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Make-up & Beauty Expiration Dates – The Lowdown

We’re all guilty of keeping our favourite lipstick buried in our handbag for months on end, but how clued up are you on when’s best to give your beauty bag a refresh? There’s always the temptation to hang on to your beauty stash for a little longer, so here’s some advice on when to squeeze out the last drops and when to get rid.

Ready For A Product Purge?

We can’t bear the thought of parting with our all time fave foundation either, but using products past their expiration date can lead to a whole host of skin problems as bacteria and microbes make your make-up their new home.

The difficult thing with product shelf-life is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, as it varies depending on ingredients. Enter: the period-after-opening symbol. This little icon of an open jar, which you can find on product packaging, indicates when’s best to throw things away. The symbol always lists a number alongside the letter ‘M’, which stands for months. For example, Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir says 12M – so make sure you’ve spritzed your way to an empty bottle after a year or in the bin it goes.

Are My Products Past Their Prime?

Annoyingly, sometimes the period-after-opening symbol is on the outer packaging that so many of us discard. So here are a few beauty rules to stick to if you’re unsure…

CLEANSERS:
As a rule, cleansers should last around a year. But always check the specific period-after-opening and look out for any tell-tale signs such as a change in colour, consistency or smell. If in doubt, throw it out.

FOUNDATION & CONCEALER:
All products are formulated differently, so shelf-life does depend on the ingredient list. For example, those with additional oils or hydrating properties are more likely to turn funky than a powder foundation, as bacteria thrives in moisture. As a general rule we advise tossing your foundation and concealer out after a year, but always check for discolouration or any changes in texture if yo
u’re unsure.

MASCARA:
Using a product so close to your eyes means it can easily
get contaminated, so we advise popping your mascara in the bin after 3-6 months of use. A top tip to extend it’s shelf-life is to wiggle the wand in circular motions rather than pumping it in and out of the tube – the latter just adds air into the formula which dries it out and allows pesky bacteria to develop.

EYESHADOW & LIPSTICK:
These two
showstoppers of the make-up world thankfully last a little longer than their counterparts. As long as you look after them well (always keep your lipstick lids on tight) you’ll extend their shelf-life, which is around two years. You’re good to go as long as there are  no obvious changes to the look or texture.

FRAGRANCE:
Beauty lovers, rejoice! Although you might be chucking out your mascara every few months, fragrance lasts a lot longer. Keep your scents away from heat and sunlig
ht and you’re guaranteed at least three years of fragrant fun.

Out with the old and in with the new, right? Head on over to The Birchbox Shop to update your make-up bag now.