Even with sales and coupons. buying new beauty products gets expensive, which is why many women hold onto their favorite makeup for years. Using something until its last drop may make good financial sense, but when it comes to cosmetics, this can be a very dangerous practice. Chemical compounds break down (altering the formula of a product), oils turn rancid and bacteria builds up, making the items in your makeup bag potential health hazards. Since they don’t come with expiration dates, use the following guidelines to know when it is time to get rid of that old tube of lipstick.
Every 3 months: Toss your mascara
A veritable playground for eye-infection causing bacteria, mascara tubes should be replaced four times a year. While this may seem like an expensive habit, companies like Rimmel make very good, inexpensive mascara, that will only set you back about $8 (even less with our printable coupon ). Tally up the cost of treating an eye infection (not to mention the frustration) and you’ll see that $32 a year isn’t so bad.
Every 6 months: Clear out your cleansers, moisturizers, lipgloss and 3-in-1 sticks
Fatty acids, like Omega-3, do wonderful things for your complexion, which is why they’re included in the formulation of many cleaners and moisturizers. The trouble is, these glorious fatty acids can spoil around the 6 month mark, causing allergic reactions or worse. If you haven’t used all of a product after this time, you should dispose of it.
Lipglosses and multiuse products won’t necessarily expire after 6 months time but after a half-year’s use, these products can harbor harmful bacteria and germs. Aren’t sure when you bought your lipgloss? If it smells like crayons, it has most likely turned and you should toss it. Glosses in a squeeze tube typically collect less germs than those with an applicator brush, so keep that in mind if you want to stretch a gloss beyond the 6 month mark.
Once a year: Get new lipstick, nail polish, concealer and liquid foundation
As with moisturizers, your
favorite lipstick is made with some perishable ingredients. Though there are preservatives in most lipsticks, they can turn rancid after a year. You’ll know when your lipstick is starting to turn if the surface becomes dry and hard or small beads form on the bullet. To make your lipstick last a little longer (and kill any bacteria), sanitize once a month by wiping with rubbing alcohol.
Lacquering up with one-year-old polish is ill-advised as well. The chemical compounds in nail polish start to degrade after a year, changing the color and strength of the paint (some higher end brands may last longer). If you have trouble remembering when you bought the polish, treat yourself to a new hue every year on your birthday or at Christmas. Brands like Hard Candy make affordable polish in a variety of colors.
Clear out your liquid or cream foundations at the one year mark too. When applied with a brush or sponge (using your fingers can help spread bacteria), water-based foundations last up to 12 months—you should periodically shake the bottles to avoid separation. Skin changes with the seasons, or with hormonal shifts that are common as we age, so it is good to make sure the formulation of foundation is working for your skin type at least once a year. The same goes for our little imperfection correctors, concealers. Both the liquid and stick formulas are typically no good after a year and should make their way out of your make-up bag. You’ll be able to tell that the product is starting to degrade when it begins to crack and/or separate.
Every two years: Rid yourself of powder foundations, blush and bronzer
Much more shelf-stable than oil and water based products, powders can last up to two years. You’ll know it is time to trash a powder when the color darkens or it begins to cake up. Keep in mind that bacteria can build up on pressed powder foundation or blush compacts; wipe off the top layer periodically to prevent this from happening.