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7 Signs It’s Time to Throw That Makeup Away!

Time to clear your makeup bag of makeup expiration date-dodging products!

Written by: 100% PURE®
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We know all too well (maybe better than anyone) that collecting makeup can be both an investment and a source of pure joy. It’s common for us to get pretty attached to our makeup products over time - just take a look at our bathroom drawers! We’ve all got some ‘zombie’ makeup products stowed away: the used, the expired, and the simply forgotten.

Whether we like it or not, it’s definitely important to regularly clear out your makeup collection. Getting rid of products that are too old to safely use, that may have been compromised by bacteria, or are simply past their prime is a quarterly task we should all be doing. Wondering where to start? Keep reading!

Throw Out Makeup? But Why?!

Yes yes, we know. That original Pretty Naked Palette from 6 years ago has been with you through it all - breakups, makeups, job interviews, weddings - but not even your favorite palette is meant to live forever. There are plenty of reasons why it might be time for your makeup to ‘kick the bucket’:

  • Makeup expiration dates don’t lie (although many of us don’t check them)! Most of these products have a definitive shelf life, after which buyers are not intended to keep using the product. Using it past its expiration date? Any negative side effects of the product past its expiration date should be considered ‘your bad’ - time to toss it!

  • The texture of makeup can change after it’s exposed to air, making it more difficult to apply over time. This means poor color payoff, broken texture, and disappointing coverage and blendability.

  • Natural beauty products tend to have shorter shelf lives than conventional ones; this is because they are often free of harmful, chemical preservatives. This makes natural makeup much better for your skin, but it also means that these products are more vulnerable to colonization by bacteria and fungi, which can cause eye and skin infections.

  • Exposure to different temperatures can affect the quality and purity of makeup products over time. That means you’ll need to be better about not leaving your makeup bag in your car, especially on a hot day or overnight in your cold garage (guilty).

  • Makeup can be contaminated when it comes into contact with bacteria from other surfaces, including other people’s bodies (in this case, sharing ISN’T caring).

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7 Reasons to Throw Makeup Away

We’ve given you an overview of WHY makeup can’t live forever. But what are some of the red flags? There are a few ‘throw out’ situations that are key for protecting your skin and eyes from the harmful effects of old makeup. Check out our cheat-sheet for the top 7 signs of zombie makeup:

  • It’s mascara or liquid eyeliner that has been open for more than 3 months

    Mascara and liquid eyeliner should be replaced every three months on the dot. The liquid formulas of these products are especially prone to colonization by bacteria and fungi, so by replacing them regularly, you’ll ensure that you’re using pure, bacteria-free products on your delicate eye area. The fact that you use these products on your eye area is another good reason to replace them regularly, as this is an area prone to infection.

  • It’s makeup that has been open for more than 6 months

    Aside from eye products, other beauty products should be tossed out when it’s been six months since they were opened. This is especially urgent for products like powder foundation compacts, blush and bronzer compacts, and eyeshadow compacts, as these products are all exposed to the surfaces of fingers and makeup brushes, which are vehicles for bacteria (especially if you don’t wash them regularly).

  • It’s starting to clump or degrade in texture

    Exposure to air and high temperatures can cause makeup formulas to change; you can see evidence of this when they begin to clump, dry up, or otherwise degrade in texture. These changes are a sign that the formula has oxidized and may irritate the skin or eye area. Diluting clumpy mascara with water or eye drops to “stretch” your tube is generally not a great idea, because this won’t reverse any chemical changes that have occured in the formula, and will only result in a weakened formula and compromised pigment.

  • You’ve shared it with a friend

    Letting a friend use your makeup doesn’t help you OR them! Foreign bacteria live on the surfaces of each person’s body. Our bodies normally won’t respond well to coming into contact with these foreign bacteria - so if they colonize on one of your makeup products, you could be at higher risk for infection (same goes for your bacteria traveling to your friend via your makeup). This is doubly true for eye makeup products, where the risk of infection is greater and the consequences can be more severe. The bottom line? Don’t let anyone use your makeup! If someone does get a hold of one of your products, throw it away or let them hang on to it.

  • Pigment and oils are visibly separating

    If you can see that pigment and oils separating in a liquid or cream formula, this is a clear sign that the formula has undergone a chemical change and is no longer suitable for use. Oxidation and high temperatures can cause this separation. When products that have degraded chemically are used on the skin, they can cause irritation and, if they certain contain vitamins, can turn into free radicals on your skin once oxidized.

  • It’s expired

    Once the makeup expiration date on the product goes by, it’s best to throw it away. Preservatives - whether they’re the chemical preservatives found in conventional makeup products, or the natural alternatives that can be used in clean beauty products - have their shelf lives, just like most other ingredients. They can only keep a formula pure and stabilized for so long, so respect the expiration date or pay the price!

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How to Extend Your Makeup’s Shelf Life

If you want to keep your makeup pure and safe for use for the longest possible time, here are some tips and tricks to help you:

  • Avoid touching the product directly

    For many, using fingers to apply foundations, cream blushes, and even eye shadow is just the preferred method. But, bear in mind that there will be repercussions for your product’s shelf life every time you dip your fingers into makeup. Keep your fingers away from bottle openings and compact powder surfaces to avoid spreading bacteria, and use a clean makeup applicator, like a sponge or brush, instead.

  • Keep your tools clean

    Clean your makeup brushes and/or sponges regularly to diminish bacteria populations. This will help to prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing your products, make for a smoother makeup application, and prevent breakouts.

  • Don’t share makeup

    As much as possible, avoid letting others use your makeup products (it’s also not a great idea for you to use theirs, as this will, again, incur a risk of infection). Once someone else’s bacteria gets into your makeup, the shelf life is pretty much a moot point - the product is essentially spoiled from this point on!

  • Store products properly

    Seal your products after using them, and keep them in a cool, dry place. No extremes, like hot and steamy bathrooms!

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