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Do makeup products expire?

 How long should you keep makeup products? (Photo: iStock)

Many of us have gone months and even years without replacing makeup products. Some of them can last up to five years before they run out, probably because we don't use them as often.

We sometimes consider a product officially expired once it's time to replace it. But, should we really be doing that?

The short answer to that question is no because, it is a fact that most things, including our makeup products, eventually break down. There are many risks of using expired makeup including infections since it will have collected a lot of bacteria.

You could also end up with a severe allergic reaction which might be a headache to clear. And even if you don't end up with any of these problems, it will affect the health of your skin and your journey to having the skin you desire.

The challenge is knowing when makeup has expired. They don't always have a clear best-before date like food and other items we buy and some of them have no labels to warn you when you need to discard them.

Basically, there is no single straightforward answer as to how long a product should last. That is because there is a wide variety for each type of product, like creamy eyeliners and matte finish eyeliners, oil-free foundations and those that contain oils, and so on.

All these products have different formulas that could impact their shelf life. It is quite confusing to know exactly when but here are two strategies you can use:

Check the label at the back

For you to really know, you can do a simple test. Take any makeup product and turn it around or over to where the ingredients list is. Somewhere around that area, you will see a tiny picture of an open lid with a number and the letter "M" next to it. The number you see there is the number of months it should be used from the day you start.

This could be a year for foundations, eyeshadow, concealers, blush, lip glosses and lip balms. Face powders and lipsticks could indicate two to three years. Eye and lip liners, mascaras and primers can last anywhere from six months to a year depending on the brand and formula.

Look for signs that they have expired

The reality is that most of us don't keep track of the dates when we bought specific items. This can get even more complicated because manufacture dates aren't usually indicated. Also, that tiny picture indicating the months before a product expires can wipe off with time.

What you can do in this case is check for the signs that something has expired.

One of the first things you will notice for creamy products like foundation is that the ingredients will start to separate. You will see two different layers in the bottle.

The other thing is that the texture might start to change. When you apply it, it won't glide as seamlessly as it did before, and it might even look patchy.

Lastly, the colour will look off. It might change into a dull shade.

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