Time to toss your make up

This week has been a fun filled week in Hong Kong. My study buddy Fernanda and I loved our course given by the wonderful Eve. Learning about colours and style during the day was so inspiring! Fernanda and I applied our knowledge in the evening, venturing through the myriad lanes and small shops before stopping for delicious dinner and drinks.

Following the theme of this week, I wanted to write about the expiration dates of cosmetics. Do you know when to toss your make up? The little symbol of an opened jar with a number tells you for how many months you can use a product after its container has been opened.

Make up expiration

Wouldn’t it be great if all manufacturers used it? Unfortunately not all do. This timeline comes in really handy!

Make Up Item Expiry Date Storage Tip
Blush (cream) 1 year Clean your blush brush regularly and store in a dry place to avoid the growth of bacteria.
Blush (powder) 2 years Same as Blush (cream).
Concealer 6 months Keep it out of sunlight, which can destroy its preservatives.
Eye liner (liquid) 3 months Throw it out if you had an eye infection.
Eye liner (pencil) 2 years Sharpen it before each application. It removes the old surface and makes it last a little bit longer.
Eye shadow (cream) 18 months If you apply it with your fingers, wash them thoroughly before.
Eye shadow (powder) 2 years Avoid getting it wet as that area will dry up and will be difficult to apply.
Foundation (moisturising) 18 months Store away from heat and moist environments (e.g. bathrooms).Don’t dip your fingers in bottle, ideally, buy foundation with a push dispenser.
Foundation (oil-free) 1 year Same as Foundation (moisturising).
Fragrances 8-10 years Store them away from sunlight.
Lip gloss 1 year To avoid any re-infections, throw out if you had or applied it on a cold sore.
Lip pencil 2 years Like the eye pencil, sharpen it before each application. It removes the old surface and makes it last a little bit longer. It also prevent re-infections if you had a cold sore.
Lipstick 2 years To avoid any re-infections, remove the top layer if you had or applied it on a cold sore.
Mascara 3 months Sharing mascara increases your risk of an eye infection. Use your own or a disposal applicator.Throw it out if you had an eye infection.
Nail polish 2 years Avoid storing it in humid places like the bathroom.Increase the longevity of your nail polish by using a nail polish thinner.

As a general rule, powder make up will last longer than liquid make up. Liquid based make up is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. In general, bacteria love, love, love wet areas. If you share your make up like mascara with friends, the risk for bacterial injections increases. It’s better to use your own applicators (single use ones are widely available) or apply with your own fingers, after they’ve been washed of course!

Sometimes, make up changes even though its expiration date isn’t up yet. The product may smell differently, it may have changed colour or the texture has changed. You’ve had an eye infection, cold sore or were sick. In these cases, it’s best to throw out your make up. Not using the same products will reduce the risk of skin irritations and re-infection.

Take also good care of your products, their storage and the tools you use to apply them. Think of your brushes, for example. Clean them on a regular basis to prevent bacteria growing on them. After being cleaned, brushes should be kept in a dry environment.

To track how much longer you can keep a product, Timestrip offers cool visual reminders of the remaining time. Alternatively, you can write down the date you opened the product directly on the item.

I go through my cosmetics on a regular basis. While I recognise the need to not expose myself to any skin irritations and infections, it hurts to see how much money is being thrown away. So, I’ve made the personal decision to limit the amount of products I buy and keep it to those I truly use. Plus, it saves space in the bathroom and me energy finding the product I’m looking for. Overall, a win-win situation!

What do you do about the expiration date of your cosmetics? I’m curious to hear what you do!

Until next time,

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