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Thursday, September 16, 2010


Make-up is expensive, and if you’re like me, you don’t want to throw out a half-empty container of mascara or bottle of foundation, but beauty editor Nicole Emmerling has some very good reasons why you shouldn’t hold onto cosmetics past a certain point. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! Most of us are very conscious about checking expiration dates on food products. We don’t purchase a gallon of milk with tomorrow as a sell-by date, and we toss anything in the fridge that looks or smells odd. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do likewise for our cosmetics. Make-up has a shelf life. It doesn’t last forever, even though most contain preservatives to extend their shelf life. (Note: Natural make-ups contain no preservatives and have a much shorter shelf life.)

Keep in mind that your make-up and make-up applicators come in daily contact with germs from your hands, face, and mouth. Every time you apply make-up, you run the risk of cross-contamination, promoting bacterial growth, and causing infection. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your make-up stays as contamination free as possible.

Below I’ve listed a general guide for various cosmetic products, but here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Just like with food, if it looks or smells odd, through it out.

2. Toss out anything that’s over 2 years old.

3. Can’t remember when you purchased the product? When in doubt, toss it out.

4. Many products won’t have an expiration date printed on the container. Take it upon yourself to mark the container with the expiration date after you purchase it.

5. Never use your fingers to apply make-up. You’ll contaminate the product in the container. Clean make-up brushes in warm sudsy water every couple of weeks, and use disposable sponge applicators to lessen the growth and spread of bacteria.

Typical shelf life for non-natural cosmetics:

3-4 months
liquid eyeliner

Up to 1 year
cream and gel cleansers
water-based foundation
nail polish

Up to 18 months
oil-based foundation
cream blush
cream eye shadow

Up to 2 years
powder blush
powder bronzer
powder eye shadow
pencil eye liner
lip liner
lip gloss

Thanks, Nicole! I guess it’s time to toss that purple eye shadow from before the millennium!  Anyone else have make-up that qualifies as an antique? Post a comment to be entered in the drawing for a free book from our Book Club Friday guest author this week. -- AP


Kathy said...

I knew you shouldn't mess around with old eye makeup, but I didn't realize gel cleansers and nail polish could go bad too. I think I'd better go through my drawers and shelves and see what I have. Thanks for the heads up.

Kathye Quick said...

Yikes - I need to clean my barrels of make-up. I am a mascara junkie and probably have one of each ever made.
Great advice. Made me think