It’s a new year, which means that it’s time to start off on the right foot. While not everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, it’s always a good idea to go through your beauty kits for some cleaning and purging. Just like the food in your fridge, makeup can and does go bad. And even though makeup expirations aren’t as easy to understand as food packaging, it’s important to keep everything fresh!
Why Beauty Cleanliness Matters
Consider it this way, would you wear the same clothes over and over again without cleaning them? At a minimum, there’s a good chance they might smell. And depending on what you did the day before, they could be visibly dirty. So, more than likely, even if it’s your favorite shirt, you’re more than happy to toss it in the wash.
The Importance of Clean Brushes
The same thing applies to your makeup collection and your brushes. It’s well known that dirty brushes can deposit oil, dirt, and even bacteria or other pathogens back onto your skin — and into your makeup. This is especially true for pressed products where you have to dip your brush into it before applying it to your face. Keeping your brushes clean ensures that you’re not setting yourself up for a bad breakout or worse — an eye infection!
Why Old Makeup is Bad for You
But many people fail to realize that cosmetics begin to break down the minute you crack the seal and start playing with them. Exposure to the air can oxidize makeup, meaning that it changes chemical composition as time passes. And this means that given enough time, you could have a similar situation as using dirty brushes.
Understanding Cosmetics Expiration Dates
As we mentioned earlier, cosmetics aren’t exactly as well regulated as foods. So, it’s not uncommon to not see a specific expiration date listed on a product like you would a package of bread. And in many cases, you might not even get a suggested time frame. However, many brands do list general guidelines such as 12 months, 24 months, etc.
Typically this means that when a product has passed that recommended date, it’s not ideal to keep using it as the formula may have changed. For example, old mascara may become chunky and you experience more fallout because it’s starting to dry. Similarly, a once-creamy shadow or pencil liner may be stiffer and more difficult to use.
General Guides for Makeup Expiration
Even if a brand doesn’t list a specific time frame, there’s still a general guide in the industry for when certain products and formulation varieties should be tossed:
- Foundation: 6 to 12 months
- Concealer: 6 to 12 months
- Liquid Highlighters: 6 to 12 months
- Powders (including blush and foundation): 24 months
- Cream Blushes: 12 to 18 months
- Lipsticks, Gloss, & Liners: 12 months
- Pencils (brow and eye): 12 months
- Mascara: 3 months
- Liquid Liners: 3 to 4 months
- Powder Eye Shadow (pressed or loose): 3 to 6 months
- Gel Liners: 2 months
Maintaining & Replacing Makeup Brushes
Just like your actual makeup, your brushes need to be in good condition. Not only will this help you better apply makeup, but will prevent introducing dirt, oil, and pathogens to your skin. Ideally, you should clean your brushes after every use. But in real life, not everyone has that kind of time. So, experts recommend that you clean your brushes at least once a week (assuming you’re wearing makeup every week). But when should you replace your brushes?
When to Replace Brushes
You might be surprised to learn that general guidance recommends you replace your brushes every three months, especially if you wear makeup every day. However, other signs that it’s time to replace a beloved brush include:
- Serious shedding
- Poor performance (i.e. makeup begins to apply splotchy or streaky)
- Misshapen bristles that can’t be corrected
- Broken handle or ferrule (the metal clamp portion that connects the bristles to the handle)
Prepping and Cleaning for the New Year
If you haven’t already, make January the month where you go through your makeup collection and purge anything that’s expired. Take some time to also inspect your brushes the next time you clean them. Anything with a loose handle, a broken ferrule, or a wonky brush head that can’t be corrected is probably ready for the trash. Trust us, your face and your next makeup application will thank you!