Makeup and skincare products have finite shelf lives. Using cosmetics contaminated with yeast, fungi, or bacteria can lead to very serious skin or eye problems; including conjunctivitis and staph infections. By taking a few precautions, cosmetics users can adequately protect themselves against facial blemishes and other skin conditions that could end up necessitating a costly trip to the dermatologist.
How Long Does Makeup Last?
In part, the answer to this question depends on the product’s ingredient list. Products that have water listed first on their labels are especially susceptible to bacteria contamination. Oil-rich products usually last longer; but may go rancid, especially if regularly exposed to sunlight or excessive heat. The following list provides an excellent reference guide:
- Mascara and gel eyeliners: 3-4 months, with six months as an absolute maximum lifespan
- Oil-based foundations: 1.5 years
- Water-based foundations: 1.5 years
- Powder-based foundations and powders: 2-3 years
- Lipsticks, glosses, and lip or eye pencils: 2-3 years
If any product changes color or consistency, separates, or develops an odor, discard immediately. If using preservative-free products, ask the company about contamination issues and be especially vigilant in checking for unwanted alterations in the product.
How Long Do Skincare Products Last?
Creamy or gel cleansers last about one year, as do most moisturizers. Peach & Lily skin care products are usually used up before contamination. But if kept in warm, damp conditions such as a bathroom, they should be thrown away if their odor or consistency alters in any way.
Anyone should keep skincare products without preservatives in the refrigerator and discarded as often as the company that sells them recommends. Homemade cosmetic creams or lotions should not be held longer than several weeks, even if refrigerated. Homemade perfumes in an oil base may be kept up to 6 months in a cool, dark environment; those made with an ethyl alcohol base (such as vodka) may be maintained indefinitely.
Tips for Using Cosmetics Safely
Never pump a mascara wand in and out of the tube; swirl it around inside the container to allow the brush to pick up more color. Never add water or saliva to mascara to thin it out or make it last longer; do not do this to dampen eyeshadows or eyebrow powders for use as a liner, either.
Keep eye and lip pencils sharpened by using a sharpener cleaned with 70-99% isopropyl alcohol.
Never keep makeup in the bathroom or car; strong light, dampness, and extremes of temperature will encourage the breakdown of certain ingredients and increase the risk of contamination. An everyday tackle box or sturdy makeup case from MAC or another reputable company will help keep makeup contaminant-free.
If an eye or skin infection develops, throw out all makeup in use at the time and replace it with new products. This may be expensive, but the risk of reoccurring the infection is simply too great to ignore.
Never share products with others.
Always wash hands before applying makeup.
Finally, avoid cosmetics that come in jar packaging. Jars are a haven for fungal and bacterial growth. For those addicted to an individual jar-packaged cream or makeup base, using a small plastic spatula wiped with 70-99% isopropyl alcohol to remove the product from the jar can help prevent contamination. Keep the lid of the jar tightly closed.
Cosmetics Safety Guidelines for Department Store Makeup Samples/Makeovers
Make absolutely sure that no application of previously-used products during a makeover unless they come in a sanitary tube or narrow-mouthed bottle packaging; certain types of contaminants can lurk on the surface of many products for hours or even days. Apply the same rule when testing sample cosmetics. Wiping down a sample lipstick with alcohol is always a good idea (ask first, of course).
Use fresh cotton swabs, cotton balls, or sponges to apply makeup or skincare products. Makeup brushes sprayed with quick-drying disinfectant are also acceptable.
Remember that not all cosmetics salespeople are makeup artists, so check out the cleanliness of the products and applicators before deciding on a makeover. Don’t end up paying a high dermatologist bill for a “free” new look.