What Is the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics?


What is the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics?
Keep or Toss?

“Shelf life” means how long you can expect your cosmetics to stay safe to use.

This length of time depends on the type of product, how you use it, and how you store it.

Many factors may affect cosmetic whether you should keep a cosmetic or toss it.

Cosmetics can degrade or break down for several reasons:

  • Dipping your fingers into a product
    • Adds bacteria and fungi (mold and yeast)
  • Preservatives break down over time & allow bacteria & fungi to grow
  • You expose applicators to bacteria and fungi with every use
    • Mascara wands are first on this list
  • Mixtures of water & oil can separate
  • Bathroom moisture make it easier for bacteria & fungi growth
  • Products can dry out, become hard & crack
  • Temperature, exposure to sunlight & air cause can cause texture & color changes
    • Also may cause the products to smell

Take Extra Caution with Eye-Area Cosmetics

  • These products tend to have shorter shelf lives
  • May cause eye infections if kept too long
  • You should discard mascara two-four months after purchase
  • You expose your mascara to bacteria and fungi every time you use it

Follow these tips to help keep your cosmetics safe:

  • Mascara
    • If it becomes dry, throw it away
    • Don’t add water to moisten it
    • If you have an eye infection, stop using all eye-area cosmetics
    • Throw away any eye-area cosmetics you used when the infection started
  • Don’t share makeup
    • You may be sharing an infection
    • Beware of cosmetic counter “Testers”
    • If you test a cosmetic before a purchase, apply it with a new, unused applicator
  • Keep containers and applicators clean
  • Store cosmetics properly
    • Don’t leave them exposed to heat, like in a hot car
    • Heat can make preservatives break down and cause bacteria and fungi to grow faster
  • Be suspicious of products sold in flea markets or re-sold over the Internet
    • They may be past their shelf life, already used, diluted, or tampered with
    • Also, they may even be counterfeit, “fake” versions of the product



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