Take a gander into any woman’s makeup bag, and we can guarantee you’ll discover a cringeworthy hoard of years-old makeup. Whether we bought it because we didn’t know how to say no to the intimidating lady at the makeup desk or because we got a bit too spend-happy with our paychecks, chances are you have several foundation bottles or primer potions you’ve only pumped once (not to mention the Naked Palette that you’ve only used two shades out of). Beyond the blatant signs of expiration—dried mascara and crumbling eyeshadow— it can be tough to tell when makeup has met its end. Surprisingly, U.S. labeling regulations don’t mandate an expiration date on most cosmetics, making it that much trickier to determine its lifespan. Regardless of whether they’re brand new or on their last life, beauty products do go bad. Even worse—they can cause breakouts, skin parasites, infections, and loss of vision if not disposed of at the proper time.
If you’re noticing that your skin has been breaking out abnormally, it could be that your makeup is old, but if you’re still noticing a problem after you’ve ditched it, your pesky problem skin could be caused by one of these 7 sneaky reasons.
While it may be difficult to toss away our precious samples, old makeup can serve as a breeding ground for germs, harboring nasty bacteria that can incur some serious damage. Ready to be more grossed out? Check out our list of 12 household items that are dirtier than your toilet seat.
But before you start embarking on an extensive makeup cleanse, we decided to ask the experts to give us the real facts. We turned to Jessica Mae, founder, creative director, and makeup artist of WarPaint International Beauty Agency, and Kelli J. Bartlett, GLAMSQUAD’s Director of Makeup Artistry, for advice on when to dump our old cosmetics—and just how bad it is to use them past their elusive lifespan.
Yes, makeup DOES expire
5-second-Studio/shutterstock Liquid foundation generally lasts for 12 months, while mascara and eyeliner only stretch for three. Lip products will generally go for around two years, but can begin deteriorating earlier if used frequently (and God forbid, shared). Compacts/eyeshadows, since they are “solids,” will generally last for two years or more if stored properly, but be aware that effectiveness and pigmentation will fade over time. Check out when you should be tossing the rest of your beauty products.