All your plans to go out have been at a halt since March 2020 and the makeup that you thought you’d be using have either expired or nearing the expiration date. No matter whichever brand you are using, make-up products come with a shelf life and can invite several skin infections if used after the expiry date. But that does not mean you have to toss these expensive beauties into the dustbin, or out of your make-up kit. Here are some smart hacks to reuse your expired make-up products and give them a whole new lease on life. If your makeup is already expired and not safe to use anymore, it’s time to shop at the Red Dot Shop for the latest in beauty here.

The Average Shelf-Life Of Makeup Products

If you are unsure whether your makeup products have expired or not, here is your guide by a makeup expert that will help you determine. When it comes to makeup, shelf-life is different for different products and can also depend on usage and storage. Generally, opened liquids and creams expire faster since they facilitate bacteria growth. As a rule the more ‘wet’ a product, the more prone it is to bacteria growth and should be tossed out as it hits its expiry. Powders like blush or eyeshadow last longer if they are stored and used properly. 

As a brief guideline:

  • Mascara: Expires in 3 months. The wand is especially prone to attracting bacteria and can cause severe eye infections
  • Liquid and cream products like foundation, concealer and cream blush: Expires between 12-24 months
  • Powder eyeshadow can be used for 24-30 months
  • Face powder can be used up to 24 months
  • Lipstick and lip liners expire between 24 months
  • Gel or liquid eyeliner can be used up to 12-15 months
  • Nail Polish can be used for 18-24 months

Where To Find Expiry Date On The Bottle Or Packaging

Most commercially available products do and should have a number and a jar symbol on the packaging. It is usually printed on the bottom of the bottle or on the back of the label depending on different brands. Even the DTC or ‘home-grown’ brands that sell directly to the end consumer need to have this symbol. The number may read 6,12, 24 or 36, and this is the number of months your product is meant to last after it’s opened. For instance, if you see ‘24M’, the product is good for 24 months. If the product doesn’t have this symbol on the container, one-to-two years is a good rule of thumb for the shelf-life. Even opened-but-unused products should be tossed post that. 

Signs Your Makeup Has Gone Bad

General signs your products have gone bad are:

  • The product smells funny
  • The product doesn’t feel like it did when you first started using it
  • The product starts changing colour. This is true for products like SPFs, lipsticks, cream blushes
  • The product changes its texture or consistency – becomes either runny or too thick. This is true for products like serums, face oils, liquid foundations
  • Your skin suddenly and uncharacteristically starts reacting – burning sensation, redness, rashes or breakouts 

How To Repurpose Expired Makeup

Wondering what to do with old makeup? Doesn’t matter if you are among those who use makeup every day or those who use it only for special occasions. Because when makeup expires, it hurts the same. So, learn how to repurpose your expired cosmetics or the ones that you no longer find interesting and use them again with these hacks. Check out the ways to repurpose expired makeup and turn them into something useful and fabulous!

1. Lipstick

Your favourite lipstick can turn into a cool tinted lip balm. Start with heating your expired lipstick so that you can kill all the bacteria. Mix it with Vaseline or any petroleum jelly, and voila! Your make-up kit is all set to welcome a new member! Another great use for expired lipsticks is as markers on calendars and fabric. They’re especially useful in marking stitching projects.

2. Eye Shadow

It’s wise to replace your eye shadow with new ones after a year. Wondering what to do with the old one? Come up with unique nail polish colours using expired eyeshadow. Loose eyeshadow is best for this, but if you’re using solid eyeshadow, scrape it out of the container and smash it until it turns powdery. Add clear nail polish and mix well to have a smooth consistency. If the polish is too thick, add more clear polish; if it’s too thin, add more eyeshadow. You can use more than one colour to come up with a colour that’s all your own, and you can mix and match different colours to create exciting nail art designs.

3. Mascara

Mascara generally expires in three to six months but you can reuse the spoolie for various purposes. Clean it first, preferably with dishwashing detergent and hot water and then you can use its spoolie to tame your unruly brows or fuzzy flyaways. And in case you notice grey hair popping out, your expired mascara is there for your rescue. In fact, you can make your own DIY lip scrub using it. Just put some drops of natural oil on your mascara wand and gently scrub your lips with it. The result? Get ready to say hello to smooth, supple lips!

4. Liquid Facial Cleansers And Toners

Because of their alcohol content, these products are very useful in cleaning tons of objects, such as mirrors, tiles, glass, even your mobile screen and kitchen tops. Expired liquid toners may also be used to clean leather products, including shoes and bags. Just make sure to use the non-whitening variety, and don’t use creams.

5. Nail Polish

Nail polishes that have reached that gloopy phase, where it can’t be applied in nice coats on the nails might seem completely useless. But, it can be given a whole new use by using it as a decorative material. It can be used to create decorative details on photo frames, tea light holders and tiles. Nail varnish that can no longer be used to make your nails sparkle, can give some sparkle to many other things. It’s also a great product to use in sealing envelopes. Get creative with it.

6. Lip Balm

Your beauty balm can be put to some really good uses. It can be used to keep cuticles clean. Or, use it on the hard skin of the feet to help soften up the skin, as well as preventing shoes from rubbing and causing blisters. Plus, it can fix your stuck zipper and is a smart product to keep your shoes sparkling.

7. Eyeliner And Lipliner

Expired pencil eyeliner can be safely reused with a simple trick. Hold the eyeliner over a flame until it’s hot but not melting, then wait for it to cool down and apply. It works as a liquid eyeliner, giving a fantastic definition. By exposing the eyeliner to the flame, you’re killing the bacteria that may have accumulated, making it safe to use again. Expired eyeliners and lipliners are great to use as pencils. Use them to sketch, draw, mark or colour when you’re doing craft or home remodelling projects.

8. Face Oils

Face oils are expensive and if yours has just surpassed its shelf life. Fret not! Mix it with some sugar, and ta-da! Get ready to exfoliate your body with this homemade scrub.

9. Conditioner And Shampoo

Expired shampoo may damage your hair but it’s perfect for other things. For example, because shampoo is gentler than detergent, you can use it to wash delicate clothing like lacy lingerie. It’s also great for wool and cashmere items. And what about the old, expired conditioner? Well, use it as a shaving cream! Apply conditioner just like you apply your shaving cream. It won’t lather but it will soften your hair for a smooth shave. Using a conditioner also means your skin will feel soft afterwards. Shave as you usually do and wash off the excess.

10. Perfumes

You may no longer be able to use old perfumes on yourself, but they’ll make excellent home fragrances and deodorizers. Spray it in bathrooms, bedrooms, and cars and be surrounded by a signature scent. You can also spray it on a cotton cloth and rub it on fans, tabletops, and lamps so you can enjoy the scent anywhere in the home.

We’ve all been guilty of buying makeup and then never using it. There must have been times when you’ve found an old lipstick or eyeshadow that you didn’t even know you had or never got a chance to wear during the lockdown! So get creative with your expired makeup items, don’t let them go to waste. As the shelf life of makeup is a fairly good chance that you will not reach that expiration date, but if you do, you now know how to make use of some of those pieces.

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