Answered[ Edited ]
Actually, this is a major question for all makeup addicts... and there is no definite accurate answer to it.
Only by rule of thumb consider that:
- any dry (powder) product such as powder eyeshadow, compact powder, lose powder -> throw away if older than three years after you've bought them, even if they are unopened;
- any creamy or liquid product, either oil or water-based -> throw away if older than 18 months after you've bought them, even if they are unopened.
Again, please, the above is not based on any regulation, lab testing or survey, just a rule of thumb to avoid unnecessary heath risks.
Also consider where you will apply the product:
- if near the mucous areas of eyes or mouth, be more careful as wet areas are more prone to bacterial infections, so why tempt face with a really old mascara, lipstick, eye or lip liner? -> throw these away after six months.
- on unbroken skin areas you can be a little bit more daring, but again, it's better to be safe than sorry.
All makeup products, even unopened have a shelf-life, i.e. a best-before date and to make matters worse, the actual shelf-life of any makeup product (opened or not) depends on how you store it. It is best to store your products in a dry, cool, dark place as the products ingredients (such as pigments) might react to UV light and bacteria thrive on heat and humidity.
The shelf-life depends on the type of product itself. e.g a powder eyeshadow will have a much longer shelf-life than say a moisturizer or a product containing SPF. This is due to the fact that products containing oil are more susceptible to bacterial growth over time
Most cosmetics manufacturers do not print a clear, understandable manufacturing date and best-before date, but they prefer esoteric batch numbers that indicate (but to them only) when the products were manufactured.
In the USA, cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives. To be sold in Europe (and it's the case of most brands) however, any cosmetic product that has a shelf-life LESS than 30 months (these would be the most critical as products with shelf-life over 30 months are usually dry, inert products, less prone to bacterial infection) MUST show on its packaging a pictogram indicating how long a product can be used AFTER opening.
@Da215, That's a great question!
Truthfully, the shelf life of your makeup will vary from product to product. Most products nowadays have an expiration date printed on the packaging, and when in doubt, it is always best to check with the manufacturer.
I think it’s safe to say that most unopened makeup that doesn't list an expiration date (except for mascara and nail polish) has a shelf life of about 3 years. Unopened mascara has a shelf life of 1 year, and unopened nail polish is good for 2 years. Changes in consistency, color and smell after opening are signs that the product has gone bad.
Here’s a general shelf-life timeframe for opened products:
- Mascara: 3 months
- Liquid & Cream Foundation: 1 year
- Concealer: 12-18 months
- Powder, Blush & Bronzer: 18 months
- Cream Blush: 12-18 months
- Eyeshadow & Eyeliner: 18 months
- Liquid Eyeliner: 6 months
- Lipstick/Lip Gloss: 18 months
- Lipliner: 1 year
- Nail polish: 1 year
- Skincare: look for the picture of product tub that is opened with a number on it, the number is how many months it's safe to use the product after opening
Here are some tips to help keep your cosmetics fresh:
- Keep makeup containers tightly closed and out of sunlight; light can degrade preservatives.
- Keep in mind, natural products expire quickly, so store creams and liquids in the refrigerator.
- Always use clean hands and brushes when applying, and use a spatula instead of fingers to dip into skincare jars.
- Don't use eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis, and throw away all products you were using when you first discovered the infection.
- Never add any liquid to bring the product back to its original consistency. Adding water or, even worse, saliva could introduce bacteria that could easily grow out of control. If it has lost its original texture and consistency, the preservatives have probably broken down.
- Never share- it's the fastest way to spread bacteria!
A good practice is to mark cosmetics with a date when you purchase and open the product. A sharpie works great!