I have a friend who rarely wears make up, but wanted to doll herself up to attend a wedding. Within minutes of starting to apply her foundation, she was dismayed to discover it smelled terrible and was forced to scrub it off. Her make up, had obviously gone bad.
How long can you really keep your make up before it turns bad and becomes a health hazard? Most make up does not require expiry dates or manufactured dates which makes it difficult to determine how old it is, even when you have just purchased it. However, most make up will not lose its freshness until after that package has been opened.
Water based liquid foundation will last about a year, whereas oil based foundations can remain for about a year and a half. However, if the bottle is opened necked, rather than a pump or squeeze tube, the time is cut in half. Tilting the bottle against your fingers introduces oil, contaminants and bacteria to your foundation, reducing the lifespan.
Pencil eyeliners are good for about two years, as long as you sharpen them regularly. Liquid eyeliners, on the other hand are much more susceptible to bacteria, and should be tossed out about three months after opening. Mascara is another easy target for contamination much like the liquid eyeliner, and should only be kept for three months.
Molded lipsticks have a good long life of up to two years in fact. Glosses and liquid lip colours, however, should not be kept more than three months.
Powdered make up, such as blush, eyeshadow and powder foundation has the longest shelf life of all cosmetics. You can keep these products for up to three years, as long as they are properly stored in a closed case. If the case is left open, however or the lid breaks, your make up is subject to dust, dirt and contaminants and could pose a health risk.
While these guidelines are helpful, a little common sense should prevail. Brushes and sponges should be washed at least once a week in mild, soapy water. Make up wedges should be disposed of after a week or two at most. If any of your make up has a funny odour or looks odd, throw it out. Also, if you have been wearing make up during a contagious illness, such as influenza, you’ve probably contaminated it and you should just start fresh.
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