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11/08 Tuesday 08:20PM

toss your old makeup

text . Pauline Chan .

Cosmetics and skin care products have specific shelf lives, which means, like eggs, they do go bad. Some women (and men) keep their beauty products way past their prime so as to get every cent out of the dollars they spent on them. Those of us who do not use make-up regularly always believe the products parked on our dressing table still have a long way to go before they need to be replaced.  When these products go bad, they can cause irritation or infection, or simply just won't perform as well as they should.

According to a cosmetic chemist at Cosmetech Laboratories in Fairfield in U.S, well-formulated cosmetics can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature if unopened, but the moment they are opened and exposed to air, some ingredients in the products start to oxidise and degrade.

Every time we dip our fingers or brushes into our beauty and skin care products, we introduce germs and cause contamination.  In our tropical climate, the heat and humidity also promote the growth of mold and yeast. 

Although there are no expiry dates on product labels and some products show no obvious signs of deterioration, we can use a general timeline to gauge whether the make-up on your dressing table is a keep-it or a lose-it.  Good Housekeeping shares some toss-out recommendations for products from mascaras to sunscreens.

Face Makeup
Give the liquid makeup six months and powders two years. With foundations, you can see the deterioration as the oils rise to the top and the consistency thickens. Powders are less of a problem because they are dry and not as condusive for bacteria growth. However, they can dry over time and crumble.

Concealer
Two years for powder and stick concealers and one year for liquid ones. You know concealers have gone bad when the colour starts to shift.

Mascara
After three months, you will notice the mascara becomes dryer and chalky so you cannot put on a smooth, even coat.  As mascara is in a dark and wet tube, bacteria breeds with glee and there is the danger of developing eye irritation and sties from germ-filled fluid.

Eyeliner and Eye Shadow
Three months for liquid liners, six months for cream shadows and two years for pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows. Just like the mascara - bacteria tend to flourish in the liquid and the product dries out. Since they are used closed to the sensitive eye area, bad eyeliners may bring eye- related problems.

Pencil eyeliners keep longer as you can sharpen them and get a clean, new surface. However, the sharpener should be sanitised to prevent transferring bacteria to the surface. Powder shadows keep better because they are dry but if they get wet, they should be tossed our after six months. Cream-based shadows grow bacteria more easily and if you use your fingers to apply, you should wash your hands thoroughly before doing so.

Lipstick and Lipliner
Two years for lipstick and gloss, about two years for lipliners. Lipsticks will dry out with age as the ingredients will evaporate and will not spread well over your lips. Bacteria is repeated added to the lipstick as they are used on the mouth area. Pencil lipliners last longer as they are dry and sharpening will provide fresh, new surface.

Blush
Give two years for powder blushes and six months for cream blushes. Prolong the life of your blushes by cleaning your blush brushes regularly. If your powder blush gets wet, they can promote bacteria growth.  Moisture can be introduced from the residue from your foundation and face cream so it is a good idea to wait a couple of minutes before applying your blusher.

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