Use these guidelines to assess the lifespan of your beauty products, and to keep your favorites germ-free.
Question: "How can I tell if it's time to throw away my old cosmetics and makeup? "
Answer: Cosmetics - both skin care and makeup -aren't meant to grow old with you. "Products are developed to last a year or two," says Peter Pugliese, M.D., a skin physiologist in Reading, Pennsylvania. However, contamination can occur at any time, since makeup is always in contact with germ-prone areas like your eyes, mouth and fingers. In general, always toss anything that has changed color or consistency or has a bad odor. Otherwise, use these guidelines to assess the shelf life of common beauty products.
- Most powders, concealers and lip balms are anhydrous (they don't contain water), so they can last for a couple of years, says Dr. Pugliese.
- Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. Toss after six months.
- Multiuse products such as 3-in-1 sticks and creams can spread germs from lips to eyes and cheeks. Wipe the surface before switching areas, and discard or replace after six months.
- Pencils can last several years unless you wet the tip with saliva or water. To be safe, sharpen before each use.
- Mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria," says Dr. Pugliese.
- Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle. Instead, use a sponge to apply.
- Store cosmetics in a cool, dry place outside the bathroom to extend their shelf life.
Originally published in Fitness magazine.