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Makeup. How old is too old?


We all have those makeup items that have been around way too long, we know it… we also know we have a weird attachment to them because we spent good money on them, or maybe feel badly for buying them when we felt vulnerable or got over stimulated at a high energy makeup store (that’s a whole other topic we will get to, I promise). No matter the reason for you having the old makeup kicking around… it’s no good for you! Emotionally or physically. So if you are ready to dig into you drawers and cupboards… READ ON! If you have discovered that you are overwhelmed by this or struggle to keep maintain sustainable makeup quantities and need support check out my support services.

When you purchase your products look for three things on the packaging.

  1.  Little “open jar” images This is the recommended usage times in months. There are a few brands that don’t, but this has become regular practice in this industry. These symbols are for both safety and efficacy. The plain facts are, the longer its hanging it loses its potency, efficacy and textures change. This is also a means of controlling bacterial (and sometimes other scarier things) issues. So if you want you product to do its job? Use it in the recommended time.
  2. An expiry date Some ingredients are time sensitive, so they have a limited amount of time that they offer maximum efficacy. Check for expiry dates, consider product usage time to ensure you purchase a product that isn’t short dated. *buyer beware, some retailers put products on sale as the expiry dates loom. ALWAYS check the expiry date on sale items.
  3. Compromised packaging or broken seals I spent 20 years out in the mainstream beauty world before I joined the green side. ALWAYS check the packaging before you buy it. There are many customers who open products, touch them, smell the and put them back on the self rather than using a tester. This could mean your product has been open for a period of time before you even got a chance to bring it home.

What is lurking in cosmetics that are past a recommended usage period?

I have always found this part of the subject a bit shocking and really disgusting. I always kept quite a few “just in case” makeup items around for special events or days I felt like rocking a more expressive look. The bacterium that have made their home and are proliferating in your old cosmetics can be really dangerous, make you very sick, cause eye infections, breakouts and inflammation.

There have been some great studies done on this subject.  Here is a great article to learn more.

What the heck do you do with the expired stuff?

Dispose of the product and find the packaging’s waste stream so you can keep it out of the land fill. You can also read this blog that goes into detail about how to recycle your old cosmetics.

Recommended Shelf Life for Cosmetics

1-2 years. Powders can last for up to two years, but liquids and creams should be replaced at 12 months. Use clean brushes and hands… obviously.

3 – 5 months. Mascara has a very short lifespan due to the risk of transferring bacteria back and forth from your eye into the mascara tube. Remember to always swirl your want in the tube, don’t pump it. Pumping introduces lots more air to the product drying it out. *adding water and oils (including essensial oils) to your mascara to revive it compromises its formula impacting both its performance and safety.

Liquid eyeliner
3 – 5 months. Same deal as the mascara.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss
2 years.

Eye shadow
1 year for liquid or creams, 2 years for powders.

1 year for cream blushes, 2 years for powder.

Makeup Sponges

I’m not keen on sponges, or beauty blenders, but you get to choose your own adventure. If you do opt for them, be mindful of the increased waste and safe use time.
uses for cheap makeup sponges (one use each side), 1 month for higher quality ones which may come with a cleanser to allow for more re-uses. Old sponges don’t work as well and are great at collecting bacteria!

Good brushes can last for years if kept clean and stored properly. It is a good idea to wiping them on a cloth or paper towel after every use, wash them often, and give them a thorough cleaning every 2 weeks. I personally just use whatever eco, fragrance free shampoo is kicking around. ALWAYS lay them flat to dry to prevent water from creeping into the ferrule and compromising the adhesive. This practice will prevent mold, splitting wooden handles and bristles from shedding.

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