Walking down the aisles of any popular beauty store offers endless options
of colorfully packaged makeup and beauty tools, each claiming to be
longer-lasting than the others. But with the accumulation of waterproof
products and 24-hour color-stay commodities, makeup can last a little too long.
Though U.S. labeling regulations
don’t require an expiration date
on most cosmetics, they do have a lifespan—and it’s probably shorter than
you think. The consequences are more cringe-worthy than a bit of clumpy
mascara or oily foundation: Expired makeup can cause breakouts, infections,
and even skin parasites if they hang around in your vanity drawer for too
long. So before your next photoshoot or big night out, say goodbye to these
common beauty products that might be past their prime.
A reliable moisturizer is the key to a glowing, youthful complexion—that
is, if it’s not expired. Old moisturizer can cause an awful breakout.
Finding a trusted moisturizer is a process of trial and error, but once
you’ve found one that works for you, always be sure to order a replacement
before your current stash goes bad. Most professionals say a moisturizer
should last up to a year,
as long as it’s stored according to its instruction. Once your moisturizer
starts to change in color or smell, however, it’s definitely time for a new
Foundation can already be tough on the skin, especially if your face is
oily, sensitive, or acne-prone. To avoid clogging pores or exacerbating
irritation, keep track of when you bought your foundation—especially if
it’s liquid. Stored away from heat,
liquid foundation can last up to a year, and should never be contaminated by fingers or double-dipping a makeup
brush into the bottle. Powder foundation typically lasts longer, staying
fresh anywhere from 18 months to two years. The same red flags signaling
expiration of moisturizers also apply to foundation, with bad smells or
discoloration warranting a new purchase.
Eyeliner and mascara
These makeup bag staples have the shortest shelf life. The eyes are
extremely vulnerable to bacteria, and every time you apply and re-insert a
wand or applicator, bacteria are being transferred to the tube. This is
especially true for liquid eyeliners and mascara, which is why the
recommends replacing them every three months. Pencil eyeliner is slightly
more flexible, as it attracts fewer bacteria than its liquid siblings, but
should still be
thrown out after a year
to avoid infection or irritation.
Sunscreen is the most heavily recommended product by any beauty
professional. It protects the delicate facial skin from sun damage and
premature wrinkles, and it can take a long time to use an entire
bottle—even with the suggested everyday use. Luckily, sunscreen has a
pretty long shelf life. If stored appropriately in a cool, dry place,
can last up to two years.
But if exposed to heat or left in the sun, sunscreen’s active agents can
break down and alter the product’s consistency. The next time you put on
sunscreen, assess its smell and texture. If it smells funky or begins to
separate, it’s time to say goodbye.