Shelf Life Of Cosmetics: Take Note of This

Shelf Life Of Cosmetics: Take Note of This

Do you find it hard to discard old makeup products? Well, you are not the only one. It’s a dilemma faced by just about everybody. Here is why you need to take that brave and ruthless decision, even if it's that gorgeous DIOR lipstick.

Makeup products are not like diamonds, they are not meant forever. Just like edible food items and pharmaceutical drugs, makeup too has a shelf life and it’s highly advisable to not use it once it expires. The shelf life of a product literally means, ’the length of the time you can expect a product to stay safe for use on your skin’.

But how do you determine the shelf life of makeup products? Expiration dates are a bit difficult to find on products, but generally, you’ll see a symbol viz. “M” behind the product which will indicate for how long it is safe to use; for example, '18M', indicates the product is safe to use for 18 months. Now let's elaborate. Different products have a different shelf life and there are ways to know when to get rid of expired makeup, they are as follows:

Mascara - It’s best to use this product within 3 months of opening it as mascaras bottles once opened are ideal ground to breed bacteria as the packaging of the bottle is generally dark and wet. If used beyond that, chances are that your eye might get an infection like blepharitis or pink eye. There are few recognizable signs which will help you know mascara is no longer good to serve you; the product becomes clumpy, chalky, powdery and the lengthening or thickening fibers on the wand won’t separate the product as it use to when it was new, so that’s the time you need buy a new mascara.

Eyeliner and Eyeshadow- Liquid Liners are in top form delivering best results up to 3 months; cream eyeshadow for 6 months; Pencil Eyeliners and Powder Eyeshadows for 2 years respectively. Same as mascaras, liquid eyeliners are also breeding ground for bacteria as it’s wet and packaged in dark containers, it tends to become dry after few months, that’s when you need to stop using it. But it’s not the same with eye pencils as you can always refresh it by sharpening it. Powder shadows which are in pressed or loose form are less prone to bacterial growth as it lacks in water content. But when powder eyeshadows start getting old, they tend to become less pigmented and very difficult to perform, a very relevant sign to discard it.

Face Makeup - You can hold on to your liquid face makeup for 6 months once opened, Powder face makeup for 2 years, the Cream based foundation from 6 months to 1 year and concealers can last up to 2 years. There are very high chances of quick infectious growth in your face makeup, considering how often its cross-contaminated with your fingers or unclean makeup applicators. There are ways to find out whether your face product is expired; It’ll oxidize as soon as it comes in contact with air, it’ll be patchy and hard to blend, it’ll have a very distinct smell which is often unpleasant, the molecules which were pressed together to perform will start to separate and break down, there can even be growth of bacteria which will be visible. It’s highly prudent to not use the product on your skin after seeing these signs if used it can lead to severe skin issues like contact dermatitis, skin irritation, bumps, blisters, or severe rashes.

Lipsticks and Lip liners- There is no doubt that we all have been guilty to possess lipsticks and lip liners, as it either has a lot of sentimental value or it was too expensive to get rid of; but the harsh truth is, ‘it has to be disposed of after a while’. Lipsticks and glosses commonly last up to 2 years and lip liners 2 years or even more. Long-Lasting lip products tend to perish fast. It is relatively easy to find out when your lip product is worn off; you’ll see your lip stick won’t have the same color payoff, if it’s a moisturizing lip stick the oils in it will start to come out, it’ll start smelling rancid, matte lipstick will become patchy and hard to glide on lips, a lip-gloss will start looking cloudy and it may also smell bad. If a lip product is used after its expired date, it may lead to swelling of lips.

Blushes (Powders and Creams)- Powder blush can last up to 2 years and cream blush up to 6 months. Powders will always last more than creams. The general sign of perishing in powder blush would be cracks in the pan, very less color payoff and funky smell. Whereas in cream blush you’ll notice the same things as you saw in cream foundations.

Here is a list of harmful chemicals which should be avoided when purchasing cosmetic products :-

1.Coal tar dyes, an ingredient present in mascara, these dyes contain a large amount of metal. Though we apply mascara on eyelashes, chances are these harmful ingredients might get absorbed into the bloodstream. To avoid coal tar dyes, look at the label for FB&C Blue No.1 and a five-digit number prior by a CI. It might be time-consuming to look & detect these chemicals, but it will help your eye in long run.

2. Avoid EYE AND SKIN products which contain Lead, Mercury, and Parabens; these chemicals are extremely harmful and prolong use of it can cause a health hazard and may even lead to blindness in some cases. It’s very easy to let these chemicals to go unnoticed initially, but using it regularly will lead to deposition of these harmful chemicals in your body. To avoid this, use branded products where you can check the ingredients and consult with the expert in the store or company. Stop using any kind of eye product if it leads to irritation.

3.Phthalates, Dibutylphthalates (DBP, DEP or Butyl ester) are another toxic skin care ingredient which is excessively used to help skin care absorb into the skin. Prolonged use of products with these chemicals can cause severe allergic reaction.

Simple sanitation procedure increase the shelf life and hygiene of your makeup products.  As a makeup artist myself, I have a very strict rule of sanitizing all my makeup tools and products after I use it, so let’s see what it is:

  1. Always clean your makeup applicators like brushes, sponge, or beauty blenders thoroughly with baby shampoo after using it. Use IPA (IsoPropyl Alcohol) for quick sanitation.
  2.  Never contaminate your eye makeup, use disposable mascara wands if your share it. Do not over pump your mascara, it will lead to air passage into the bottle, in turn drying up your mascara.
  3. Tightly screw the cap of your cream or gel products to avoid it from drying out.
  4. Keep your lipsticks in the desired temperature, to avoid it from melting.
  5. Sidestep sharing your makeup products, to avoid any chance of skin or eye infection.
  6. Invest in good quality makeup brands.
  7.  Use makeup applicators instead of fingers.
  8. Store your makeup products in cool and dry place, it shouldn’t have direct contact with sunlight and avoid keeping it in a humid area (For example bathroom).If your mascara, gel liner or cream eyeshadow gets clumpy and dry before its expiry date, add some drops of saline solution to it, it will be as good as new.
  9. You can store your lipsticks in the refrigerator to increase its shelf life. ( Who would have thought of refrigerating lipsticks?)

Yogini Hemani is a professional makeup artist and has received her training from Fat Mu. She also holds a cosmetology license from Christine Valmy School. 

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