Every makeup lover, from novice to professional, has the same question when it comes to their favorite cosmetic items: “How long can I keep this?” In the last 10 years cosmetics have taken a more dramatic turn toward ingredients that are healthier for the skin and in some cases can improve tone and texture with consistent use. Natural, organic, and mineral-based cosmetics have begun to gain popularity as well. Additionally, the industry has started to trend away from the heavier use of more chemical preservatives. With fewer preservatives and the infusion of more natural ingredients, the shelf-life of many products today is not as long as it used to be. Where do I start? Even with all of the info available to consumers out there, knowing the shelf-life of your products can be a little difﬁcult to determine. Some products have an expiration date, while many others do not. Some even have a PAO, or “period after opening” range listed directly on the product, which indicates how long a product is suggested to still maintain normal performance levels after it is opened. It is usually denoted by an icon that looks like an open jar with a number and the letter “M”. The M stands for months, therefore the open jar icon with 24M on it would have a PAO of 24 months, in other words it is recommended that you get rid of the product no less than 2 years after opening it regardless of frequency of use. In general though there are basic guidelines to the shelf life of products that apply to the majority of cosmetics available to the general public. It is important to note that the “natural” or “organic” cosmetics fall closer to the shorter end of each range. Also cosmetics with an SPF, and sunscreens should likely have an expiration date on them, usually on the bottom of the box or container.
GENERAL MAKEUP SHELF-LIFE GUIDELINES
Beyond The Expiration Date
- Powders: 1-3 years
(pressed: 2 years, loose: 3 years, containing hydrators/treatment: 18 months)
- Foundations: 1-2 years
(Liquid/Gel/Cream: 18 months, Powder: 24 months, containing SPF/treatment: 12 months)
- Concealer: 12-18 months
(Liquid/Gel: 12 months, Cream/Stick: 18 months)
- Mascara: 3-6 months
- Eyeshadow: 1.5-3 years
(Cream: 18 months, Pressed: 2 years, Loose: 3 years) (*Eyeshadow primer: 18 months)
- Lipstick/Lipstain/Lipgloss: 18-24 months
(Generally 2 years shelf-life, with SPF/treatment: 12-18 months)
Try Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip
Shine SPF 35 or Colorescience Sunforgettable
Lip Shine SPF 35 – Coral ($26.25)
- Eyeliner/Lipliner Pencils: 18-24 months
(*keep caps on tighter and sharpen before use to prevent drying out and maximize shelf-life and performance)
Try skinfo® Luxury Liner – Lush Black or skinfo® Luxury Liner – Lush Brown ($20)
- Tinted Moisturizer: 12-18 months (no SPF)
Sunscreens/Tinted Moisturizers W/SPF: Refer to the expiration date on the product.
Try Revision Intellishade SPF 45 ($50.50), EltaMD SPF 41 Tinted Sunscreen ($28), or skinfo® Morning Security Cream ($41)
“So I spent all that money on it… Should I really throw it away?” Generally speaking, if you haven’t used a product in over a year expired or not, it is already a waste of your money. If it is barely used, or worse, still brand new in the packaging and unused a year after purchase give it away to someone you know will use it. If it is expired toss it or recycle it. skinfo® has a recycling program
that will allow you to redeem a number of old skinfo® products for a discounted one. Invest in a regimen that is simple enough for everyday use but can be amped up for party-time. Be realistic about how much you actually have the time and patience to do and purchase accordingly. Don’t overdo it on wildly bright or trendy shades—unless that’s your regular speed, you will not likely use them often. The idea is to buy only what you will work through in 6-12 months so the only thing you may be tossing is empty containers. If any makeup product you own has begun to separate, smell funny, has changed textures, or is expired—TOSS IT. Using products well beyond their recommended shelf life can cause irritation. Keep the products you invested in fresher longer by investing in a good set of professional makeup brushes. Use brush cleanser to sanitize your brushes in between use. Deep clean your brushes once a month with a brush cleaner like Brush Out Brush Cleaner
from skinfo® ($20) and store them in a brush holder or pouch. If you are a fan of sponges and puffs to apply foundation, use a disposable each time you apply, especially if you have oily, sensitive, or acneic skin. DO NOT SHARE YOUR MAKEUP WITH ANYONE. You do not want to risk the unintentional transfer of bacteria and germs. TOSS ANYTHING THAT HAS COME INTO CONTACT WITH A VIRAL OR BACTERIAL INFECTION. Just like you throw away your toothbrush after you have been sick, throw away any mascara, eyeliners or eye products that have come into contact with Conjunctivitis (pink eye) or a Sty (infection of a lash follicle), avoid using lipstick, lip liners, or lip gloss when you have a cold sore. SORRY NO EXCEPTIONS ON THAT ONE. Sharpen lip pencils and use disposable brushes and sponges when you have a cold.
*All prices are subject to change. Please refer to product page for product pricing.