Thursday, June 2, 2011

Does Make-up Expire?

A couple of weeks ago when making my groceries list and checking out all the expiration dates of the food I had in house, suddenly it got me thinking. All the food we eat and the soda’s or juices we drink, all of that has an expiration date. A date that helps us keep in mind when to stop using a product and toss it. Then I asked myself if that applies for make-up to.

Do you recognize this?
You see ‘the’ prettiest eyeshadow, with the most beautiful glitters and just for that you have to buy it. You have no other reason than ‘because it’s beautiful’ and convince yourself that someday you will use it. Or you’re not that big of a make-up fan but have this special occasion and you’re in need to buy a nice blue eyeshadow.
After that bought or that simple one time use, that same eyeshadow goes in the back of your drawers and is never used again. But you don’t want to throw it away just because some day you might use it again.

Again, do YOU recognize this? I know I do.

And even though I recognize it in myself, I still keep doing it over and over again convincing myself that I WILL use it. Yeah right?!

But after some time, that same eyeshadow that once upon a time was sooo pretty will not give the same pretty finish as it used to. That would mean that it has expired. And so can a foundation, blush or any other cosmetic product.

Expiration dates are simply a “rules of thumb” and a product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if a product hasn’t been stored correctly.

But then again, why does make-up goes bad?
The answer is plain simple; bacteria’s or as others call them, germs. 

From the time you open a product, the life and effectiveness of the product decreases and bacteria grows. Every time you touch your makeup or skin-care lotions and potions, you transfer germs to them and subsequently, to your face. Heat and humidity, which promote the growth of mold and yeast, are factors, too. That’s one reason the bathroom, though convenient, isn’t the ideal spot to store cosmetics. You should keep them in a dry, cool area.

So the question now is how long can you use your make-up? 
Every product has its own shelf life.

* Foundation: 12 to 18 months
This depends on what foundation you are using. If it’s an oil-free foundation it will last up to 12 months. And oil based or cream/compact foundation will last up to 18 months. If it has SPF in it though, it has a shorter shelf life so no longer than a year. Also, as it ages, foundation can go on unevenly, creating a streaky, inconsistent finish.

* Concealer: 12 months 
Concealers can hold up quite long, although is mostly gone before it can expire.

* Pressed / loose powder: 18 to 24 months
Powders present less of a problem because bacteria can’t grow where there’s no water. However, over time, powders with botanical ingredients like aloe or jojoba can become harder to blend and are more likely to crumble, as their trace amounts of water evaporate.

* Blush: 12 to 24 months
Depending if it’s a cream blush or a powder blush. Cream blushes tend to last up 12 to 18 months. And powder blushes last longer, up to 2 years of shelf life.

* Eyeshadow: 18 to 24 months
Just as the blushes you have cream eyeshadow and powder eyeshadow. The cream eyeshadow can last up to 18 months and the powder eyeshadow up to 24 months. 

* Mascara: 3 to 6 months
Mascara is the shortest to keep product. These have the perfect place for bacteria to breed as they are in a tube with a dark, wet environment. It’s mostly recommended to throw away after 3 months of use. But depend on how careful you use it, it could last up to 6 months. By using careful I mean to never – NEVER – pump the mascara wand as that pushes air into the tube which causes it to dry faster and increases bacteria's. And another thing, do not share your mascara ever! If you do, there may be a chance at getting an eye infection.

* Eye- / Lipliner: 24 months
Eye and lip pencils should be regularly sharpen to prevent bacteria from being transferred to your eye area. You'll know the product has gone bad if it dries or crumbles. 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 & Lipgloss: 18 to 24 months
Some experts claim that lipsticks can last longer than 2 years, up to 4 years. But others don’t agree. What they all do agree is that when a lipstick or lip-gloss starts to stink, it’s time to toss that thing. Also when a lipstick gets old, it tends to dry which would take that cream look of the lips. And long-wearing formulas may have an even shorter life span since they often contain ingredients that evaporate more quickly than creamier formulas.

* Nail polish: 12 to 24 months
Nail polishes are quite sturdy products. Depending on the quality, they can last up to 2 years. But if the consistency turns gooey or stringy, that would be the time to toss it away.

* Mineral cosmetics: half the shelf life of a regular product

Mineral cosmetics have a shorter shelf life, since they don’t contain preservatives. 

Some products are safer, hygienic and than others. Like the foundation with a pump is more hygienic than the one you have to use your fingers with. Every time your finger makes a connection with the foundation, germs are being transmitted. Another ‘bacteria happy place’ is those sponge applicators we use when applying lip-gloss or concealers or any other product with a sponge applicator wand. Just think about it, you’re at a party and every time you touch-up your lips with that gloss, the same lips that you use to drink, eat and even kiss, how much bacteria you’re transmitting back into that gloss. Eww, sounds gross, doesn’t it?! Then again, it’s said that these germs aren’t a healthy risk.

This expiration time-line starts counting once a product is opened. Once it’s opened, it starts to deteriorate. But then again, who’s counting? Who of you keeps track of a product when you first opened it? I know that I don’t.   

What are the signs then to toss your make-up?
* If it smells funny or is plain stinky, throw it away.
* If the product changes color or consistency, looks cakey, doesn’t pick up color or has separated, throw away.
* Anytime your makeup items come into contact with an infection, they should be tossed immediately.
* If the product is dried out, crumbles or clumpy, toss it.

On the other side I still think that it would be a shame to throw that expensive MUFE foundation or that Illamasqua eyeshadow when it has ‘expired’ but you haven’t used it all yet. But if you handle it with care and hygienic you can still get a longer shelf life out of it.

How to extend the shelf life of your make-up?
* Use clean hands when dealing and applying your make-up.
* Make sure that your products are tightly closed and stored out of the sunlight in a cool, dry place.
* Don’t touch your make-up with your fingers. Pour it onto your palm or scoop it with a disposable applicator or spoon.
* Never use water or worst, saliva to ease an application. That will introduce more germs into the product, which can cause problems.
* Don’t use a product after using it on a broken or infected skin. The same after an eye infection. Toss it and open a new one.
* Wash your brushes regularly.
* Wash or toss your sponges weekly and allow them to air dry to prevent mold growth.
* Keep cosmetics in their store packaging until you need to use them. This will extend their shelf life because they aren’t exposed to air.

But do keep in mind though that at some point, aging cosmetics loses their effectiveness to fight bacteria no matter how careful you are when using it. When makeup's active ingredients and stabilizers break down because of age, makeup's risk of carrying an infection is much greater.

Bottom line? 
Even though we spend a little too much on make-up as it cost a little, it is and always has been like any other food we eat. They expire! So it’s always good to throw them away when they do.

Source pictures: Google

I know that it’s difficult to throw that nice shade you love since they don’t make anymore. But at least try to toss that mascara regularly to prevent an eye infection. But please, don’t hang on your 10 year old lipstick.
It’s healthy for every now and then to clean out your make-up stash as it’s a perfect excuse to go out and buy new ones.

Oefff, this has been one long article. But I hope you guys liked it and don’t forget to comment.

Do you throw out some of your make-up from time to time?

Much tossing and throwing.
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