How to Know When Your Beauty Products Expire

Allure

We know how much you love that perfect pink lipstick. Or the eyeliner that's been sharpened down to no more than a nub. But there comes a point when you have to let go and accept the reality that your favorite beauty products eventually become breeding grounds for bacteria. Here's how to know what's still good and what's past its prime.

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Mascara

This is the makeup item you should be most vigilant about: As the brush is taken out, applied, and put back in the tube, it brings with it any bacteria that has collected along the way, explains cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer. Lingering bacteria can cause redness and itchiness, or even conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pinkeye) and sties. Switch mascara every two to three months to be safe. "It will also have a distinct gasoline-like smell once it's gone bad," says makeup artist Pati Dubroff. If you develop any negative symptoms, immediately throw out any of your eye makeup that may have been contaminated. If your eyes are still irritated a day or two later, see an eye doctor.


Photo by: Roger Cabello

More from Allure.com: 

10 Hairstyles That Will Make You Look 10 Years Younger

10 New Sexy and Speedy Makeup Looks

 

Foundation

With the exception of powder formulas, all foundations are water-based, which means bacteria love them. Unopened, foundation can last for a couple of years, but once the seal is broken, Hammer says, it's best to replace it after 6 to 12 months. Keep foundations out of moist environments (such as your bathroom) and away from heat, as high temperatures encourage the growth of the bugs and can speed up the spoiling—true for beauty products in general. An off smell or a change in color tells you the formula is finished—applying it could cause irritation or breakouts.

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Concealer

Concealers are meant to cover blemishes, not cause them—which is what can happen if you use a concealer that's too old. "You'll know it's gone bad because the color will start to shift," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson. Concealers in powder and stick form can last for up to two years, while liquids should be tossed after one.



 

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Face Powder

Powders are the Energizer Bunny of makeup. They keep going...and going—at least, for up to two years. Still, as Wilson points out, "some powders contain small amounts of water from botanical extracts, so there's the risk of it growing bacteria if you leave it lying around your bathroom." Look on the ingredients panel for long Latin names—these are often botanicals, and their common names (such as oat extract, chamomile, aloe, bamboo, and green-tea extracts) are typically listed in parentheses.

 

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Blush

The same rules that apply to face powder apply to powder blush, since neither contain water. Cream blush, however, should be replaced after a year. To prolong the life of any blush, Wilson advises cleaning your blush brush regularly and storing the color in a dark, dry place. "If your blush gets wet, you run the risk of promoting bacterial growth," says Wilson. Moisture can come in the form of residue from your foundation and face cream as well, explains Dubroff: "If you're applying blush over these products, the oils cling to the bristles and transfer to the blush." This will eventually cause a dull gray film to form on powder formulas, or a white, chalky layer on top of creams. To prevent this from happening, after applying foundation and moisturizer, wait a couple minutes before putting on blush. You can also blot excess oils from your face first, then, after your blush is on, immediately wipe off your brush with a dry towel. With powders or creams, texture is also an indicator—if the formula has become so hard it won't budge from the compact, it's time to buy a new one.

 

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Eye Shadow

Eye-enhancing shadows? Yes, please. Eye-irritating ones? No, thanks. To keep your eyes from getting red or itchy, replace powder eye shadows after about three months, according to Hammer. Even though they are similar in formulation to other powders, because they're constantly in contact with a mucous membrane, there's a higher risk of transferring bacteria to the product and then back to the eyes. Pay extra attention to cream-based shadows, which tend to grow bacteria more quickly than powders. If you use your fingers to apply, wash your hands before doing so, and be aware of any color switches or off-putting smells.


Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Eyeliner

Liquid or pencil, these eye definers should be replaced about every three months. Like eye shadows, they are applied near a sensitive area and can pick up bacteria and bring it back to the eye very easily "without any visible signs of contamination," Hammer warns. If you've used a dingy liner, you could experience redness, itchiness, or, in extreme cases, conjunctivitis. Pencils will last a bit longer than liquid if you're steadfast about regular sharpening, but you'll know they're dead once a white film starts to develop on the tip that can't be sharpened off, says Dubroff.

