Is your makeup past it?


DID YOU KNOW? All cosmetics have a shelf life, and it’s written on the packaging.

Your favourite cosmetics could be spreading nasty bacteria all over your face

Maggie Gibbons

Did you even know makeup can go off? I admit I didn’t until about ten years ago when I was on a course with some beauty editors and the topic was raised. I blushed when I thought of the number of years I was using the same jar of foundation, not to mention perfume!
We’re constantly checking food labels to check ‘use by ’ and ‘best by’ dates, yet we never seem to think the same rules might apply to make up. Unlike food though, the ‘best by’ date on your makeup products applies from the day you open them, not the purchase date. All products have a little symbol containing a number, for example 18M, this simply means the product is good for 18 months. It took me a longtime to figure that one out!
The expiry date is a guideline for best use. If unopened, no particular guidelines apply, and if sealed it should last for about three years.
You should have a good idea what it’s like by sniffing the prodiuct when opened. If it smells off, better to throw it out. It’s tough having to dispose of something like your favourite lipstick or mascara, but it’s important to do it. If you don’t you run the risk of skin rash, eye infections and styes. If you tend to buy two or three of your favourite products when they’re on sale, be aware of this.
Products that contain oil will go off quicker, in fact you will usually see a separation in the bottle. Be careful. Powders are only good for a certain time also – any discolouration is a no no.
So, what are the general guidelines?

Usually good for at least six months, probably longer. Keep your foundation germ-free longer by putting it on the back of your hand before application. Try to avoid putting your fingers in the bottle.
Concealer, meanwhile, lasts about a year before it’s time to bin it.

Shouldn’t be used for more than six months, max. I’m a devil for putting the wand under running water to extend its life – not good. I don’t even  need to do this, as I have about four on the go at any one time; I just prefer some more than others. I never get through all of them before the expiry date.

Eyeliner is okay for about six months. Eye pencils last longer, as you’re sharpening them pretty often. Make sure to keep the tops on, though, to avoid contamination.
Lipstick and Gloss last about a year, though make sure you chuck them if they begin to smell. Keep the lid on them at all times.

Powder blusher
Blusher lasts about two years – and do make sure to clean those brushes regularly, or they’ll become perfect homes for all sorts of nasties.

Anything up to five years. Perfume will last longer than anything else in your beauty routine. Keep out of sunlight, though, and you can get a really long life.
In fact, I still have the end of a bottle of Paris, which my mother had in her makeup bag. I couldn’t even bring myself around to using it, and it’s still good as ever, even though she left us 20 years ago.

Top Tip
Most of the time we keep all our make up and skincare in the bathroom, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria. So next time you apply lipstick, or eye pencil, make sure to put the top back on immediately!

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. Contact her at