Monday, 4 February 2013

Are Makeup Expiry Dates a Myth?

If you look anywhere for advice on when to toss your makeup products, the only consistent piece of information is this: throw out mascara after three months. This makes sense – anything that’s going to specifically touch your eyeball should probably be as bacteria-free as possible and mascaras tend to dry out pretty quickly.

But what about everything else?

I’ve seen guidelines that range anywhere from 2-5 years for powders, 6 months to 2 years for cream shadows, lipsticks and blushes, 1-5 years for eyeliners and 2 to 10 for nail polishes. Typically there is always at least one comment from someone who is still using an eyeshadow pallet from 15 years ago and swears the shadows are still clean and work well. So what is the truth?

Well, my Mother is friends with a woman who manages a high-end department store in the city. She worked her way up from a makeup counter, so she knows cosmetics. And her opinion is that, apart from mascara, it’s all BS.

If your product actively smells, or if your powders aren’t giving any payoff, then toss them. Otherwise, “expiration dates” are merely a way to keep you rotating your collection faster than you could actually get through it.

This is one area where you do see the quality in higher-end products paying off. My Dior 5-eyeshadow pallet from five years ago still blends beautifully, while a drug store pallet I bought a couple of years ago has already gotten a little hard and chalky.

So it depends. But in the end, when it comes to expiration dates (apart from mascara – seriously, toss it after three months), let your eyes and nose be your guides.

What's your take? Are makeup expiry dates factor or fiction? Do you still have some lipstick rattling around from 1998?

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