Today’s article about managing expired makeup is a guest post by Kathy. She’s contributed to TimelessFinance before on the topics of frugal clothing and inexpensive hair care. Since she seems to be TF’s resident style guru, her writing will be featured in a (currently irregular) series called “Frugal in Pink”. Not to say Adina J couldn’t be our style guru given her extensive experience; she’s just busy writing finance-focused stuff at the moment.
If your makeup drawer is anything like mine was three months ago, it’s messy, jam-packed, and full of overpriced, expired makeup. But I’ve cleaned up my act by ditching my expired makeup. And you can, too. You just need to end the binge and start the purge.
You’d be surprised how many people keep makeup much longer than they should. Case in point: I found a tube of mascara I haven’t seen on a drugstore shelf for at least 4 years and a blush compact I got for Christmas. When I was 15. Gross.
Ladies, please don’t lie to yourself: makeup does have a shelf life and it will go bad! Expired makeup products often dry out and don’t do the job as well as unexpired makeup. Worst of all, expired makeup can cause skin irritation and even infections.
The fact is that, in general, women keep makeup much longer than its safe shelf life. There are a few reasons for this:
- I think the biggest reason is that makeup is really expensive. When you buy something you want to get your money’s worth. Expired makeup is always a waste but, if you keep it, you feel like it’s not.
- Sometimes, a particular product or your favourite shade is no longer being sold so you don’t want to part with the last bit of it.
- Perhaps you didn’t like the makeup, so it’s still almost full and you’ll feel bad tossing it out.
Most makeup you buy either lacks a printed expiry date or the expiry is on the exterior packaging (which you naturally don’t keep). In the US, makeup does not need to have an expiry date printed on it. I’m pretty sure we Canadian girls are in the same boat. The eyeliner I bought last week didn’t have one. That means you’ll need to exercise judgment to know when to throw out makeup.
Let’s get down to business. Here are a few tips about when to toss your makeup:
- With the exception of perfume and nail polish, if you bought it more than two years ago, toss it. Most perfumes are made with a lot of alcohol so it’ll typically last quite a few years (which is good news since perfume is expensive).
- Eye products like mascara and liquid eyeliner should not be used more than three months after the date of purchase. These products will grow bacteria. Your eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of your body so protect them and keep them clean. And definitely don’t put moldy makeup on them!
- Cream foundation and concealers will only last 6 to 12 months. These can become toxic and cause rashes, irritation, and infections if used too long after opening.
- Liquid foundations only last 3 to 6 months. If you notice that a liquid foundation has started to settle, separate, thicken, or thin then it has gone bad.
- Powdered foundation can last up to two years if kept clean and dry.
- Garbage your powdered eye shadows and blushes after about one year. I’ve read some sites that say they can last up to two years if they’re good quality and kept in ideal conditions. I would err on the side of caution – these tend to look the same for ages so it might be hard to tell if they did go bad after a year.
- Lip glosses and lipsticks can last a full year, but only if you don’t let dirt and gunk get into them. Again, err on the side of caution because expired lip glosses and lipsticks can give you mouth sores. Nasty.
- Pencil-like products including lip liner and eyeliner also last a solid year. If you notice one of these products starting to dry out or crumble, then it’s no good. Ditch it.
- Cleansers and moisturizers last about 6 months. These often have natural ingredients and decay faster as a result. Note that if you’re using a thin layer of Vaseline to moisturize before bed, this particular product lasts a very long time (it’s petroleum-based).
And here are a few tricks that I collected from around the web to help your makeup last longer:
- Don’t pump your mascara brush in its bottle to get more out. This forces airborne bacteria into the tube and also dries it out faster. Instead, twist the mascara brush around in the bottle.
- Remember to sharpen your pencil lip liners and eyeliners before each use to remove bacteria that has grown since the last use. This gives you a better defined edge to work with anyway. Also use the little clear covers that come with them.
- Toss any makeup that you haven’t opened after three years. It isn’t safe to use.
- Touch your makeup as little as possible. The more you handle your makeup, the more bacteria and germs are introduced to it. This is particularly true for creams and liquids but it’s a good makeup hygiene habit in general.
- Keep your makeup in a clean, dry place and at room temperature. Your bathroom is probably the worst place to keep makeup – the temperature and humidity change constantly because of showers. A linen cupboard or a dresser drawer full of clean, dry clothing are ideal places.
The best way to practice safe and clean makeup use is to know what you own, when it will expire, and to actually throw expired makeup away! I recommend putting a little sticker on each product, when you buy it, with the expected expiry date. Little circular stickers from the dollar store work great for me. Then be aware of the signs I listed above to know when you’ve got expired makeup on your hands (before it ends up on your face!). This will help you cut down on makeup waste — if you haven’t used much of a product before it goes bad, then don’t buy it again!
If you’re a makeup hoarder like me, you might also want to put a makeup purging day on your calendar four times a year. Not only will you get rid of expired products, but it’s like shopping in your closet for makeup. Speaking of which: if you’re taking the advice from my clothing article and shopping in your closet before each new season, then this is a perfect time to do your quarterly makeup purge. That way you can sensibly coordinate your makeup with your wardrobe and decide which makeup colours you’ll need for the new season. But don’t buy more makeup if you didn’t have anything to throw out. The idea of the expired makeup purge is to simplify your life and save money, not to acquire more stuff and waste cash. Also, if you wisely decide to purge your expired makeup after reading this article (good for you!) wait a couple weeks before buying new makeup. It’ll help you figure out which products you really need and which products, if you buy them, will just end up getting thrown out in the next purge.
Disorganized, excessive, expired makeup is bad for your health and your wallet. Do a purge of your expired makeup today!