Spring cleaning isn't just for your closets; your makeup bag needs a thorough overhaul too. I never know how long to keep things, so I asked celebrity skincare expert Sonya Dakar (www.sonyadakarskinclinic.com) for help!
Skincare: Most skincare products have about a 2 year shelf life. Unfortunately, you don't always know how long your moisturizer has been sitting on the shelf before you purchased it and since many items are not regulated by the FDA, they are not required to print expiration dates on the labels. If there is an expiration date, use that as a guide. Otherwise I would toss it 18 months in. Hopefully you would have finished your jar of cream by then.
SPF: Sunscreens and sunblock are actually regulated by the FDA and REQUIRED to print expiration dates on the packing. Use this date, because after it expires the company does not guarantee that the product will actually protect your skin from the sun.
Face Masks: As long as the jar or cap is tightly sealed, it can last 18 months; but as soon as the product starts to dry out or crack, it's time to say goodbye.
Zit Cream: An old or expired acne treatment is not as effective as it was in its younger days and can also pose health risks by exposing you to bacteria and other germs. Pay particularly close attention to the expiration dates on all acne products, and replace them promptly. If there is no expiration date keep for NO LONGER than 12 months.
Foundation or Cream-Based Products (blush or eye): 6-8 months. Within just months, foundation can start to grow bacteria that present health risks to your skin. If your foundation has separated or it feels thick and clumpy or thin and runny, it has passed its expiration date and needs to be replaced.
Any Powder (face, blush, or bronzer): You can keep these for about 18 months. If you see a strange layer of sheen on the top of the product, toss sooner.
Liquid Eye Products: 3 Months. Don't mess around with your eye area. The last thing you want is an eye infection!!
Mascara: 3 months. Because you use mascara near your eyes, it's liquid -- which tends to grow more bacteria -- and you double dip every time you re-insert the brush into the tube, all of which increase the risk of eye infections. Mascara has the shortest shelf life of all beauty products and should be discarded three months after opening.
Pencil Products: If you keep it freshly sharpened, you can keep for as long as 2 years.
Lips: 2 years, unless it starts to look or smell a little "off."
Nails: 2 years, unless it separates. Nail products that have passed their expiration dates can spread bacterial and fungal infections, so pay attention to their shelf life and look out for signs of spoilage; such as separation. Dirty nail clippers, files, and other nail tools carry similar health risks.
Hair Products: Many hair care products contain alcohol as a preservative, so you can worry less about the expiration dates of shampoos and other hair care than about other types of beauty products. If a beauty product for your hair looks or smells funny, it's probably time to let it go.
Additional Information and Tips: Most cosmetics come with a small jar symbol printed on them. The jar symbol represents how long after opening the product will expire. So, if it is an open jar with a 6M on it, it means it is good for 6 months after opening.
Clean & maintain your products to help them last longer! Sharpen pencils, scrape off old residue, and store it properly. This means avoid the sunny cup-holder in your car... no matter how convenient it is!
Anytime you use makeup while you have a skin or eye infection (or share it with someone who does), TOSS IT. If it smells funky, it's gone. And if it just seems like maybe it is too darn old... then it probably is.
-- Ryan Patterson
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