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One of the biggest challenges many women have is figuring out when to throw away their old makeup and replace it with new. Makeup doesn’t come with an expiration date on it like food; in fact, many women may not even realize the effect old makeup could have on their skin. If you’re like most of us, you may keep extra makeup locked away or certain makeup stashed in your car for mornings when you’re running late. Sometimes you may even keep a container of makeup for months before finally using it.

What Are the Effects of Aged Makeup?

Aged makeup can cause many problems such as irritated skin. Here’s the thing, makeup is actually the combination of lots of different ingredients put together to give it that perfect consistency. As these ingredients break down, they can slowly change into a different type of chemical. Often these broken down molecules will cause skin rashes, bumps, or even slight infections. Eye irritation can easily result from any older eye products, this includes the area around your eyes being puffy or your eyeball itself turning red.

Even if the make-up you selected doesn’t have harmful effects, it can still cause acne. This is especially the case when makeup gets too oily or applicators aren’t cleaned good enough. Beyond that, old makeup will be tougher to apply or rub off sooner. Some makeup will even just crack and fall apart once they age. Eyeshadows can become annoying to use and more powdery. Old lipstick can become too mushy or may partly dry up. Foundation and powders can become riddled with oils and acne-causing bacteria.

When Should I Buy New Makeup?

First off, all makeup is going to be a little different depending on what brand or ingredients are used in it. Secondly, the way you store or where you keep your makeup will also have a huge influence. Keeping your makeup in any place where it is constantly subjected to tons of moisture can speed up the deterioration process. On the flip side, hot environments can destroy lipsticks while making eyeshadow crumble faster. If you notice any decline in consistency, especially in these environments, it’s time to replace your makeup.

Generally though, there is a set time limit that makeup enthusiasts have come up with for when to discard an item. Mascaras should be thrown away after 3 months of use or when they start to dry. Foundations and powders usually last around a year to two years, but you should always wash your face before use to help keep oils down. Eyeshadows can be good for up to a year, same with eyeliner. Blush actually stays good for around two years, but lipstick should be discarded about every 6 months to a year.

Another way to help determine when it’s time to replace your makeup is to look for the PAO (Period After Opening) symbol. The number indicates how many months the product is safe to use after it’s been opened. It’s not on all makeup, but you might be surprised to find it on many products you’re currently using. Unfortunately, it’s hard to remember when exactly you bought or opened some makeup. One of the best tips I can give you for keeping up with expiration dates is to have an annual or semi-annual makeup haul. This allows you to get fresh styles while keeping your stash up to date!

See you at the salon!