Beauty Beware: Expiration Dates

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By Jennifer Jennings
We all have that one beauty product that we’re just dying to have but once we get our hands on it just collects dust. However, you may want to think twice before blowing off the dust and putting that old product to use. Although many people aren’t aware, beauty products have expiration dates.
Using expired cosmetics may not seem like a big deal right? We only apply these products to our skin so it may not seem harmful. However, allowing products to go bad and then using them can stir up some major issues. Once products expire they can experience changes in chemistry. These changes can make the product less effective or they even make active ingredients in the products stronger than intended which can lead to skin irritation. Even worse, the preservatives may no longer work. Preservatives in cosmetic products prevent the growth of bacteria but once the products expire and the preservatives stop working bacteria are free to grow in the product. These bacteria can cause breakouts, rashes and even infections!
Most cosmetics come with labels that let you know have long you have until it expires. If you look near where the ingredients are listed you should see a symbol that looks like a jar or container with a lid above it. On the outside of the jar you should a number and a year. The number stands for the quantity, the letter M stands for months and Y stand for Years. For example if it says 9M so I have 9 months until it expires. Here’s a chart I came across from that has typical expiration dates based on products.
  • Mascara — 3 months. (Some say 6 months, but many cosmetics experts, including DaltonJames, recommend 3 months.)
  • Liquid Foundation and Concealer — 6 to 12 months.
  • Cream Blush and Eyeshadow — 6 to 12 months.
  • Powder Blush and Eyeshadow — 1 year.
  • Eyeliner and Lipliner Pencils — Up to 2 years.
  • Liquid Eyeliner — 6 months or less.
  • Lipstick — 1 year.
  • Moisturizers and Skin Care — 1 to 2 years.
Not sure when your product expires or when you bought it? Changes in color, texture, smell and separation of a product are good indicators that it may be time to toss it.
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