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This is how long your favourite beauty products actually last for

Written by Katie Byrne, published 22nd mar 2017

Essential reading if you're planning to do your own make-up on your wedding day...

Did you know your favourite beauty products have an expiry date?

No, really - that beloved lipstick you've had in your handbag for, oh, years is well past its best, whilst the ol' faithful mascara that somehow still manages to transform your lashes has probably seen better days.

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So how can you tell when your make-up essentials are past their best? It's oh-so simple: look for an open jar symbol, which will include the letter M, as well as a number. This represents the number of months the product should be used for before it's thrown out - with expired products prone to causing irritation and even infection, according to 

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Take a look at the list below to find out how long, exactly, your beauty go-tos last for...

Cream-based blushes or eyeshadows: six months

Creamy makeup products will only last around six months due to them providing more moisture for bacteria to thrive on. Keep an eye on creamy products for mould, smell or separation, and throw away if they look a little funny.

Powder products (blushers, bronzers and eye shadows): 18 months to two years

Although most powders, blushes and bronzers have a shelf life of 18 months to two years, your powders should be fine even after they reach their expiration date.

Powders can become hard and have poor application after their expiration date, but you can minimise the bacterial contamination by lightly cleaning the product regularly and avoiding leaving the product exposed to air. Throw away powders with broken lids and check for mould and any unusual smells.

Eyeliner: six months to a year

Liquid eyeliner lasts around four to six months, as it’s a product that is fairly susceptible to bacteria. Pencil eyeliners can last up to two years but the cap should be kept tightly closed. (The same rules also apply for lip pencils as well.) If you’ve had an eye infection, always throw away eyeliners that you’ve previously used, as this could increase the risk of getting another infection.

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Foundation: one year

Liquids and cream foundations only last between six to twelve months, as they contain water, oils and other hydrating agents, which decrease the shelf life and increase bacteria. Powders can last up to two years, as it’s harder for bacteria to grow in products that are solid.

It is important to note that the ingredients in the foundation determine the germ growth. Always read the back of the label and make a note of when your foundation is due to expire. Wash your makeup tools regularly and also wash your hands before you apply.

Lip gloss: one year

In a similar way to mascara, pumping the wand in the tube is also bad for lip-gloss. If your gloss is discoloured, or different in texture and thickness, it’s probably best to throw it away.

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Nail polish: one year

Nail polish is one product that does go out of date. Once you open a polish, the product can evaporate which causes it to thicken and separate. Always remember to keep the lid securely fastened as this can make the product expire quicker.

Concealer: 12-18 months

If your concealer is dried out, has a change in texture, becomes cakey/lumpy or smells different – throw it out immediately. Not only will the concealer be making your spots worse but it will also prevent you from getting a perfectly blended makeup look.

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Lipstick: 18 months to two years

Look after your lipsticks well and they can last up to two years. It’s important to remember to never leave them without a lid on and clean with a wipe occasionally to remove the top layer of bacteria growth.

Perfume: 8-10 years

Although fragrances have a shelf life of eight to ten years, they can last for much longer if you store them correctly. Avoid heated rooms, strong lights and always keep the lid securely on between usages. The best place to keep your fragrances is a dark cupboard and regularly check for discolouration.

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