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make up bag

Is your make-up past its sell-by-date?

Beauty / posted 2 years ago / Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Is your make-up past its sell-by-date?

Your favourite mascara may be doing more than enhancing your lashes – it could also be spreading nasty germs!

Every beauty product you buy has a shelf-life. Use it after their expiration date and you risk either irritating your skin or the product not doing what it says on the tin.

Unlike food, not every product has a use-by date on it. However, some may have a period-after-opening symbol or PAO symbol on them. The symbol – which is a graphic of an open jar with a number in it – denotes how many months a product will last for once opened.

If you don’t see a best before date on your product, our guide should help you know when it’s time for a make-up bag makeover!

Mascara: 3-6 months

A mascara tube is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and it’s very easy to catch an infection, especially as it’s a product most of us use every day. Old mascara also doesn’t perform well – it will be thick and hard to apply. To make your mascara last longer, don’t pump the wand up and down. This introduces air into the tube, drying it up quicker.

Lipstick: 2 years

Storing your lippie in the fridge can extend its shelf-life, however, if you’ve had a cold sore, it’s definitely time to say farewell. Gloss has an even shorter shelf-life of just one year. Once it feels extra sticky, you know it’s time it made friends with the bin.

Liquid foundation: 12-18 months

Most foundations do have a PAO symbol on them, but if yours doesn’t then, you’ve got about a year to use it up.  Water-based foundations don’t last as long as oil-based ones as bacteria just loves a bit of H2O.

Blusher and face powder: 2 years

As they have no water content, these bad boys are the old-timers of the make-up world! However, it’s important to regularly clean any brushes or sponges you use to apply them. Cream blusher will only last for about a year due to the water content.

Pencil eyeliner: 2-3 years

As long as you regularly sharpen pencil eye liners, which helps to keep bacteria and germs at bay, they should last a long time. Obviously if you have used your eye pencil while you’ve had some kind of eye infection, bin it or risk reinfection.

Eyeshadow: 2 years

If your eyeshadow goes all flaky and crumbly, then it’s past its sell-by-date. Ensure you regularly wash your eyeshadow brushes will help prevent bacteria growth.

If in doubt, bin it! While it’s not always easy to tell if something is past it’s best, if it starts to smell a bit strange or looks odd, it’s time to say a fond farewell.

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