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How to tell if your makeup has expired

I know personally how tough it is to decide whether or not to throw away your favourite lipstick or foundation. Especially as you only wear them on special occasions and not to mention the fortune you spent on purchasing them! However, the truth is that sticking to makeup expiration dates is actually incredibly important. Why? Well, cosmetics trap bacteria, and as a result of using those past the expiry date can cause skin irritation, eye infections, breakouts and other skin issues.

I know some of my readers may still be baffled! Most makeup products have an expiry date!! It’s not a known fact by many users, but it’s an important fact. Unlike the food you consume, the use-by date of your makeup products starts from the first day you use the item, not the purchase date. So how do you know when to bin that foundation or mascara away? The main tell-tell signs are changes in texture, moisture and stinking smells are dead giveaways that the item has gone foul.

Fret not! There is a general rule around expiry dates for specific type of products, and I have listed below for you on what they are.

Mascara 3 months shelf life Mascara is generally replaced by most people more often than any other makeup products, and all for good reasons too. Replacing your mascara regularly is crucial for avoiding eye infections. Replace them every 3 months (or sooner if you notice the formula getting clumpy or starting to smell funny, signalling it’s gone bad). The most important rule is that you NEVER share mascara, as it can cause cross-contamination. Any good makeup artist will always use a disposable spooly wand to apply mascara on you.

Liquid Eyeliner 3-4 months shelf life Similar to mascara, NEVER share your liquid eyeliner! Germs love to breed in dark liquid products so ensure to replace them on time if not earlier if you notice them smelling funny or looking clumpy or gooey.

Foundation 6-12 months shelf life Keep your foundation lasting germ free for longer by keeping your fingers away from the neck of the bottle. Instead, pump the formula onto the back of your hand before you apply. If you have ever booked my makeup services, you will notice that this is how I dispense my foundations before applying on my clients. If the oils in your foundation starts to separate, it’s definitely time to toss it away.

Lipsticks 12 months shelf life This one is hard! But you know it’s time to toss your favourite lippie away when you notice a change in their texture. Expired lipsticks can dry out or they get gloopy. To make your favourite lippies last longer, ensure to keep them it in a cool, dry place.

Pencils 12 months shelf life Pencils last longer than most eye products since they’re constantly being sharpened, so any germs that are on the pencil will be sharpened away. Keep your liners away from your steamy bathroom to extend their life. Eye Shadow, Blush & Face Powders 18-24 months shelf life The longest-lasting makeup product you’ll ever buy. Powders and blusher formulas tend to last around two full years as they contain no water, so it’s harder for bacteria to breed. How to tell if your product has expired? If the rim of your powder has a hard texture and product doesn’t transfer to a brush or your finger easily, then it’s time to bin it!

Fragrance 8-10 year’s shelf life Fragrance is the longest-lasting product in your beauty kit! Preserve your perfume’s shelf life by keeping your scents out of direct sunlight as they can discolour the scent and sometimes evaporate in high temperatures!

So, now that you know the expiry of makeup products, do make the time to analyse your makeup kit as it’s so important for avoiding any skin or eye irritations. As s professional makeup artist, I routinely do this activity to ensure a high level of hygiene and sanitisation of my products and care for my lovely client’s skin. If the above wasn’t enough for you, below are my top PRO makeup tips:

· Wash your hands every single time you go to apply or reapply your make-up. Avoiding getting any bacteria into any of the formulas will make them last longer

· If you’ve had a cold sore, get rid of any lip products that would have come into contact with it

· Write the date you bought a product on some masking tape and stick it on to remind you when you should throw it out

· Most makeup products have an expiry indication on the bottom of the container. It will say whether it is 6/12/24 months

· Wash your make-up bag regularly. We are all shameful of letting it get into a mess, but cleaning it regularly will minimise bacteria spreading

· Wash your makeup brushes regularly. Brushes are a hot bed for bacteria spreading so do wash them atleast once a week if you wear makeup daily.

We hope you found this blog useful! We love to hear from you. Please do let us know your thoughts on this blog or any topics you would like us to cover. You can use the comments section below or write to us at


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