As we transition from winter to spring, it’s time to declutter not only our closets but also our medicine cabinets. Just as food has a certain shelf life, the products we use on our skin and hair do, too. Many of the containers beauty products and makeup come in are breeding grounds for bacteria, especially when they’re not stored properly. It’s a good idea to check expiration dates periodically, store your cosmetics in a cool, dry place, and replace beauty products on a regular basis to ensure their effectiveness as well as your health!
If you can’t remember the last time you bought new makeup or your moisturizer is starting to look a little suspect, never fear! I’m here to break down makeup expiration dates and each product’s particular shelf life, as well as offer suggestions for their replacements. All of the items listed below are available through Splender, where members can earn cash back for every purchase. So there’s no need to feel guilty about treating yourself to new beauty products and makeup!
As you may know by now, I’m a huge proponent of natural beauty products, and I try to steer clear of parabens and other harmful ingredients as often as I can. So, most of the items below are natural, safe and work quite well from my experience.
1. Mascara: This is the number one item you should be replacing on a regular basis. Mascara is especially vulnerable to bacteria because it’s a liquid, which makes a nice breeding ground for bacteria. Its shelf life is only two to three months, so be vigilant and grab a new one frequently to avoid unnecessary eye infections.
I like tarte’s Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara. It doesn’t clump, even when I reapply it later in the day. Plus, it’s pretty affordable, which is a relief considering it needs to be replaced often. (Available at Ulta, where Splender members earn 4% cash back.)
2. Lip Gloss: Another liquid beauty item that likely needs to be spring cleaned is lip gloss – think about how many times you’re double dipping. Make sure you discard it after six months, and if you’ve been sick, replace it right away. It’s always tough to toss out your favorite lip gloss, but abiding by makeup expiration dates is actually very important.
When shopping for a new replacement, check out tarte’s LipSurgence™ Lip Gloss. I love the subtle color and the shine it leaves…just the right amount of gloss without looking overdone. (Find it at Sephora and earn 8% cash back.)
3. Foundation: Foundation lasts from six to 12 months, but note that ones that come in a jar where you’re dipping your fingers into it everyday need to be replaced even sooner. Store it in a cool, dry place, replace the lid securely, and apply with clean hands or ideally, a sponge or brush.
4. Concealer: Concealer can last up to two years if you’re using the powder or stick form, whereas the crème-based ones have a shorter shelf life (about a year). You’ll know when you need to replace it, because the color will visibly shift.
5. Bronzer/Blush: Powders are beauty products with a longer shelf life – they can last up to three to four years, especially if you’re using clean brushes. I tend to replace my bronzer every six to 12 months, though, because I go through it quickly.
6. Facial Moisturizer: Similar to foundations, the ideal way to purchase moisturizers is in the pump or tube version. Take note, as well, that ones with more active ingredients (such as SPF), have shorter expiration dates. To make your moisturizer last longer, store it in a spot that’s at least 10 degrees cooler than normal room temperature.
Tata Harper’s Restorative Moisturizer is great for dull, dry skin. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it gives skin a much-needed lift while smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. Radiant, youthful skin? Yes, please! (Find it at Saks Fifth Avenue with 8% cash back.)
7. Sunscreen: When unopened, sunscreen is good for up to three years. However, once opened, you should replace it after a year. Skin cancer is never worth the risk! I like this sunscreen set from Supergoop, which includes lip balm (they’re always so quick to burn) and hand cream. Supergoop’s sunscreen never goes on sticky or chalky. Instead, it glides on easily and leaves my skin feeling moisturized. (Available at Ahalife, and earn 5% cash back.)
8. Shampoo/Conditioner: Once opened, you should replace your shampoo and conditioner every 18 months. However, if you’re using a natural version, replace it more frequently, because it obviously is preservative-free and has a much shorter shelf life. I like Acure Organic’s shampoos and conditioners because they’re safe, incredibly moisturizing and super-affordable. (Earn 1% cash back at Target.)
9. Eye Shadow: Any product near your eyes needs to be replaced quite often to avoid infections. The powder form, which I use, lasts about three months, while a crème should be tossed even sooner. I prefer the powder ones, because I find that they don’t crease as easily.
Bobbi Brown makes really beautiful eye palettes. I love her nude versions, which I’ve been using for years. The color scheme is subtle and pairs effortlessly with bronzed skin and a nude lip. (You can find this limited edition palette at Neiman Marcus with 9% cash back.)
Considering the fact that many beauty products and lots of makeup run on the expensive side, it’s understandable that we want to get as much use out of them as possible. But once these items are opened, the clock starts ticking on makeup expiration dates and how long they will last before either becoming ineffective or, in worse case scenarios, causing irritations or infections.
Even more, as we touch these products and transfer them to our skin, it is inevitable that we’re spreading germs. This is why the bathroom, although convenient, isn’t the ideal place to store your cosmetics, because the heat and humidity combine to provide a breeding ground for bacteria. A better alternative is to keep them in your linen closet or on your dresser in your bedroom to extend the shelf life and protect your health.
Make an effort to purchase as many natural beauty products as you can. Remember: what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies!
As you’re clearing out your medicine cabinet to make room for new makeup, moisturizer and other beauty products, keep Splender in mind. Become a member today and earn cash back on every new purchase as you restock the beauty coffers.
Kate Dunphy is the author of Taffeta & Tulips, a lifestyle and fashion blog created to inspire and elevate the every day through timeless and approachable fashion choices, healthy and easy recipes, and creative and simple ways to improve your living space.