Time to clean out your makeup bag

Don't let your makeup products go bad

We all hate to throw things away and want to make sure we get our monies worth, but have a quick look around any women’s bathroom and you’ll be sure to find foundations, mascaras and face powder almost empty or long past their use by date. If yours is the same you know it's time to spring clean your makeup.

We have to break this hording habit whether it’s for unopened or consumed products or keeping things until the very last drop as makeup products do go bad and can go off. What happens is at best, they stop working as well as they used to; at worst, they can cause irritations or infections.

We must all learn when to throw old makeup away and the way to start is from the day you buy your new item. Really get to know the look and smell of your products by doing this you’re more likely to tell when it’s time to say goodbye.

The other thing to know is that shelf life and PAO (Period After Opening) are different. Unopened well formulated products can remain stable for 2-4 years, but once the jar/bottle/tube has been opened that’s when the deterioration starts. The most obvious signs of a product going bad is for example a mascara drying out or going clumpy or something like a liquid/cream foundation separating.

Whatever product you buy whether it’s a moisturiser or a mascara the preservatives in the product will only last a certain length of time. Do stick to the PAO dates as the formulations in products such as powders, foundations, blushers and bronzers once they’ve gone off can clog up your pores with bacteria which may cause spots or a rash.

Getting the best Results

The following tips are provided by a “best practice” guide to using cosmetic products.

  • Always read the instructions carefully and take note of any warnings for use
  • Keep lids on products when they are not in use
  • Use products within the lifespan indicated by the Period After Opening symbol or best before date
  • Avoid storing products in direct sunlight or near sources of heat; choose cool (not freezing) areas where possible
  • Never dilute products or mix them with other products unless directed by product instructions
  • Apply products with clean hands or an applicator that is routinely washed thoroughly with soap, detergent or a mild shampoo
  • Allow applicators to dry completely before use
  • Avoid sharing personal cosmetic products with another person
  • Avoid reinfection. Stop using all eye makeup if you have an eye infection and lip products if you have a cold sore. The exceptions: lipsticks, lip liners, and eye pencils, which can be shaved clean with a knife or sharpener. (Just cleaning with a tissue won't suffice).

Another good practice is to keep makeup bags or drawers clean and tidy, by throwing out old and bad products you have space for new ones!

Once you've created more space, clean out the drawer, shelf or place you store your products by wiping them with an anti-bacterial spray or wipe, before putting items back.

Then, thoroughly clean your tools - brushes and sponges. The best way to protect and clean is by washing them in a baby shampoo. Make sure you rinse away all the suds and allow them to dry naturally. Don't keep used, dirty makeup sponges as even thorough washing won't get rid of all dirt and germs.

Here's a guide to PAO:

  • Powders (including blush, eye shadows, face powder) – 1 to 3 years
  • Foundations in a jar or a cream powder – 1 to 3 years;
  • Lipstick, lip gloss – 1 year;
  • Pencil (Eye, Lip) – about 1 year;
  • Mascara – 3-6 months