What is the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics?

It’s Spring and there is no better time for some cleaning of your cosmetics. Cosmetics, both skin care and makeup aren’t meant to grow old with you.

“Products are developed to last a year or two,” says Susmta Patel.

NYC makeup artist Susmta Patel offers some tips on when its time to say adios to your cosmetics.

However, contamination can occur at any time, since makeup is always in contact with germ-prone areas like your eyes, mouth and fingers. In general, always toss anything that has changed color or consistency or has a bad odor. Otherwise, use these guidelines to assess the shelf life of common beauty products. Unlike food, though, cosmetics aren’t required to have an expiration date on their packaging. Instead, you’ll have to keep track of when you opened it. Most products have a symbol similar to this one, in which the number signifies the number of months you have until the item is no longer usable.

“If you have a hard time keeping track of when you’ve bought things, just write down the purchase date,” suggest Susmta.

  • Most powders, concealers and lip balms are anhydrous (they don’t contain water), so they can last for a couple of years, says Susmta.
  • Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. Toss after six months.
  • Multi-use products such as 3-in-1 sticks and creams can spread germs from lips to eyes and cheeks. Wipe the surface before switching areas, and discard or replace after six months.
  • Pencils can last several years unless you wet the tip with saliva or water. To be safe, sharpen before each use.
  • Mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria,” says Susmta.
  • Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle. Instead, use a sponge to apply.
  • Store cosmetics in a cool, dry place outside the bathroom to extend their shelf life.

If you know how to take care of your cosmetics, your makeup should serve you well. But use common sense:

If your gloss is goopy, your nail polish is separating, or your lipstick has a funny smell, it’s time to bid it adieu. To see guidelines for when to replace your makeup, read on.

  • Concealer Up to 12 months.
  • Powder 2 years.
  • Cream & gel cleansers 1 year.
  • Pencil eye liner Should be sharpened regularly. Will last up to 3 years.
  • Eyeshadow Will also last up to 3 years.
  • Brushes Wash every 2-3 months in a mild detergent.
  • Sponges Wash weekly and discard monthly.

Foundation Check the ingredients: A water-based foundation will last up to 12 months, oil-based will last up to 18 months. You may find you need two different shades of foundation each year: One for summer when your skin is naturally darker and one for winter when you’re lighter. Extra tip: If your water-based foundation dries out before its expiration date, simply add a few drops of alcohol-free toner and shake to mix it in. No need to do this to oil-based foundations. Because they contain oil, they will tend to separate. You have to shake anyway. See my list of the best foundations.

Lip liner Up to 3 years. Extra tip: Skip the push-up lip liners. They’re expensive, tend to break and you never really know how much you have left until you run out.

Lipstick Some experts say 1-2 years. Others say up to 4 years. What everyone agrees on is that if it smells rancid, throw it out, it’s spoiled. Extra tip: If you store lipstick in the refrigerator, it will last longer. Bonus tip: Want your lipstick to last longer during the day? Shade in lips with lip liner before applying lipstick. .

Mascara This product expires the fastest: Throw out after 4 months. Extra tip: If you don’t want your mascara to expire faster than its fresh date, don’t pump the wand in and out — you’re only exposing the product to drying air.

Nail Polish Up to 12 months.

Source: Susmta Patel

Susmta Patel is a multiple threat in the beauty industry as a licensed makeup artist, aesthetician, nail technician, hairstylist and waxing expert. Susmta was born in India and came to the US at the age of 20. This single mother wasted no time in diving head first into her passion for personal aesthetic services. As she says, “nothing makes me happier than the priceless smile of approval. This recognition motivates me to continue my pursuit of excellence.”

Susmta has consulted for some of the beauty industries most prestigious brands such as Shiseido, Lancome, Versace, Christian Dior, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Laura Mercier and Clinique. At the famed Completely Bare Salons in Manhattan and Scarsdale, Susmta was revered by clients for her prowess in full body waxing, permanent hair removal and eyebrow threading. Susmta was also the key makeup artist on the set of the Bollywood Film “Sama” and has judged Miss India worldwide beauty pageants.

Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links. Some products may be media samples given to us to for our honest review. All opinions are our own and not that of the brand. Read our policies for more details.

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