How To Tell If Your Makeup Has Gone Bad

I seem to start every new year by going through everything I own and throwing away the things that no longer work for me. 
I love the idea of starting a new year with a clean slate.
Maybe everyone does it?
Every year I get bombarded by friends and acquaintances asking me if they need to throw out their makeup, so this year I’m getting ahead of the curve by writing a post about it.


How Do I Know If My Makeup Has Gone Bad? 

Have you ever noticed that the loudest voices telling you to throw away makeup come from those with a vested interest in selling you more?

I always think that makeup is so full of preservatives that it lasts a super long time. However, I spend a small fortune and endless time taking care of my skin, so I am about the last person on earth who would ever risk getting a breakout from using product that has turned bad. Also I can hardly turn up to a shoot with an eye infection, so I just won’t take the chance. My advice to you comes not from any scientific background, but instead solely from a place of vanity.

It Starts With Cleanliness…

Before we go any further you should know that the mileage you get out of any makeup product is largely dependent on your personal hygiene and how you handle your makeup.

If you put your fingers in your makeup, blow on it, don’t keep your brushes clean, leave lids off of products, you are fast tracking their use by date.

Keep your fingers out of your makeup and use clean brushes and sponges and your products will last longer.

Don’t tip out foundation then scoop what you don’t use back into the bottle – you are adding bacteria and lord only knows what else back into the bottle.

Make a priority out of keeping your brushes clean and cared for.

Store Them Properly

Don’t leave your makeup products in direct sunlight, or in warm, humid environments. Don’t leave makeup on the bathroom counter (especially with the lid off!) and then have hot, steamy showers running. Instead store it in dark cupboards, cabinets and drawers, away from heat.

So Has it Gone Bad?

My general rule for gauging if makeup has gone bad is if it meets any of the three following criteria.

* Does it look different?

Has it started separating, does the color look odd, does it have a white film on the surface, is there anything growing on it, does it just look funky? Some products are designed to separate, but other than that if it looks wrong I’m not going to put it on my skin.

If pencils have a white film on them you can try sharpening them down a centimeter or so and see if they look normal, but I personally wouldn’t use a pencil I was unsure of around my eyes. To me it’s not worth the risk. If you are regularly sharpening your pencils and maintaining them hygienically they are not likely to go bad.

*Has the texture changed?

If any cream or liquid products change their texture I throw them out. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a powder change, but who knows? Maybe it could.)

I normally find that cream eye shadows and cream/gel liners start drying out half way through the jar. Because by nature they are supposed to be glossy and rich I tend to replace them when start looking dry. Some products you can rejuvenate with mixing mediums (more on the pro end though), but in general always put the lid back on immediately to prevent them drying out prematurely, and toss them when they start getting dry.

When mascara starts to dry out it’s time to replace it. 

*Does it smell wrong?

If a product smells different, especially if it smells funky, it can be an indication that it has turned.

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