 

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Lipstick & Lip Gloss

The wrong lipstick color may spoil your mood—but the risk of the formula spoiling (or growing bacteria) is low since they don't contain any water, says Hammer. But since they're repeatedly exposed to the mouth area, he suggests replacing lip products after a year, or if you've recently been sick. Lipsticks and lip glosses contain oily ingredients that start to smell like stale cooking oil over time, according to Dubroff, who also says to look out for changes in texture. "You'll know a lipstick has gone bad when it gets hard and you can't spread the pigment on your lips; lip gloss will feel streaky and globby if you try to apply it."

Photo by: Conde Nast Digital

Nail Polish

Nail polish may just be the Twinkie of the beauty world: It won't go bad from bacteria. Eventually though, lacquer will dry out and become thick and clumpy, with the pigments settling along the bottom of the bottle. Shake it, and if the formula remains separated, it's done-zo.

 

 

 

Photo by: David Cook

Makeup Brushes & Applicators

Grungy beauty may be back this fall—but that shouldn't include your makeup brushes. If cleaned and stored properly, good brushes can last for years, but when the bristles start to fray or fall out, it's time for a new set. To keep them looking pristine, Dubroff suggests wiping them on a dry paper towel or washcloth after every use, and giving them a thorough cleaning every two weeks with a gentle hair shampoo. The best way to store them is propped upright in a glass, where they can air out and won't be squashed and deformed. Cheap makeup sponges should be replaced after two uses—one side, then the other. (The exception: "high-quality ones that come with a cleanser, such as the Beauty Blender, which clean out well," Dubroff says.) Not only will old, porous sponges suck up too much makeup, but they are "little bacteria pits" if left sitting around, she explains.

 

More from Allure.com:

37 Gorgeous New Hair Ideas

17 Bad Skin Habits

20 Products That Will Make You Look Younger Instantly

The 50 Winning Beauty Essentials You Should Use Every Day


Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Transgender boy wins controversial girls state title

      CYPRESS, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old transgender boy completed an undefeated season Saturday by winning a controversial Texas state girls wrestling title in an event clouded by criticism from those who believe the testosterone he's taking as he transitions from female to male created an unfair advantage.

      Associated Press
    • Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki Have Called It Quits: Report

      Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki are reportedly no longer an item. According to Page Six, the retired Yankees legend, 41, and his entrepreneur girlfriend have called their relationship off after having been together just short of a year. “They were an unusual couple, from very different backgrounds, but they are both smart business people, and had quite a few things in common, including a fascination with the tech world,” a source told the outlet.

      People
    • Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

      On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as only the third president to bow out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And while this has much to do with Trump's ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it's also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching: He usually gets clobbered at these things. So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump's mirthless reactions. They're uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at Donald Trump's Twitter drafts for Oscar night First, here's President Obama clapping back at Trump's relentless "birther" conspiracy-mongering. The Lion King is involved. Next, observe Seth Meyers insisting that Trump must be running for president as a "joke." Trump does not smile. And here's Obama ripping on The Apprentice.  Finally, here's a delightful compilation of all the best Trump burns from the 2016 dinner.  A Larry Wilmore highlight: "Yeah, Trump's campaign is inspiring ... mass violence." (Trump did not attend that one, BTW.) So, there you have it. While we're not sure about the future of this year's event, we'll always have those stunners to fall back on.  And you can always zoom in on this cursed image while listening to "Sound of Silence." Image: Youtube/C-Span BONUS: Jordan Peele reacts to 'Get Out' as Barack Obama: 'Surrounded by white people! Not fun'

      Mashable
    • Robert De Niro snaps at wife for 'spending all my money'

      Trouble is brewing over Grace Hightower’s coffee company. We’re told that her husband, Robert De Niro — who is a major investor in the firm — is steamed because the 5-year-old Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda brand is turning into a money pit. The New York Post reports that Hightower has frustrated business associates — as well as the legendary actor — by dithering over simple decisions, and “changing her mind about how to run the business depending on who she spoke to last.” A source tells the paper that, in a moment of frustration, De Niro boiled over while bickering with Hightower in public at a Manhattan bar, telling her, “I wouldn’t have to keep making s - - tty movies if you didn’t spend

      Fox News q
    • Warren Buffett just shared his best investment advice, and said the 'elite' have wasted $100 billion ignoring it

      Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is out with its annual letter to shareholders. The letter...

