Who knew? Your beauty products have expiration dates!
Are you a beauty junkie who’s constantly adding new purchases to her cabinet, or a minimalist who sticks to a small selection of favorites? Either way, you’ve probably got a few products in your bag that are past their expiration dates. Didn’t know beauty products could expire? Now you know, and here’s why that knowledge is so important: now only do old products lose their effectiveness, they can be major breeding grounds for bacteria (gross!).
Obviously, anything that changes in color, smell, or consistency should be tossed immediately. And if you’re meticulous about cleaning your brushes, many cosmetics will last longer; using dirty brushes or your fingers means tossing them sooner. Storing products in a cool, dry, dark place also extends the shelf life, so don’t leave them on the vanity table or in a steamy bathroom!
For more detailed expiration dates, check out this quick list of popular products and their shelf lives. Then go clean out that medicine cabinet!
Bath gels: Six months, stored in the shower; up to two years stored unopened in a cool closet.
Eye makeup: Shadows can last up to one year, but mascara and eyeliner should be tossed after three to six months, max.
Foundation and other face products: Pumps and tubes can last up to a year, while pots typically last about six months.
Hairstyling products (spray, conditioner, etc.): Unopened products can last up to two years. (Items in a can or bottle last longer than those in a jar.) If you have a favorite shampoo in a jumbo bottle, portion it into a smaller bottle for use in the shower and store the larger bottle somewhere else, since all that heat and water can break down the formula more quickly.
Lipstick, gloss, and balm: Replace frequently, definitely within six to twelve months, or anytime you’ve had a cold or sores on the mouth.
Makeup brushes: High-quality brushes that are washed often can last for quite some time, but sponges shouldn’t be used past the three-month mark, even with washing. (As for drugstore sponges, toss them after each use.)
Nail polish: Six to twelve months. After that, the color can change, become runny, or clump, all of which will ruin your manicure.
Perfumes and scented lotions: Up to three years, if properly stored.
Skin creams and sunscreen: Up to one year. After that, the active ingredients break down and lose their power.