4 key things to know about the life span of beauty products

From mascara to moisturizer, here’s how to take care of your products (and your skin) the right way, according to two local experts.

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As the sun shines brighter and your skin gets a bit more bronzed, that usually means it’s time to switch out your foundation for a slightly tanner color tone. While nobody likes wasting a perfectly full bottle of product, your skin will actually thank you for it later, according to two beauty experts in the Northern Virginia region.

Sara D’Amelio, a holistic esthetician and founder of Skincando, has been working in the beauty industry for about 20 years, and treats all her clients with organic and homemade remedies. According to D’Amelio, traditional beauty products consist of preservatives that can expose your skin to bacteria if used for too long.

While actual expiration dates of products—think mascara, lip gloss, eye shadow—vary by manufacturer, there are definitely timelines for how long each item should be used, which typically fall around six months as an average, according to both D’Amelio and Jocelyn Chia of Makeup With Jossy, a makeup service based in Fairfax. Here, they share everything you need to know about properly caring for yourself and your products. 

Don’t hold on to that mascara or lip gloss for too long
Mascara and lip gloss tend to be the go-to commodity for those who really don’t wear much makeup at all, in that it’s pretty easy to just swipe your lashes or lips with a wand and head out the door. But unfortunately, these liquid-based necessities tend to have a shorter lifespan than other beauty products.  

“A rule of thumb for mascara is every three months it should be replaced,” Chia says. “This is hard to believe, but mascara wands are brushing all the bacteria from your lashes and storing it into a moisture environment. Frightening, right?”

According to Chia, mold and bacteria transfer to the area around your eyes and on the top of your skin when you use mascara for too long, creating acne, or even cysts on that part of your face. 

“Lip gloss needs to be changed, too,” D’Amelio says. “You’re putting that wand on your lips every day and while that can technically last a long time, you shouldn’t be using it for an extended period of time.” 

What about skin care?
Most people have a daily routine that involves applying moisturizer or other skin care products twice a day, which means you will probably run out of it faster than other products. But still, that doesn’t mean there are no risks involved in using your favorite face cream for too long.

“Typically, skin care products have a date of expiration on the packaging that usually says 3M, 6M, 12M, 24M,” says Chia. “This time starts from when air, moisture or human fingers come in contact with your product.  Most people don’t know or even care about products expiring, but it’s so important because the product may not be as effective.”

Plus, traditional skin care products don’t always change in terms of looks, like an old lip gloss or nail polish do. This is because of the pathogens involved and if used for too long, according to D’Amelio, they will cause a breakout. If you notice breakouts, your skin is telling you something is wrong and your makeup may be to blame.

Keep it cool
According to both Chia and D’Amelio, products need to be stored in a cool to room-temperature area in order for them to stay effective for a longer period of time.

Keeping beauty products in a car on a hot day, for example, is a really bad idea, according to D’Amelio. If the makeup is placed near anything wet, too, this will cause bacteria to grow at a faster rate.

Wash your brushes
While powders do last longer than liquid-based products, it is essential to clean every brush you use on a regular basis. If you use each powder with a clean brush, according to Chia, it will preserve the life of the product.

According to D’Amelio, you should clean makeup brushes—those used for eye shadow palettes, bronzer, blush—twice a week.

“It’s about being hygienic with your brushes and what you are applying to your face,” D’Amelio explains. “A gentle, natural shampoo will really do the trick and if you do it at night, they’ll probably be dry and ready for use in the morning.”

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