It would be great if that $25 lipstick lasted a lifetime. Think of all the money you would save–excluding the amount wasted on things that you bought that were the wrong color (what was I thinking about that yellow eyeshadow?) Sadly, that lipstick has a much shorter lifespan than you, and if you try to use it after it’s past its prime, you will be left with a nasty fungus or equally bad, lip color that doesn’t go on smooth. Think chunky peanut butter on your lips. Ick. Some makeup now has expiry dates printed on the packaging, but you can’t always go by them. A cream eyeshadow may be dated April 2016, but if you leave it half-opened on your bathroom counter and it starts sprouting mold after three months, it’s time to chuck it.
The #1 rule is if it has a nose-twitching smell, screw what they say and throw it in the trash. Otherwise, here are guidelines for when to toss your old makeup:
1. Powder Eyeshadow
Expires: 2-3 years
Think eyeshadow never goes bad if its in powder form? Sorry to disappoint you, but that 6-year-old shadow you are still using is bad. Powder eyeshadow is not immune to aging in the same way that Twinkies are. Just because it doesn’t go obviously rancid like a clumpy mascara, it still has an expiration date of about 2-3 years.
Tip: Regularly wash your makeup brush to prevent the spread of icky bacteria and pink eye.
2. Liquid Liner And Cream Or Liquid Shadow
Expires: 6-12 months
lunatics overzealous people think that you should throw out your liquid liners as often as you throw out your mascara. It sort of makes sense, because the higher the liquid content, the faster something goes bad (just like with fruit). However, with the right tools, you can make your liquid liner last twice as long as your mascara.
Tip: Don’t apply cream or liquids with your fingers, because that just spreads bacteria. Use a brush. If you don’t know which one to use, here’s an easy brush guide.
Expires: 2-3 months
This is the obvious one, that you can’t really ignore when it goes bad, but you do anyway. They say you have 2-3 months–6 months if you’re lucky–for a mascara before it goes clumpy and gets that gross musty basement smell (you know the one). You might be able to get away with it for a bit longer once it starts stinking, but it eventually won’t lengthen your lashes like it used to, and it will probably give you a sty. Great.
Tip: Don’t pump the wand, that just pushes air in the tube and makes it deteriorate faster–and it looks really weird.
4. Eye And Lip Pencils
Expires: 2-3 years
What you say? How could an eye pencil go bad when it is a glorified HB pencil? Well, if you were using said HB pencil to write on your eyes, that would also have an expiration date.
Tip: Sharpen your pencils each time before you use them. In addition to a nice sharp line, it’ll remove any lingering bacteria from the last time you used it.
5. Lipstick And Lipgloss
Expires: 1-2 years
Lipsticks tend to last longer than their glossy cousins. Glosses are the one makeup product that tend to emit a gag-inducing smell when they’ve gone bad (and you only notice it once you’ve put it on your lips). Thankfully lipsticks don’t smell, instead they start to dry up and don’t go on smooth. When you apply it, you get a weird patchy effect on your lips similar to when you color with an old marker.
Tip: If you have a cold and still insist on wearing your signature bold lipstick, disinfect the end before and after use, to prevent re-applying the same hacking cough bacteria you just got rid of.
6. Liquid Foundation And Concealer
Expires: 1-1.5 years
If your foundation starts to resemble a rather unappetizing trifle, it’s time to throw it out. The separation means the product is deteriorating. You can try and shake it back together like a nail polish, but the color will be worse and it won’t have the staying-power it once did. Plus, if you wear expired foundation, you better get ready to slap on the zit cream.
Tip: Sunlight causes foundation to break down, so instead of giving it pride of place on your vanity, store it in your cabinet. It’s not that pretty of a bottle to begin with.
7. Powder, Blush And Bronzer
Expires: 2 years
Like powder eyeshadow, face powders last longer than their liquid counterparts. You can it good chemical structure, but I call it more money in my pocket.
Tip: The sponge or powder puff the powder came with, does not have the same lifespan as the powder itself. It can be washed a couple of times (monthly at the absolute minimum) then you should get a new one or use one of your brushes.
8. Nail Polish
Expires: 2 years
If there’s anything I hate worse than smudging my freshly painted intricately detailed nail art (by which I mean polka dots or graffiti), it’s when my beloved nail polish starts getting that chunky, putty-like texture and doesn’t go on smooth. Darker colors tend to last longer, up to two years, whereas light colors can start to take a turn for the worse after a year.
Tip: You can prolong the life of your favorite limited edition OPI nail polish (why must they be limited edition, why?), with a nail polish thinner such as Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner. If only they could invent a similar miracle product to make all makeup last longer. Sigh.
Date: June 2014