Beauty products can be pricey. So, maximizing beauty product shelf life is essential. While we gals may adhere to The Lipstick Effect, we still want that lipstick to last! Here are a few tips to get the most bang for your beauty buck:
Keeping foundation fresh
For liquid foundation, the clock begins once the bottle is open, as ingredients begin to degrade and oxidize. Liquid foundation will remain stable when kept at room temperature for several years. But, storage is the key. The heat and humidity from a bathroom, for example, can quickly promote the growth of mold and yeast. Powder and mineral makeup can also last up to two years when properly stored.
Anti-aging products don’t age well
Generally, anti-aging creams, serums, and moisturizers should be kept a maximum of six months. There are some popular ingredients, such as vitamin C, that rapidly degrade over time (keep Vitamin C skincare products in the fridge for best results).
Other products, however, can actually become more potent over time. Ingredients such as retinol and glycolic acid become more concentrated as their bases degrade, separate, or evaporate. And, as the proportions of the ingredients change, skin may become irritated.
Safeguarding mascara (and eyes!) from bacteria
Unfortunately, the shelf life of mascara, even expensive designer brands, is short (approximately 3-6 months). Because the wand comes into direct contact with eyes, mascara can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.
But, a few simple steps will help. Remember to close the container tightly after each use to avoid mascara drying out. And, pumping the tube is another no-no, as it pushes air into the tube, thus causing the product to dry out. If mascara becomes clumpy, it is past time to pitch it.
Liquid vs. pencil eyeliner
As with mascara, little can be done to extend the lifespan of a liquid eyeliner, since the applicator is in constant contact with eyes. Liquid eyeliner can quickly grow bacteria, and if you suspect the product has gone bad, ditch it immediately. Take no chances with eye products, as germ-ridden products can cause infections and sties. (3 -6 months)
A better bet is a pencil eyeliner. My favorites are Pencil Me In eye pencils, which feature clever sharpeners, which are built right in. Regular sharpening provides a fresh surface (literally shaving away the germs). And, pencil sharpeners can be sanitized using simple rubbing alcohol. (1 year)
Lipstick, Lipliner and Lipgloss life
The high water content in lipstick and lipgloss make them particularly susceptible to bacteria. In addition, these products come into direct contact with your mouth. So, keeping an eye on freshness is a must.
High water content also means that these products can dry out rapidly. Storing in a cool dry spot and keeping lids tightly affixed will help extend the life of lipsticks and lipgloss. (1 – 2 years)
Lipliner (in pencil form) offers some of the same benefits of a pencil eyeliner, in that shaving keeps the product fresh. (1 -2 years)
Forego that giant eye shadow palette
A great powdered eye shadow palette is so much fun for experimentation! Unfortunately, powdered eye shadows only last between 1-2 years. So, you may want to pass on that mega palette in favor of smaller color collections.
With nail polish, storage is everything
Nail polish is extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity and can rapidly degrade if stored in a hot, humid bathroom. It’s easy to see if nail polish has gone bad, because it will become stringy and gooey. Once it’s “gone,” even the addition of a few drops of polish remover will not save your favorite shade. Stored properly, nail polish should last 1-2 years.
Don’t take chances with sunscreen
According to the Mayo Clinic, sunscreens are required by the FDA to remain at their original strengths for at least three years. But, at the beginning of the season, it’s best to check (since you may have several bottles going at once).
Store sunscreen well out of the sun, in a tote bag or in your cooler. (Bonus, icy cold sunscreen feels great when you reapply!).
Safeguard expensive eau de toilette and perfume
Eau de toilettes and perfumes can last for several years. But, they should not be stored in the bathroom (where heat and humidity can change the scent) or in sunlight, which can degrade the scent. Expensive perfume is a bit like fine wine – it prefers a cool, dark spot.
Most important, do not share beauty products. Germs, bacteria and conditions such as Pink Eye could result.
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DISCLAIMER: No financial compensation was received in exchange for this Beauty Product Shelf Life: Your Guide post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers.
Since 2009, Susan Said… WHAT?! has been your guide to a life filled with style – from beauty essentials, fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest ideas for events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com.