Is your makeup bag packed to the gills with lipstick tubes and cream blushes you can’t bear to part with? You could expose your skin to a host of microorganisms that breed on past-expiry cosmetics products.

What Are the Dangers of Using Expired Cosmetics?

Once the active ingredients, preservatives, and pigments in your cosmetics have passed their shelf life, the first and most obvious issue is that they may not perform like you’d expect. For example, oxidized foundation often takes on a brassy-orange hue, eyeliner pencils may crumble, and mascara can clump on the wand and your lashes.

More important, however, is the risk of introducing bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms to your body. One study found that 79-90% of used products— beauty blenders, lipgloss, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara– contain microbes like E. coli,  staphylococci, and Citrobacter freundii, all of which can potentially put your health at risk. These bacteria, along with fungi and yeast, thrive in a moist environment, particularly when the preservatives that protect your makeup from contamination have broken down after expiration.

Signs That Your Makeup is Out-of-Date

The best way to know whether it’s time to toss out your makeup is to check its shelf life on the packaging.

Unlike food, your products won’t have a specific “use by” date, as the clock doesn’t start ticking until you’ve broken the seal. Instead, you’ll find a symbol resembling an open jar with a date code like 12M (12 months) or 24M (24 months). One method to ensure you’re always using the freshest products is to jot down the date you first used them somewhere on the container. Alternatively, you can keep track with a running list stored close to your vanity.

Common Cosmetic Expiration Dates

Wondering whether it’s time to trash that decade-old eyeshadow palette? To help you sort out your makeup, we’ve compiled a list of the most common cosmetics along with their expected expiration after opening:

  • Mascara– Up to 3 months
  • Liquid eyeliner– Up to 6 months
  • Lipstick & lipgloss– 6 months to 1 year
  • Moisturizers– 6 months to 1 year
  • Cream-based blush or concealer– 6 months to 1 year
  • Lipliner and eyeliner pencils-Up to 1 year
  • Sunscreen– Up to 1 year
  • Liquid foundation– Up to 18 months
  • Powdered bronzers, blushes, and setting powder– Up to 2 years
  • Eyeshadow– 2 years
  • Nail polish– Up to 2 years

Look for Signs Your Makeup is Past Its Prime

If you can’t remember when you purchased your existing makeup, there are other signs it’s time to toss it and move on.

  1. Watch for color changes. Oxidized liquid makeup typically picks up an orange or brassy tone and powdered makeup usually fades.
  2. If the product smells “off,” it’s a sign that the preservatives aren’t keeping microbes at bay anymore.
  3. Check for changes in texture, like oils separating from liquids, clumping, crumbling, and thickening.

Restock Your Makeup Stash at AST!

When it’s time to clean out your cosmetics collection, stop by Advanced Skin Therapeutics to restock on dermatologist-approved, skin-loving brands like jane iredale, Clinician’s Complex, and Revitalash. Not only will you help keep your skin safe from the dangers of expired products, but you’ll also give your complexion the gift of nourishing ingredients that enhance your natural beauty.

We invite you to stop by one of our locations in Edina or Waconia, or shop our online store to get your favorite skincare delivered to your door.