How Long Should You Keep Your Makeup and Skincare Products?

makeup brushes

Be honest. Do you have makeup or skin care products lying around your bathroom that you’ve had for years? It can be a difficult decision to get rid of products, especially because many of them cost a pretty penny. So, they sit around and take up space for months or even years. How do you know when something has gone bad? How do you know if a product is still safe to use? 

There’s a great deal of research that shows that there can be negative effects of keeping makeup and skin care products too long. Various kinds of bacteria can grow on cosmetics, causing acne breakouts, rashes and infections. 

Why doesn’t my makeup last forever? 

Many of our makeup and skin care products contain preservatives that help increase their shelf lives. Natural products contain less preservatives, making them go bad sooner. In any case, preservatives will not preserve your product indefinitely. Over time, bacteria and other germs can change the composition of the product, and can even result in a negative reaction with its use. 

Makeup that has been exposed to the air, and especially products that have been exposed to spikes or drops in temperature, will have a propensity toward growing bacteria, yeasts and fungus. If you use these old products that have been compromised, those nasty bacteria will then be transferred onto your skin, lips or eyes. People have reported serious side effects of using makeup that is full of bacteria, including eye infections and breakouts. 

In addition to the health concerns related to old products, the effectiveness of the product will decrease over time. Time and temperature can cause the ingredients in your product to change, resulting in makeup or skin care products that no longer look good or do their jobs. Oftentimes, ingredients can separate, changing the consistency of the product. 

In summary, the use of expired makeup or skin care products can result in serious infections and breakouts. Plus, these ingredients rarely look as good or are as effective as intended after significant time has passed. It is not worth it to use these older products. The cost of obtaining medical attention will often be more than replacing the product in the first place. 

How long do my products last? 

While there is no tried and true measurement of how long a product will last, there are some general guidelines that can help you identify if a product is past its prime. First of all, if your product appears discolored, if the ingredients have separated, if the texture changed or if there’s a different odor, it is a sign that the product has gone bad and it should be removed from your vanity. 

For those of us who love trying new skin care and makeup products, it can be difficult to recall when an item was purchased. A trick that can help you track the age of your products is to include a small label on each product with the date of purchase. Or, you could write the date of purchase on the bottle with a sharpie. This way, you’ll know exactly how long you’ve had it and know exactly when you need to get rid of it. 

Here are some general guidelines for how long typical makeup products last: 

  • Mascara and eyeliner: 2 to 3 months 
  • Powder-based products including foundation, concealer, eyeshadow and blush: about 2 years 
  • Lip products, including lipsticks, glosses and pencils: 1 year 
  • Liquid foundations and concealers: 6 months to 1 year 

Is it safe to share make up? 

As a dermatologist, patients frequently come in to the office with eye or lip infections. Often these can be tracked down to sharing makeup with others. It is not recommended that you share any makeup products with another person. Why? Everyone has their own individual bacteria or even viruses that can be easily spread through products such as mascara, eyeliner, lipstick and lip gloss. If someone has an eye infection and shares their eye makeup products, that infection could spread to the other person. 

In order to maintain a clear complexion and encourage the health of your body and skin, you should always keep track of the age of your makeup and skin care products. Check for signs that the product has changed in appearance, texture or smell. These are the first signs that your product has gone bad. Consider recording the date of purchase of your products and when they need to be thrown out to help you stay on top of it. By keeping good habits, you can avoid unwanted breakouts, rashes or infections. 

If you live in the Atlanta area and have a skin concern, call Buckhead Dermatology of Atlanta and College Park today. Our board-certified dermatologist has over 25 years of experience serving patients in the Atlanta area with skin conditions including acne, melasma, hyperpigmentation, moles, keloids, spider veins, vitiligo, eczema and dry skin.