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Product Knowledge: Keep or Toss

To keep or toss… that is the question!

Let’s be honest, we usually look at expiration dates on our food and don’t tend to eat/drink anything past those dates (give or take a few days). But when was the last time you looked at your beauty products and made sure to get your money’s worth out of them before they expire?

Beauty is not something that comes cheap and it can definitely be expensive! How many of us can raise our hands saying that we’ll dip our mascara wand until nothing new comes out and it’s dry inside the tube? Or pat your powder compact until the metal/container on the bottom peeks out? And let’s be honest, who else is guilty of turning your foundation bottle upside down to try to squeeze out the absolute last drop of its foundational goodness?


I know my hand is raised and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.. but the question is, should we be throwing away half-used products or are we to abusing the drawn-out products that are way past their shelf-life that could lead to infections or breakouts?

Unfortunately, if you look at your beauty products, you’re likely not going to the see an expiration date printed on them and that’s because the FDA doesn’t require approval before they’re put out on the market.

But just like food and medicine, beauty products do have a shelf-life that we should be mindful of.

So the question is… what should you keep, and what to toss?

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Suggested shelf-life of how long to hold on to your beauty collection are as follows:
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MAKEUP

  • Eyeliner and mascara: 3-4 months
  • Liquid or cream foundation & concealer: 1 year (if unopened, can last longer)
  • Powder foundation & concealer: 2 years
  • Powder blush: 2 years
  • Cream blush: 1 year
  • Powder eye shadow: 2 years
  • Cream eye shadow: 3-6 months
  • Face powder: 2 years
  • Lipstick & lip gloss; 2-3 years
  • Nail polish: 2 years (or sooner depending on if it separates)

HAIR

  • Shampoo and conditioner: 2 years
  • Hair spray, non- aerosol: 3 years unused; 18 months used
  • Hair spray, aerosol: 3+ years
  • Texturizers, pomades, gels: spray form- 2 years; cream- 1 year

SKINCARE

  • Acne products: 6-12 months
  • Sunscreen: 1 year
  • Loofahs and body sponges: 1-2 months
  • Body lotions and creams: 1-2 years
  • Face and eye creams: 6-12 months

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TIPS:

  1. If your products are exposed to air, heat, light, humidity, and moisture- products shelf life can and will rapidly decrease. If you’re unsure of the product’s usability, toss!
  2. If you’re doubting your products, check with your cosmetologist or esthetician for their experienced opinion.

  3. Not sure if those numbers listed above are accurate, you can totally Google it! Or use the app Beauty Keeper and the website CheckCosmetic.net for more assistance!
  4. When in doubt, let your eyes and nose help you out!
  5. See if your products have the PAO (Period After Opening) date if you can’t find an expiration on the package.
    The symbol looks like an opened jar and will be lettered and numbered (M= month, Y= year and 1-24 in most cases).
    *If an item has a PAO symbol of 6M, that means it lasts 6 months after opening.

  6. Consider checking out the FDA’s suggestions on how to keep your product’s shelf life.

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Interested in learning about how to make Beauty Your Business with a future in cosmetology or esthetics?
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