Q: What's the shelf life for make-up products? How do I know if they're already expired and needs to be thrown out?

A: Nothing saddens me more than having to throw away makeup from my stash. I always allow myself to hoard makeup, telling myself "I'll be able to use it in my profession anyways," but always end up throwing up a bunch from my kit. Before I enumerate the guidelines on makeup shelf life, let me just say that anyone should never ever use makeup that's way past their expiration dates. Over time, cosmetics can harbor harmful bacteria that can lead to infections. The few bucks you'll save from buying a new one just isn't worth the risk.

So here it is. Expiration dates — beginning from the time you first open the products:
Powders and shadows: 2 years  
Cream shadows: 12 to 18 months 
Foundation: 1 year 
Lipstick & lipliner: 1 year 
Mascara & liquid liners: 4 months
Pencil liners: 2 years
Makeup brushes: Clean weekly using a mild detergent 
Makeup sponges: Replace weekly, or when sponge becomes soiled 

Nail Polish: 1 year

Note also that like food, the more natural the product is, the earlier it will spoil. So organic and mineral makeup might even have a shorter shelf life than ordinary makeup. Deduct 3-6months from the shelf life I listed above.
When in doubt, use common sense. For those of you who have lost track as to when you first opened your pots and compacts, what you can do is smell them. If they smell funny or emits a weird odor, it's time to toss them. Any changes in color or texture is also a sure sign that it's no longer safe to use. 

Q&A is a section of my blog where I'd be posting beauty-related questions from my clients, readers and anyone really. To submit a question (and get an answer of course!), email questions to diorco@gmail.com. You might just read your query here in my blog and at the same time help others get answers to the same beauty worry!

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