      Business Insider
    • Gunman opens fire on car after crash, kills 8-year-old in Texas

      An 8-year-old girl was shot to death after surviving a car crash early Saturday morning in Houston, Texas.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • Fast and furious: Man cons salesman out of $150K Maserati

      Maserati is missing after a man conned a Florida salesman during a test drive

      ABC News q
    • Fox News Under Fire for ‘Swedish National Security Advisor’

      A brief segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Thursday has erupted into controversy after it was reported that the program’s “Swedish national security advisor” was actually an ex-convict who’d been living in Virginia. The man, identified in the program as Nils Bildt, was on the program to back up President Trump’s claims that Sweden’s immigration policies were causing major problems in the country. But Swedish reporters and experts soon came forward to report that Bildt was unknown in security circles, and neither the Swedish military nor the Foreign Ministry had any idea who he was. Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter then identified Bildt as one Nils Tolling, who had emigrated from Sweden in 1994

      The Daily Beast q
    • Try Solving This Math Puzzle That Is Making People Go Crazy on Facebook

      Ever wanted to tear your hair out and question everything you've ever learned about math? Well, thanks to the website Brain Dare, you can. The company recently posted a math puzzle to its Facebook page that's made the internet divide into two categories based on answers. Take a look at the puzzle below and determine your own answer. Did you get 40? Or 96? Though Brain Dare states that 96 is the correct answer, other users are claiming that both can be correct. Brain Dare figured out its answer with multiplication. To begin, you multiply the first number by the second number. For example, 1 x 4 = 4. Then, add that result to the first number and you'll arrive at the answer after the equal sign;

      PopSugar q
    • Transgender boy wins first 2 matches of girls tournament

      Mack Beggs won two matches at the Texas state championships Friday. But the larger conflict — over whether a 17-year-old transgender boy should be wrestling girls — remained unsettled. Beggs' family has ...

      Associated Press
    • Barack Obama Takes Daughter Malia to Broadway Show — And He Looks Incredible!

      Former President Barack Obama seems to be enjoying his trip to New York City. After being treated like a rockstar while grabbing coffee on Friday afternoon, the two bonded some more in the evening, attending the revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price on Broadway, starring Danny DeVito and Mark Ruffalo. Obama caused a commotion among New Yorkers and social media took notice of his glowing complexion, likely due to his post-presidency vacation in Palm Springs, California and, later, in the British Virgin Islands.

      People
    • Khloe Kardashian Cozies Up to 'Love' Tristan Thompson on Jamaican Vacation -- See the Pics!

      The 32-year-old reality star showed off her curves in a sexy white one-piece.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • The assassination of Kim Jong Un's half-brother keeps getting weirder

      North Korea denied responsibility for the murder of Kim Jong Nam. Ten days after Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at a Malaysian airport, we still don’t know who murdered him — or why. Malaysian investigators are pointing fingers at North Korea and at Kim Jong Un himself for organizing the murder, which was reportedly carried out by two women recruited as assassins who attacked Kim Jong Nam with a fast-acting poison.

      Vox.com q
    • The mistake that caused Warren Buffett to lose $6 billion

      “Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares,” writes Warren Buffett in his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholders. “I earlier described our gradual shift from a company obtaining most of its gains from investment activities to one that grows in value by owning businesses,” Buffett writes. “Launching that transition, we took baby steps — making small acquisitions whose impact on Berkshire’s profits was dwarfed by our gains from marketable securities.

      Yahoo Finance
    • Sanders Strikes Back at Trump Early-Morning Tweet

      Sen. Bernie Sanders used just four words — and two pictures — to hit back at an early-morning tweet from President Donald Trump claiming that his supporters would create the "biggest rally of them all!" "They did. It wasn't." the Vermont Independent senator and former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate responded to Trump's tweet. He also posted a photograph of Trump's inauguration crowd next to one from former President Barack Obama's 2009 crowd.  Trump's tweet had touted his election victory and the "millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN":  Trump and others in his administration have often criticized media coverage of the size of his crowd while insisting it was larger

      Newsmax q
    • GPS device-maker Garmin reeling after workers gunned down

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — GPS device-maker Garmin long has revered diversity in its workforce, even when the locale of its ever-sprawling operational headquarters — a largely white Kansas City suburb — didn't reflect it.

