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When is it time to replace your make-up products?

The ones you love always betray you

By ELLE team  November 14th, 2017

Expiry date be damned. Any girl who’s obsessed with make-up needs her beauty tools to be at the top of their game. Because using a concealer that’s causing break-outs is counter intuitive and no one wants puffy eyes from a bacteria-infected eyeliner. That’s right, we hate to break it to you but your make-up could be making you sick or giving you an infection.

The betrayal! It’s always the ones you love most that hurt you.

But before you start crying and making your mascara run, there’s a bright side — if you have to get rid of your old products, that means there’s room for you to try a new one. So, may be don’t go purchasing that new lip-kit in all the shades at one go.

This is how long your make-up really lasts:


That concealer stick you've been using to hide your blemishes may be the cause you're getting breakouts in the first place. To give you that flawless texture, concealers are blended with hydrating agents. So you can bet when they start feeling dry or lumpy, they may be close to or already unusable. If your concealer is in powder or stick form, it has a better chance of lasting than if it is in liquid form. Make sure to clean your brushes or application tools if they come in contact with your product as that will only help the bacteria spoil your concealer faster. 

Shelf life: Approximately 1.5 years


Let's assume you use liquid foundation, yes this is important. Liquid foundation contains a lot more H2O which, as we know, is the source of life. Unfortunately, that life includes bacteria, making your liquid foundation easy to contaminate. If your foundation comes in a pump bottle, it may last longer than expected to as few invasive particles are getting in. When you notice the colour lightening or separating, you may want to bin it.

Shelf life: approximately 1 year

Powders and blushers

These guys are your trusted BFFs. Well, maybe not best friend FOREVER but powders and compacts will love you long time. Thanks to their non-existent water content, dry powders last longer than anything else in your make-up kit. These include blushes, powder foundation, finishing powder, eye-shadow and bronzers. There is a catch though, you have to store them in a dry dark place. A rule, that applies to pretty much all make-up. Keep your brushes dry and clean as they might transfer bacteria to your powder. Seal the containers tight to avoid contamination by air and they should be good to go. Mineral or botanical-based powders may contain a small amount of water, check the packaging to know as they will have a relatively shorter life. 

Shelf-life: 2 years

Lipstick and lip glosses

Lipstick has a high oil content which keeps it safer for longer. But due to the fact that it's in constant contact with your mouth, you may want to switch it out after a year. Lip glosses on the other hand have a significantly longer shelf life. Avoid using a lipstick while you're sick as the infection will spread to the product. 

Shelf-life: 1 year for lipstick, 2 years for lip gloss


Your mascara is personally victimising you! Yes, those long luscious lashes may be crawling with bacteria, depending on the last time you coated them. Of all your beauty products, mascara is the one that's here for a good time, not a long time. Why? For starters, it's the way the product is designed. That wand that dips right back into the product after use isn't just transferring eye bacteria into your mascara, it's letting in air. Air that drys out mascara as well as carries bacteria into the tube. That combined with a mascara wand you almost never clean is a recipe for eye disaster. 

Shelf-life: 6 months

Eyeliner/ Kajal

Your eyeliner is probably already overstaying its welcome. While the expiry date may still not have come around, constant use of everyone's favourite tool causes it to be infected first. Only the good die young. Pencils last longer than gels because you're constantly sharpening away the part that came into contact with your eyes. With pots, you're double dipping, transferring the eye bacteria onto your liner. Since eyes are the most sensitive, the OCD in you is going to want to switch out your kohl A.S.A.P.

Shelf-life: 6-8 months for gels, 1 year for pencils.

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