Old makeup brushes.

Old Beauty Products: Should You Toss Them?

Old makeup brushes.

Makeup CC Photo Courtesy of Steven Depolo

What harm could possibly come from using eyeshadow or lipstick that’s been hanging around for a few years? It certainly seems harmless enough to use the same makeup that you’ve been using for a while, even after that expiration date has passed — after all, it’s makeup, not food, right? Not so fast.

Researchers from the ‘International Journal of Cosmetic Science’ recently conducted some research into old beauty products that were still being used. They found that 67% of the products sampled contained microorganisms that are harmful — including things that can cause some serious skin infections. So, while your old products may not seem like they’ll harm you if you use them past an expiration date, the truth is that you could be spreading a ton of tiny microorganisms on your face — pretty!

The Lowdown on Preservatives

Expiration dates don’t exist to get you to buy more products, contrary to popular thought. All products expire because the preservatives inside of those products just don’t last longer than a certain amount of time (it’s not actually possible). Once the preservatives go, the product is no longer safe to use. That said, in the U.S., only those products that have been rated by the FDA have expiration dates — usually only prescription products.

So, how can you tell when it’s time to toss your makeup? It largely depends on how the product was packaged, and how you’ve been storing that item since you first opened it. Here are some tips.

-The product looks or smells strange. Foundation that has separated, eyeshadow that is not the same color, and products that just don’t look right probably aren’t good — toss those.

-Water-based products. Typically, products that are water-based don’t come with a long shelf live, since these products tend to have less preservatives.

-Packaging that has gone awry. If the package that a product came in now has a dent, looks misshapen, or is just strange, throw that product out.

-Mascara that has dried out. Some people like to add water to old mascara, but we definitely do not recommend this. Not only will water not extend the life of the product, but you’ll be using a mascara that barely does the job. Lumpy and dry mascara isn’t doing you any favors, so just throw it out.

-Powders: Powder products tend to last longer than most others, and you can safely hold onto these for two to three years without an issue.

-Overly used products: if you recently attended an event where you shared your makeup with other girls, you definitely don’t want to hang onto that makeup for a long time. In fact, it’s not recommended that you share things like lipstick with other friends due to the spread of bacteria. At the very least, don’t hang onto those products that you do share for longer than necessary.

Replacing Each Item

The idea of replacing expensive makeup isn’t appealing, that’s for sure. But if you toss things out as they expire, you can slowly replace each item. Spas in Windsor, like Athena, carry makeup lines that are both natural and organic, and we’d be happy to show you some of the items we carry that can replace whatever you’ve thrown out. As one of the top spas in Windsor, we are proud to carry organic makeup lines that you’ll love!

Call to ask us about our spa packages in Windsor, or about any of the products that we carry, and remember to throw out old products — they may not look harmful, but they’re not doing you or your skin any good!

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