How Old Is Too Old? This Is How Often You Should Be Replacing Your Beauty Products
When Alexa Chung uploaded her perfect Glastonbury makeup tutorial on YouTube, her affinity for a clear brow gel from eight years ago drummed up all sorts of questions. “I don’t even know if this exists anymore, I’ve genuinely had it for about eight years,” she chuckles. “There isn’t any actual product left, but I just really like the brush.”
RELATED: Storage tips for a longer shelf life
Hey, if it’s not broke don’t fix it, right? But how long is too long, and when is it safe to hold onto products beyond their expiry date? And how do you know when something has expired?
Some more obvious than others, we break down the important beauty product expiration dates and the tell-tale signs you need to ditch them stat...
Look for the key symbol
When it comes to telling the expiry of beauty products there should be an icon on the packaging that states how many months a product is good for. Otherwise known as the period-after-opening symbol, this little short stacked cylinder symbol accompanied by a number indicates how many months the product is deemed safe to use once opened. And yes, it’s always been there. Some say it hides in plain sight. Keep track of when you open products by labelling them and stick to this guide where you can.
How long does mascara really last?
Products that get up close and personal to your eyes have the shortest lifespan as the risk of infection is high. Thankfully, most eye makeup products like mascara and eyeliner let you know they’re heading south by becoming increasingly dry and clumpy. Three to six months is the maximum.
Eye shadows, blusher and powders
Because we switch up eye shadow palettes based on occasions or seasons, they can have the potential to rack up months if not years on the shelf. So long as you keep your eye makeup brushes clean, these are generally pretty safe sitting pretty for 1 - 2 years. But double-dippers beware, oils from your eyelids can transfer and speed up the product’s deterioration.
Powder blushers, bronzers and foundations
These can last 15 - 18 months when stored correctly. If they dry out, change colour or garner a film over them, this could point to mould, in which case you should toss!
How often should you change your razor blades?
Snagging or pulling? The best indicator for when it’s time for a new blade is dullness. If it feels rough on your skin and you experience skin irritation more so than usual post-shave, it’s time to replace your razor blades. How often depends on how frequently you’re shaving. Daily shavers should consider changing every 1 - 2 weeks, every other day shavers should consider changing every 2 - 3 weeks and twice-weekly shavers can go 4 - 6 weeks before changing.
How long do lipsticks last?
Lipsticks can last up to 12 months when you apply them using a lip brush. The minute your lippy starts to smell a little off, it's likely time to say goodbye. Formulas that have any anti-ageing properties in them too will start to lose their efficacy beyond 12 months, so be sure to use them up before then.
When do nail polishes go off?
Don’t let that pesky separation of colours fool you. Nail polishes can give you ample results for up to 12 months. Over time, heavier chemicals used in the formula will fall to the bottom which is when you start to see the nail polish separate and change colour. Just give it a good shake and you’re good to go. But if you’re concerned it’s not ageing well, keeping your nail polishes in the fridge will stretch them closer to the 12-month mark.
When does fragrance expire?
While it’s tempting to hold onto your fragrances - their bottles are so chic, after all - keeping them out of sight in a dark space will warrant up to three years of a somewhat decent scent out of them. Beyond that and they’re just an ornament, sweetie. Thanks to their minimal contact with us, there’s little room for cross-contamination to occur. Coupled with their alcohol content and you’re looking at fairly long shelf life by comparison.
How do you know when your sunscreen is off?
Testing whether or not sunscreen has expired is risky and, well, pretty irresponsible. Always check the period-after-opening label and keep an eye out for changes in consistency and texture. If it’s been exposed to high temperatures, this is going to affect its use-by date dramatically, too.
What about hair products, body lotions, and moisturiser - when do they expire?
With little sunlight and heat exposure - which breaks down formulas - or opportunities for cross-contamination, shampoo, conditioner and body lotions can be held on to safely for up to two years. Facial moisturisers can vary depending on their packaging falling anywhere between 12 and 15 months. Keep an eye out for any texture changes and toss accordingly.
The correct storage makes all the difference when it comes to extending shelf-life / The Beauty Fridge
How to make your products last longer:
- Keep products in clean, wiped down containers
- Clean brushes and tools weekly, allowing them to dry thoroughly
- Label products after you open them
- Remember: if in doubt, throw them out
Main image: Pinterest
Are you a hoarder or good at parting with your beloved beauty posessions?