How to tell if your makeup's gone off
Has your favourite foundation started to smell a bit icky? Or is the colour of your go-to eyeshadow not quite the same as it used to be? It might be time to go shopping, because your beloved products have probably expired.
We called on international make-up artist, Nicola Burford, to explain how long different cosmetics last – and how we can make sure they hang in there for as long as possible. She also lets us in on how to tell if your make-up needs to be thrown out. Because as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end…
How long do make-up products typically last before you need to replace them?
Thankfully, it’s quite easy to tell how long your make-up should last. Look for the little open jar symbol with numbers written inside it on the packaging. It has a month time stamp on it: 6m, 12m or 24m. This tells you how many months - from when you opened it – it will keep for before you should donate it to the garbage.
If the container doesn’t have an open jar, symbol, this means the product is either extremely old and really does need to go (the symbol has been in use from around 2007!), or the product is too small to fit the drawing (like a pencil). So if the symbol isn’t there or you can’t remember when you opened the product, think about the following points:
- Generally speaking, anything with a high water or emollient content (like mascara, foundation, cream, gel, wax or skincare) is more likely to harbour bacteria. Powder-based products like eyeshadow can last for a few years, while something like a liquid illuminator may only last a year.
- Mascara is most likely to attract bacteria and dry out due to its formulation and contact with your eyes. Don’t keep one for longer than 3 or 4 months from opening.
How can you tell if a make-up product's expired or gone off?
You can usually tell if a make-up product has gone off, but not always. The most obvious sign is a change of colour, as it can oxidise when exposed to air.
This is Nicola’s guide for figuring out if your make-up has expired:
Powder-based makeup: For powder eyeshadows, bronzers and blush, look for a bloom (which happens when moisture gets in to them), or the powder becoming hard and compacted from overuse with dirty brushes.
Lipsticks: These let off quite a strong, waxy smell when their best days have passed, and can also ‘sweat’ or get a bloom over them. Lip glosses may also have a strong smell and can visibly separate.
Cream blush or foundation: These usually dry out over time and can also ‘sweat’ or emit a waxy odour. Liquid foundations and primers may separate and look curdled.
Lip or eye pencils: These may become dry and/or sometimes have a bloom over the nib.
Are there any ways to extend the life of your make-up?
All make-up comes in compatible packaging that’s been designed to protect it, so it’s best to keep everything in its original packaging.
To get the best out of your makeup, avoid prolonged exposure to light and air and store it in a cool environment (bh recommends these cool cosmetics bags). Avoid getting any moisture in powder-based products unless the product has been specifically formulated as a mixing medium.
- Always replace lids tightly and firmly.
- Sharpen pencils regularly to remove any used product.
- Remember to completely discard all make-up that may have been in contact with cold sores or eye infections.
- Dirty brushes transfer onto your makeup and feed bacteria, so clean them regularly!
You can find out more about Nicola Burford at her website: www.nicolaburfordmakeup.com.au
Have you ever encountered an expired make-up product? Are you a stickler for storing your cosmetics correctly?
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