Do You Check Your Makeup For This Important Label?

Posted by in Health & Lifestyle

Confession time: I’ve been using the same lip balm for three years. It may sound gross, why would anyone do that? Because I love my Burt's Bees lip balm, okay? Also, the partial reason is that I keep losing it in my makeup bag and not using it for a couple of months.

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Burt's Bees, Replenishing Lip Balm With Pomegranate, £3.99

The same can be said for the majority of products in my makeup bag, even those I have deemed totally un-tossable, I mean, I’m not crazy why would you throw away a discontinued Chanel mascara sample?

But saying that now, I recall a thought that was running through my mind as I was, once again, digging for my lip balm: how long have I had all of these things for? I mean, the Chanel sample is discontinued for Christ’s sake!

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The new version of my discontinued sample: Chanel, Volume Length Curl Separation Colour, £28.00

Expiration dates

Product expiration dates on makeup tend to go unnoticed because we don’t see or think about them. However, after noticing a tiny container sign at the bottom of my lip balm and conducting a thorough Google search, it turns out we are all just not aware of their existence. What’s even more shocking is that it’s not that simple when it comes to expiration dates.

“Expiration dates are tricky when it comes to cosmetics because it entirely depends on the product. When in doubt, check the item in question for a jar printed with a number. That’s always a safe indicator for when something needs to be tossed,” says makeup artists Austin Evans, a part of Tomlinson Management Group.

This tiny jar that I happened to notice in a bout of tube boredom is actually super important. As Austin mentioned, this number will be in a tiny jar image on the product and it will signify the number of months for which a product can be kept open, ie. 24M.

The danger of not checking for this sign is that the regulations for labelling makeup products are not that strict and so most products might not even have these labels at all! This combined with our internal caveman hoarding tendencies makes it even more difficult to know when it is time to toss that sample and upgrade your lip balm.

Speed of expiry

“In general, liquids and creams expire the fastest (, while powders tend to last much longer,” explains Evans. “The wetter a product is, the easier it will facilitate bacteria growth.”

Since some products expire much faster, it’s important to either make a mental or physical note of when you first opened it. Especially when it comes to skincare.

“For skincare, any items that contain an active ingredient that is unstable around oxygen should be kept away from heat as well. Beauty favourites like retinol, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid and vitamin C are all relatively unstable if left exposed, so always invest in products that come in a tube with a pump!” says Evans.

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Indeed Laboratories, Retinol Reface Skin Resurfacer, £19.99

Ignoring the labels

And as for the danger of ignoring labels? Well, a researcher at Georgetown University and co-founder of LuminoraURF, Dr Ali Hendi, warns that expired products run the risk of having destabilized active ingredients that can potentially cause contact dermatitis, or worse, localised skin infections!

So, next time you’re digging through for that beloved lip balm or admiring that lush sample, ask yourself, is it time to say goodbye?

If you’re having doubts about tossing your beloved products because you’re scared you won’t find another one like it, remember there’s plenty of fish in the sea and you can take our personalised and unbiased quiz to find your perfect match!

Happy tossing, gals!