I study the strangest things in my down time and amongst the things I read about over Christmas 2010 was the lifespan of cosmetics.
I'll be honest and say that I didn't even know there was such a consideration as the lifespan of cosmetics. Then again, I suppose that one must assume that most, if not all, consumable products have a corresponding shelf life based on:
- its ingredients
- its purpose
- contaminants introduced during use
- external conditions affected by storage
- Check for discoloration on any part of the product.
- Discard a product if its components are starting to separate. Some examples are a liquid film on top of a cream product, or changes in texture.
- Sniff all newly-opened products to familiarise yourself with the fresh product's scent. Any other odour coming from the product means it has gone bad.
- I believe it was Lauren Luke who suggested the "kiss test" for mascaras. Mascaras that have not dried up make a soft smacking sound when you pull the wand out of the tube.
I've gathered here a rough average of the shelf life of various products based on the average I've seen in various sources:
- Foundation - water-based lasts for 12 months while oil-based lasts 18
- Powder - both loose and compact will last for 24 months but a sight and smell test is suggested, particularly for loose powders, to make sure it's still okay
- Blush - powder blushes and bronzers (I'm assuming this means compacts, not beads) last for 24 months but cream blushes can range from 12 to 18 months
- Concealer - 12 to 18 months
- Eye Shadow - powders 24 months, creams 18 to 24 months; it is suggested that for cream shadows, a small amount can be scraped onto a palette or the back of the hand to avoid contaminating the rest of the product
- Pencils - eye and lip pencils can last up to 3 years thanks to its wood coating; regular sharpening is suggested to remove the exposed pencil surface that may have oxidized and/or may be contaminated
- Liquid Liner and Mascara - 3 to 6 months; I believe Rissa Mananquil of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was the one who said that since these products are so disposable, there is no real need to splurge on them and that mascara wands should not be pumped in and out of the tube as this introduces air into the tube, drying the product and contaminating it with airborne bacteria
- Lipstick - 24 months or more if stored in a cool place like the refrigerator; the wax in the product acts as a natural preservative
- Lip Gloss - 18 to 24 months but make sure to clean the applicator thoroughly after every use; Koren Zander of EnKore Makeup has a Youtube video on sanitizing tools and products
So yes, a little reminder to others like me who like to hoard their stash: be kind to your skin and keep an eye out for the product expiration dates to avoid infections and other cosmetic unpleasantness.
And really, if you're buying it, use it.
Originally posted as Boudoir Angel on Tumblr, 14 January 2011