Smell Your Makeup!

Consumer Affairs says bad makeup can harbor nasty bacteria, and can lead to such unpleasant face decorations as conjuctivitis or peri-oral dermatitis (little red bumps that look like acne). They suggest you tattoo permanent eyeliner and lipstick so you don’t have to worry about makeup. No, wait, that’s what we suggest. They actually suggest throwing out your eye makeup and liquid foundations after three months, powders after a year, and application sponges after a week. Oh, and smell your makeup: “An unusual odor usually means that it contains bacteria.”

A few months ago we pointed out 77 expiration dates for food, beauty, and household products. also provides a detailed list of shelf lives of various types of makeup. Some of their advice:

  • Foundation A water-based foundation will last up to 12 months, oil-based will last up to 18 months. If your water-based foundation dries out before its expiration date, simply add a few drops of alcohol-free toner and shake to mix it in.
  • Lipstick Experts say 1-2 years. Others say up to 4 years. What everyone agrees on is that if it smells rancid, throw it out, it’s spoiled. Extra tip: If you store lipstick in the refrigerator, it will last longer.
  • Mascara This product expires the fastest: Throw out after 4 months. Extra tip: If you don’t want your mascara to expire faster than its fresh date, don’t pump the wand in and out — you’re only exposing the product to drying air.

Or is this stuff that all women already know? We found it fascinating for a few seconds, but now we’re bored again.

Shelf Life of Makeup & Beauty Products

Old Make-Up Can Harbor Bacteria [Consumer Affairs]

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mom2Talavera says:

    I hate make-up.I just try to keep my face clear and healthy so I don’t need to wear any to cover up my blemishes…thats the only time I need to wear it.

  2. asherchang says:

    Permanent makeup? You do realize that people can develop disfiguring reactions years after the procedure?

  3. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @asherchang: I think they might have been joking there. Just a thought.

  4. acambras says:

    Yeah, I think most, if not all, of us women probably already knew this. If you were to go to a newsstand and go through all the “women’s” magazines on any given day, I bet you’d find some article about makeup shelf life in at least one of them. But it is good info.

    When I think of the permanent makeup tattooing, for some reason, Priscilla Presley’s wedding photo pops into my mind (google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Probably a good thing she didn’t get that eyeliner tattooed on.

  5. @acambras:

    Seconded. With the way styles change, I wouldn’t want to be bound to just one makeup style. Amy Winehouse is doing her best to bring back the “wings” but I would still hate to have them tattooed on my face.

    As for eye makeup, I use so much of the stuff that it doesn’t get the chance to spoil. It seriously takes me about three weeks to a month to run through an eyeliner pencil and maybe two months for a mascara.

  6. synergy says:

    I’d say you should use your makeup on washed skin and you’re less likely to have nasty stinky make-up.

  7. Kaneohe7 says:

    I love the picture for this article!!!

  8. mconfoy says:

    “conjuctivitus” should be spelled “conjunctivitis.”

  9. nardo218 says:

    Yeah, this is what you read in Teen when you’re 12.