When to part from your powder and paint
It can be extremely tricky to know when to throw out your make-up, particularly as many beauty products don’t show an expiry date. Or even if they do, it was on the outer packaging that you threw out ages ago. Nevertheless, every product has a shelf life so it’s imperative you know when to break-up with your favourite make-up items. As heart wrenching as this can be, it is a perfectly good excuse to buy new products!
Unfortunately for consumers, “manufacturers are not required by law to display a product’s shelf life,” says make-up artist Cassandra Rae Ferguson. If an expiry date is missing from your favourite beauty buy, check if it has a picture of an open jar anywhere on the packaging. Alongside this, there should be a number, followed by an M. This is called Period After Opening (PAO), and it indicates how many months of use your product will keep for. If this symbol is nowhere to be found, then read on for our tips on when to clear out your cosmetics…
If you’re a fan of mineral make-up, then we have some good news for you! “Most face powders can last two years or more,” says Yolanda Lukowski, make-up artist. However, if you love the dewy, luminous finish of a liquid foundation, you may have to be prepared to swap formulas more often. “Liquid foundations may spoil if they are exposed to sunlight or heat. You will know if they have spoilt by separation in the formula. Anything that smells funny needs to be tossed in the bin,” advises Lukowski.
Eyeliner and eyeshadow
Depending on the type of eye colour you use, these products can last a year or two. Powder eyeshadows in particular have the most longevity, lasting up to two years. Cream or gel eyeshadows won’t last quite as long, (six to twelve months) but the upshot is that regular clean-outs mean you can try a new colour every season! Liquid eyeliners should be pried from your hands after six months, but pencil eyeliners, if regularly sharpened, can last up to three years!
It can be tempting to keep using your favourite mascara forever, especially if it’s made a significant dent in your savings. “I heard a great story about a girl who bought a YSL mascara for $50 and kept it for a YEAR because it was so expensive! She wondered why it was so dry and didn't really work anymore,” says Lukowski. Although it’s depressing (and costly!) to part with your favourite luxe mascara every three months, it’s essential for the health of your eyes. “The moment [your mascara] feels dry or flaky is the moment you need to toss it out. Particles of mascara may fall into the eye and irritate them,” says Lukowski. “If you do tend to go through mascaras quickly, then stick to the cheaper brands.”
Lipstick and lip gloss
The general consensus on lipstick is that it can last one to two years, but you’ll know if it should be ditched sooner just by looking at it. “Lipstick can turn rancid or waxy if it is very old, and lip gloss can turn thick and sticky. If this happens, throw away,” says Lukowski. This gives you a chance to hit up the beauty counters and try all the limited edition colours anyway.
It’s fairly easy to recognise if nail polish has passed its use-by-date. If the formula has turned gluggy and lost its ease of application, it’s time to bin it. If, (like most of the beautyheaven office), you’re obsessed with changing your nail colour week to week, try switching to a brand that packages smaller bottles, such as Mavala Switzerland nail colours. These last just as long as the latest nail trend, and at $7.95, you can afford to be fickle with your nail colour.
Brushes and Sponges
Ferguson suggests using a palette knife to scoop a small amount of make-up out onto a ceramic tile or the back of your hand to avoid contaminating your products. “Dipping brushes back and forward from your face to your make-up can spread bacteria from your skin to the product, shortening the shelf life.” If you can’t live without using brushes and sponges, wash them regularly in soapy water and leave them to air dry. This will ensure that bacteria doesn’t have the chance to breed – and just because you can’t see the little critters doesn’t mean they aren’t there! The truth hurts doesn’t it? - or at least makes you want to wash your brushes more regularly…
Finally, always store your products in a cool, dark place to ensure their longevity. “Keep creamy products such as lipsticks, stick foundations and lip and eye pencils refrigerated in warmer weather,” says Ferguson. And while you might think your products are good enough to eat, we strongly advise against it…