need, as well as the discipline to do this every time you start using a new product. Here are some general guidelines for most products in your makeup bag.
Lipsticks “ These typically last 18 months, same goes for lipgloss.
Concealers “ Most are only good for 6-12 months.
Powders “ Eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, and powders usually last 2 years.
Mascara “ This is by far the most common product to be used past its use-by-date. Part of the reason is that it’s only safe to use for 3-6 months which is a short amount of time, but also because typically you’ll have a few on the go at the same time (one for daytime, nighttime, volumizing, lengthening … you get the point). Fact is, mascara tubes are excellent breeding ground for germs to multiply, and your eyes are very susceptible to infection. It’s best to toss mascara after 3 months, 6 is pushing it, and anything over that is a blatant risk. If you want to go for the full 6 month lifespan, avoid pumping the mascara wand in and out of the tube. Same rules apply to liquid eyeliner.
Pencils “ Lip and eye pencils last 12-18 months. Regular sharpening helps keep the pencil bacteria free.
Perfumes – Most scents only last 18 months before their composition starts to change, as does the smell. Follow your nose, but be alert after 18 months!
Skin care products – In a league of their own, and differ from brand to brand. It’s always best to use the labelling method for anything from toner to eye cream.