Thursday 22 February 2018

Beauty & the bacteria

Make-up has a shelf life just like food, explains Aisling Keenan

Would you eat a slice of bread that was two months out of date? I would certainly hope not.

So why risk using out-of-date products on your skin, one of your body's most precious organs? Apparently, about 70pc of us are taking that exact risk. Pimples, cracked skin or cold sores and nasty eye-infections could all be the result of using cosmetics past their expiry dates.

Celebrity make-up artist Christine Lucignano explains how you lose the benefits of a product when it’s past its best. “There are skincare benefits in your foundation that you will be losing after it passes the expiry date.

Think about all of the benefits that make-up companies pay untold amounts to research and perfect. They won't be working properly. “If you want your foundation to protect your skin, your lip-plumping gloss to keep plumping and your lash-building mascara to keep building, stick to expiry dates.”

Dates to remember

Lipstick: 1-2 years

Chanel Rouge Coco in Gabrielle, €25.50, Brown Thomas

Sharing is a big nono. Be careful also to use a clean lipstick brush or a clean fingertip. If you stick to those rules, your lipstick and lip gloss should last one to two years.

Liquid liner: 3-6 months

Barry M Liquid Eyeliner, €6.95,

Boots stores nationwide Anything liquid-based is more likely to develop bacteria in a shorter time. Pencil liners for lips and eyes can last about two years, but liquid only lasts three to six months max.

Concealer/foundation: 6 months

Essence Stay Natural Concealer, €2.49, selected pharmacies

Concealer comes in contact with your most sensitive areas of skin; foundation is what makes your face look even and fresh. If either go past the use-by, they’ll cause skin real problems.

Powder eyeshadow/ blusher: 1 year

Bourjois Smoky Eyes Trio in Lady Vert de Gris, €10.99, available nationwide

Due care is needed with shadows. Powder ones last longer than liquid- based ones (they have a six-month lifespan), but you still need to be careful.

Mascara: 3-6 months

Max Factor False Lash Effect, €14.99, Boots stores and pharmacies nationwide

Mascara will tell you itself when it’s ready to be binned, but after the sixmonth mark, it’s got to go. Liquid-based and in close proximity to eyes, gone-off mascara spreads bacteria easily.


Always look for the expiry-date symbol on products. It’ll be a little tub with a lid open and a number inside. That shows how many months you can use the product effectively for.

Label your products when they’re first opened to know exactly how long you have to use the product safely.

Don’t ever share mascara or unsharpened pencils. You’ll dramatically reduce your chances of getting passed an infection.

Check the scent and texture of a new product. If the scent or texture changes after you’ve had it a long time, get rid of it.

Washing your cosmetics brushes often will keep your make-up clean and your face will reap the benefits. Your make-up will go on smoother too.

Make Up For Ever has a specially made shampoo for cleaning brushes and sponges; Sponge Shampoo, €12, from Make Up For Ever on Clarendon Street, Dublin 2.

All prices correct at time of going to print

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