      Associated Press
    • See the Chic Red Carpet Looks from Essence's Black Women in Hollywood Party (11 photos)

      As Essence celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual Black Women in Hollywood event Thursday evening, Viola Davis , Gabrielle Union , Yara Shahidi , Aja Naomi King, and more stars flocked to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., to help kick off the festivities. Union, who served as host of the night, stunned in a black beaded Prada dress that she "fell in love" with at first sight. "I love Mrs. Prada, so anytime I have a chance to wear Prada, I'm going to jump at that chance," she told InStyle . It was one of two dresses the actress tried on and fell for. The other, a Rodarte dress, she planned to make a quick change into during the event. The night also marked the debut of her chic new haircut coiffed by hairstylist Larry Sims. "He just did it, so I'm still getting used to it, but I'm gagging. I love it," she said. Union drew further attention to the new cut with Tiffany & Co. diamond bow earrings. King, Shahidi, Issa Rae, and Janelle Monae , who were the honorees of the evening, all slayed the red carpet as well. Hidden Figures star Monae, who nabbed the Breakthrough award, rocked a sleek white suit with black lapels and yellow detailing. She took a moment to embrace Shahidi, who wore a whimsical black Chanel dress complete with sheer sleeves. The Blackish star paired the look with Chanel drop earrings she joked "cost more than my life." VIDEO: The Best Oscars Fashion of All Time 5334392326001 Shahidi took home the Generation Next award at the event, and told us, "It's pretty surreal. To be presented by my TV mother Tracee , and to be surrounded by people that I love and admire and look up to and just want to hug and fangirl over, is pretty crazy and cool." King, meanwhile, stunned in a body-hugging, white lace Michael Costello gown paired with gold heels and a white Amanda Wakeley clutch. "I feel a little bit like Diana Ross and Beyonce ," the How to Get Away with Murder star, who received the Lincoln Shining Star award told us. "Like, gorgeous--everyone is so beautiful, and I love this dress. I feel magical." " Being honored here ... it's really incredible," she continued. "I genuinely feel Essence has taken me in, in a really special way, because since the first time they invited me here two years ago, they allowed me to speak on stage with Oprah . Each time they brought me back, it just feels like coming home, getting to see family." Rae, who was honored with the Vanguard award, rocked a Francesca Miranda dress she said was "the most comfortable dress I've worn all awards season." She added, "I came here for the first time five years ago, and I had just finished the first series of Awkward Black Girl , my web series. I remember just being in awe of being here, being like, 'One day. Who knows? I'm going to get some TV shows and movies under my belt and maybe they'll recognize me.' To be recognized now, five years later, it is just a blessing." The Insecure creator's co-star Yvonne Orji was on hand to support her in a green and blue Delpozo dress paired with strappy blue Stuart Weitzman heels and Atelier Swarovski jewelry, and couldn't help but sing Rae's praises. "I'm so excited for her," she told us. "She's been killing it. 2016 and '17 has definitely been her year, and she deserves every good thing coming her way. She's amazing." Scroll down to see the glamorous looks from the red carpet.

      InStyle
    • Magician Daryl Easton, 61, Found Dead After Killing Himself in Hollywood’s Famed Magic Castle

      Magician Daryl Easton was found dead inside Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle on Friday, according to multiple reports. Police have ruled his death a suicide, the New York Daily News reported, after the Los Angeles Fire Department had responded to calls from the popular venue at 7:25 p.m. local time. The Magic Castle, which opened its doors in 1963, confirmed Easton’s death early Saturday in a statement on their Facebook page.

      People
    • Neighbor: Bar attack suspect a 'drunken mess,' not political

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man accused of shooting two Indian immigrants and a third man at a bar, in what some believe was a hate crime, was always a drinker but became a "drunken mess" after his father died about 18 months ago, a longtime neighbor said Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • Lonzo Ball's father says son will 'only play for the Lakers,' later clarifies statement

      Lonzo Ball is likely off to the NBA next year, where, his day says, he’ll be better than the reigning unanimous MVP. UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is still in college but his father, LaVar, already knows where his son is going to be playing after college: The Los Angeles Lakers. “My son will only play for the Lakers,” LaVar Ball said on The Kevin and Mike Show, a local Arizona sports radio show.

      The Dagger