our everyday life

How to Preserve Cosmetics

by Melissa King

High-quality makeup isn't cheap, so it's painful to toss out a product that goes bad before the expiration date. Different types of cosmetics have different shelf lives, generally ranging from a few months to more than a year. All makeup products go bad faster if you don't properly care for them. Introducing bacteria and germs into makeup doesn't just ruin the product; it also sets you up to get a nasty illness or infection. Avoid this by storing your cosmetics safely and keeping your makeup clean with good sanitary practices.

Locate the average shelf life for your cosmetics. In general, powder eye shadow and blush last about two years. Cream and liquid foundation last for up to six months. Replace your mascara every three months. No matter how well you preserve cosmetics, don't use them if they are past a published expiration date.

Keep cosmetic packages sealed tightly and stored out of direct sunlight. Air and sunlight can destroy the preservatives in cosmetics, causing them to go bad faster. Also, avoid storing makeup in the car or any other hot location.

Store makeup out of the bathroom. The heat and humidity in the bathroom can cause bacteria to develop in cosmetics.

Wash your hands and face before handling makeup and never put your fingers into a cosmetic bottle. Doing so transfers bacteria from your hands into the makeup. Use an applicator or disposable cotton swab to get makeup out of the bottle instead.

Avoid sharing makeup with others, especially if you or another person is sick.

Purchase cosmetics in pumps when possible. These cosmetics stay fresher for longer because they're not exposed to air.

Sharpen lip pencils and eye pencils after each use. This helps eliminate surface germs and bacteria.

Cut off the top layer of lipstick and lip balm if you used the product while sick. Alternatively, throw it out and buy a new one.

Avoid adding water to any cosmetics, such as liquid foundation, unless instructed to do so by the manufacturer.

Wash makeup applicators and brushes regularly to eliminate bacteria. Clean brushes once a month with lukewarm water and mild shampoo and then lay them flat and allow them to dry. A sanitizing spray works well if you're in a hurry and can't do a thorough cleaning.

Items you will need
  • Cosmetic pencil sharpener
  • Mild shampoo or sanitizing spray

Tip

  • If you experience eye pain, blurred vision or discharge after applying mascara or shadow, you may have developed an eye infection. See a doctor for treatment.

Warning

  • Discard any cosmetics that have an unusual odor. A bad odor indicates the presence of infection-causing bacteria. Also, toss makeup that changes in texture or color.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images