Know when to toss your cosmetics to the bin

All good things has to come to an end. At some point, you have to kiss your makeup goodbye–even if some of them are hella expensive.

What’s great about working in the cosmetics industry is that I learn the basics of makeup. Things that most consumers wouldn’t know or wouldn’t even mind knowing–one of which is when to actually toss out your cosmetics to the bin.

I’m not sure if you have seen that episode in Tyra where she showed how much bacteria can makeup carry. Yes, our daily cosmetics are a normal breeding ground for bacteria. Totally eww, I KNOW.

Here’s the normal shelf life of your cosmetics:

Mascara: Mascara lasts 3-6 months and is the most prone of all makeup to harbor bacteria because the wand is constantly being dipped. A general rule is anything that is a liquid has a shorter life.
Concealer: Has a life of about 18 months due to emulsion (the ingredients will begin to separate). Also, remember you’re generally using concealer to cover blemishes, which can be more sensitive and prone to infection than other parts of your face.
Liquid Foundation: You should never use liquid foundation after more than one year. Always use a sponge, and not your germ-laden fingers! If the foundation separates or smells bad, throw it out.
Loose Powder: This item can last for years.
Eye Shadow: Lasts 12-18 months if it is a cream, 2 years if it’s a powder.
Lip Pencil: Can last 3 years due to the wood and wax. Remember to sharpen and cover between uses.
Lipstick: Can hold up for 2-3 years, but if there is a color change or rancid smell, throw it out. (another report I read said only 1 year)
Lip gloss: Don’t keep more than 18 months due to a different formulation chemical composition and the same dipping problem as mascara.

But if all of these is hard to memorize, you will just have to check the label–read the “Period After Opening” symbol. In fact, the “Period After Opening” symbol is on most personal care product packs, though the public don’t take a lot of notice of it. Usually, it is an icon of a cosmetic jar with a number written in the middle. The number signifies the useful lifetime of your cosmetic or skin care product indicated in number of months.

With this in mind, you can make sure to be on top of the situation. To help jog your memory, put little stickers on your cosmetic and skin-care items and write the date of opening on the sticker. In this way, you can easily monitor the cosmetics or skin care products that are up for letting go.

In practice, most cosmetic and personal care products are formulated to ensure that they are safe to use and have a shelf-life which far exceeds the normal time it would take to use the product up. With proper storage and handling, cosmetics should remain in good condition for their expected life. However, if it starts to give off a different smell or show discoloration, it’s also best to get rid of it for good.

Purge your expired makeup, check the “Period After Opening” symbol and throw out those expired items for good. 😉