The truth about makeup expiry dates

You may not see an expiry date on your favourite makeup products, but most of them should be tossed out within 3 months to a year

The truth about makeup expiry dates

Source: Best Health Magazine, Spring 2008

Leave it to the chic Europeans to take some of the guesswork out of when to chuck your concealer. While makeup expiry dates are not mandatory in Canada or the U.S., most beauty products that are also sold in Europe have the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol: an open jar and monthly designation indicating when to toss it. Since the PAO doesn’t appear on everything, we consulted Lynnette DaltonJames of M.A.C. Cosmetics and Dr. Jason Rivers, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia.

Bidding adieu to a barely used, safe-looking $25 eyeshadow might sound silly, but “tossing products is mainly a health issue,” says Rivers. “You should be most careful with water-based products, such as mascara, because of the risk of bacterial contamination, which can lead to infection.” Symptoms include redness, pain, swelling, pus, pimples or pink eye. DaltonJames recommends being especially vigilant about eye products.

How you handle your makeup in general can also affect its shelf life. “If you take care of your products, using them for just a few extra months beyond the expiry date will most likely be safe,” says Rivers. A public education bulletin from Health Canada recommends that you keep your cosmetics germ-free by:

  • Washing your hands before applying.
  • Not sharing makeup.
  • Not adding water or saliva to dilute makeup.
  • Keeping cosmetics in a dry area, away from direct heat or sunlight.

If you’re still unsure about a product, here are some warning signs that will tell you if it has expired:

  • The product’s smell has changed.
  • It has been exposed to prolonged heat.
  • There is an obvious colour or textural change.
  • Mould is evident.

Toss It Out

  • 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.

Related content:

Secrets to Staying Healthy & Happy

Cronut-burger

News: Cronut burger stand at the CNE shut down

In its 135th year, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) isn’t just an attraction for the rides, entertainment and culture. In fact, the CNE’s food building is probably now one of the main attractions, where patrons may spend hours indulging in the latest food fads. This year, the cronut burger created a lot of hype. At […]

walkinggals_18

Weeks five & six

Start the Best Health Walking Plan today to get trim and fit in just eight weeks

morning_0

6 steps to becoming a morning person

Do you refuse to drag yourself out of bed until the you’ve hit the snooze button repeatedly? We spoke to the host of an early-morning talk show for some no-fail tips on becoming an early riser

83252341

How to treat insect bites and stings

Whether they fly, hop or crawl, bugs that bite and sting can kill a warm-weather buzz. Here’s how to treat bites and stings from Canada’s most common bugs