You may have gone without putting on a full face during the pandemic. But now that we’re back outside, you’re probably wearing more makeup. And that means, you need to pay attention to the expiration dates to know when that foundation and primer are past their prime.
I get it. That M.A.C lipstick and Fenty foundation ain’t cheap. So throwing any unused product in the garbage could leave you feeling like someone ripped your heart out. I’m definitely good for scraping the last bit of my Ruby Woo lipstick out of the tube. But when it comes to cosmetics, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
You might not think about your makeup in the same way you think about the food in your refrigerator. But at a certain point, your mascara can become almost as dangerous as a carton of expired milk. Once your makeup is open, it can become exposed to mold and bacteria that can irritate your skin and lead to infections. Heat and humidity are the worst conditions for your makeup, so it’s best to store them in a cool, dry place.
Some products will include an expiration date on the packaging. The Period After Opening (PAO) symbol is picture of an open jar along with a number followed by the letter ”M” telling you how long your makeup will last after you open the container. So “3M” means the product is good for three months after opening. But if you don’t see the symbol, follow these general guidelines to keep yourself safe.
According to the Mayo Clinic, any unused portion of your foundation should be tossed one year after opening. Lipsticks and lip glosses good for one - two years after opening.
When it comes to the eyes, the shelf life is a little shorter. Eyeliners and eye shadows should be tossed every three months. Makeup maven Bobbi Brown recommends getting rid of mascara after six months. “Mascara has one of the shorter life spans as it tends to get clumpy after six months. And since mascara touches your eyes, the wand collects germs and can cause an eye infection, which is why you want to change out your mascara frequently,” she says.
It’s also important to clean your makeup brushes and applicators once a week to avoid harmful bacteria that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your face. And while you’re at it, you might want to replace your makeup bag.
If you notice that the color, consistency or smell of your makeup has changed, it’s best to get rid of it even if you haven’t reached the recommended expiration date.