We have all done it used expired makeup. After spending some major moolah on a designer or high-end product it is difficult to throw it away even when you know its past its prime. Most people myself included have had products in their makeup bags that are years or even decades old. Sure it may look perfectly fine and you think what could be the harm right? Sadly science and research has shown that there are a lot of dangers lurking in your old expired makeup.
So let’s look at what they are. Well, the antibacterial agents in makeup start to break down after about six months making it a petri dish for bacteria, especially in older products.
Over 50% of samples tested from old makeup contained bacteria such as staphylococcus. Although staph is commonly found on the skin an overgrowth can be harmful and eye and skin infections. Another bacterium found in expired make is was streptococcus, which causes sore throat, breakouts, boils and even abscesses.
Other types of bacteria found in expired makeup cames from household dust and dirty surfaces and the worst were organisms found in faecal matter.
These types of bacteria are normally found on the skin but overgrow in your makeup over time due to constant contamination. They, in turn, break down the antibacterial agents in your make up over time.
Clearly old makeup can be dangerous.
Dangers of old makeup
We know that old makeup can be contaminated but what are some of the dangers they pose to your health?
One of the most common adverse reactions to old makeup is skin infection and/or breakouts. Using expired makeup products can lead to a type of acne called ‘’acne cosmetica’’ caused by blockage of pores and bacterial overgrowth. Severe cases could lead to boils and abscesses on your skin due to infection. Expired eyeliner and mascara or eyeliner can lead to eye infection of varying severity as well as constant sensitivity.
If you have acne or skin issues which doesn’t respond to treatment look at your makeup. They may be the trigger for your acne which will not resolve until they are removed.
Poor performance and longevity
This I can attest to from personal experience I was being stubborn about throwing away and expired lipstick. Unfortunately due to its age, it applied horribly and the colour was off so it had to go into the bin.
What is the shelf life of your make up?
Some companies include a sell-by date on the container. However, all include this symbol called the ‘’period after opening ‘’ or PAO seen below with a number that indicates how many months you can use the product after it has been opened.
Let see what this is for most products
Mascara- 3 -6 months
Some brands include an expiration date for mascara. However, 3 months is the cut off after you have opened and uses the product. To reduce the likelihood of eye infections within the 3 month period, do not double pump the wand. It allows air into the tube making it a breeding ground for germs. Please throw it away once it dries out don’t try to revitalise it! by adding a liquid, it goes on your eyes you don’t want to lose them!
Eyeliner- 6 months -2 years
Again this depends on the type, for gel liners which come in a pot 6 months is the magic number while pencil liners last up to 2 years for the same reasons lip liners do, – they can be sharpened.
Eye Shadow- 1-2 years
Since eyeshadows come in different formulations they have different expiry dates. Here the dry powder formulations last much longer than cream eyeshadows. Power eye shadows last 2 years while cream eyeshadows last only 6 months. You can extend the lifespan of your cream eye shadows by making sure you use a clean brush each time. Because dirty brushes will introduce germs into the pot.
Lipstick -2 years (24 months)
This is usually quite easy to tell, lipstick which has gone ‘’off’’ usually smells or feels funny. So if you cannot remember the exact date you bought your lipstick (2 years is a long time ) keep an eye out any changes in texture and smell. That is a clear indication it needs to go into the bin.
Lip Liner –2 years(24 months)
These generally last much longer since they are sharpened regularly which removes the exposed ends. So you can use them for the stipulated 2 years or you have sharpened them down to a nub.
Foundation- 2 years( 24 months)
Most foundations last 2 years but again it depends on the formula and packaging. Powder foundation lasts up to 2 years with no issues and so can a liquid foundation as long as it comes with a pump. The pump makes sure the content are airtight and protected from the elements. So liquid foundations without a pump have a much shorter shelf life of six to eight months.
- Concealer – 2 years
- Powder, Bronzer and Blush- 2 years
Tips to keep your make up clean
- Wipe down your lipstick, with a disinfectant or shave off the top with a blade especially if you have shared it with someone else.
- Even better don’t share your makeup with anyone
- Keep all the products tightly closed and if you lose the lid or cap throw it out.
- Use disposable applicators especially for mascara and eye makeup
- Wash your makeup brushes every week.
- Clean your makeup bag and storage containers with a disinfectant wipe.
- Always apply makeup using clean brushes and applicators
- Throw away any products that have changed consistency, colour, formula or smell
- If you use powder foundation, scrape off the top layer occasionally.
Can you guess the expiry date of your favourite make up products? Better still go and look on the packaging to see if you can identify the expiry dates. Unfortunately, it is usually placed on the secondary packaging ( cartoon ) which we tend to throw away.
Tell me of any expired makeup mishaps if you have had any, I look forward to hearing from you!
First posted on Beauty In Lagos