The Shelf Life of Cosmetics

Keep track of how long you've had your beauty products, for two good reasons: To be sure they are still effective and to assess their possible contamination with bacteria that can cause rashes or infection. Save this handy guide. (Data gathered from various sources on the internet as well as cosmetic companies)

FOUNDATION: up to 2 years - Throw out sooner it the pigment has started to change or the consistency becomes clumpy.

LIPSTICK: 1 1/2 to 2 years - When the waxes eventually dry out, you'll feel a loss of the slip that makes application easy.

MASCARA: 3 months - Because the process of applying involves moving the wand from lashes to bottle and back, the risk of introducing bacteria is high. A new tube every three months is simply sensible eye hygiene.

EYE SHADOW: 3 years - If either powder or cream varieties exhibit an odor or a color or texture change, discard sooner.

LIP AND EYE PENCILS: 2 years - If the pencil starts to stick and get more difficult to use, it's probably dried out. Time to toss it.

BLUSH: 3 years - Despite a long shelf life, be alert to changes in color, smell or consistency.

MOISTURIZERS: 3 years - Discard them sooner if you start to smell an off odor or the overall texture seems to have changed.

BANISHING CREAM: 18 months.

MOISTURE THERAPY LIP BALM: Two years.

MOISTURE THERAPY PRODUCTS: Two years.

SUN PROTECTION: 2 years - When it's time to discard, you'll notice that the product starts to separate and may have an odor.

SELF-TANNERS: 6 months to 1 year - self-tanners take on a funny smell when they're past their prime. They become less effective and you may get a lighter or inconsistent "tan".

FRAGRANCE: 1 to 4 years - Perfume fades in 1 to 2 years: Toilet water: 2 to 4 years. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

DEODORANT: 3 years - The active ingredients don't last forever, and once they're inert, the deodorant isn't effective.

NAIL Polish: 6 months to 4 years - The less it's exposed to air and sunlight, the longer it last. Store in the refrigerator.

SOAP: Bar Soaps - Two-year shelf life. Best used within one year after opening.

As a general rule, for treatment products (e.g., skin care items) the consumer use up time is six months; for personal care products, the use up time (with twice a day application) is three months. Each product has a five-digit batch code number to indicate when and where the product was manufactured. The first number indicates the branch where the product was made; the next three numbers mark the day of the year, and the last number of the batch code shows the year it was produced. Our products undergo extensive testing to ensure freshness during storage, shipment and use by the consumer. Shelf life can vary depending on storage conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity) and use. We suggest storing products in a cool, dry area.

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