Are You Using Expired Make-up?

Style Syahirah Mokhtazar 02-May-2019

Sometimes, life has its funny ways of making you love something that isn’t good for you anymore. Case in point, using that particular eyeliner you’ve been holding on to for years, even though it gives you the occasional eye infection.

You know that saying ‘if you love someone, set them free’? Sadly, that old quote applies to make-up too. No matter how much you love make-up, don’t hold on to it – especially when it has expired.

We’ve all committed beauty sins like going to sleep with your make-up on, or going through months without cleaning the make-up brushes. But another thing that many of us are guilty with is keeping make-up that has long expired because we tend to think that make-up lasts forever. This is a big no-no because expired make-up becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

This is not only gross but it’s also potentially dangerous for the skin. No matter how clean you may be, natural bacteria from your skin will inevitably make its way into your eyeshadow, mascara and foundation.

Which means that you are basically reapplying bacteria onto your skin. Own a clumped-up mascara? That spells out eye infection for you right there.

Here’s the thing, not all make-up products comes with a ‘best-before’ dates. Which is why you have to be smart and do your homework. Also, it helps if you use your senses. If the product starts to smell or if you see that the colour or texture starts to change, then you know it’s a dead giveaway.  

Make-up products, when kept in warm environments, increases the risk for bacteria to grow, so be sure to keep your make-up in a cool, dry place if you can. On top of storing them in a cool place, be sure to wash your brushes, because bacteria don’t get bored and magically go away. They stay and reproduce, even though we don’t see it.



It pains to say liquid foundation provides a better breeding ground for bacteria compared to the powder-based. For liquid foundations, they will likely last form 6 months to 2 years, depending on how you use it and how it’s packaged. The ones with a pump may have a lower risk of being contaminated with bacteria.

Try to look for foundations which have very small openings because the wider the bottle is exposed, the more bacteria will enter the bottle.  Do keep a lookout if the colour changes or if it the formula starts to emit a funky odour. When pumping the foundation out of the bottle, keep your fingers away from the neck of the bottle, instead gently pump it onto the back of your hand.

Powder foundations, on the other hand, can last longer up to two years as the dry texture won’t make it that easy for the bacteria to grow and make themselves at home.

Photo credit: nikitabuida / freepik 



The rules for blusher pretty much apply the same way as the compact powder due to its dry texture— it can last up to two years. Just be sure to pick up the product with a clean brush as you wouldn’t want to risk unwanted bacteria. One thing to look out for to know if the product is going bad is to look at its texture. If it’s too hard, and won’t easily be picked up from the compact then it’s time to say sayonara.



Eye make-up is something we all need to be extra careful with because it gets applied on to the eyes which is a very sensitive area. At the end of the day, we are aiming to beautify our eyes, not irritate them.  Powder eyeshadow lasts about a year and it definitely lasts longer than cream-based shadows. The moment you notice a change in texture or colour, out it goes.  If you apply the eyeshadow with your fingers instead of the brush, just be sure to wash your hands before doing so.

Photo credit: freepik  



This one lasts a little shorter than the rest. Most mascaras have a lifespan of about six months or less. The most common problem we face with mascaras is the fact that it easily dries up and gets pretty clumpy.  As for the eyeliner, if it’s liquid it should be replaced every three months. Just like the eyeshadow, this too is applied on a sensitive area so it has a high risk of bringing bacteria to the eyes. Whereas pencil eyeliners have a longer shelf life and can last to up to a year, and if sharpened often it can last even longer.



For the lipstick lovers, lipsticks last for up to two years, while lip glosses will last for about a year. If you start noticing that your lipstick becomes too dry or too oily, and it starts to smell funny, then you know what to do. Another tip, if the lip gloss tends to get too sticky, it’s gone past its prime.

Photo credit: freepik