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How to Know if Your Beauty Products Have Gone Bad

We’ve all opened a moisturizer or applied a lip gloss and had that feeling that something doesn’t look quite right. The color has changed, the consistency is off, or you actually find your skin being irritated after you apply it.

But you can’t bear to throw it away! 

The jar is still half-full, or it’s your favorite lipstick, and even though your intuition is telling you something’s off, you dismiss that thought. 

Surely it’s better to keep using this product until it’s finished instead of wasting it? 

So, do makeup products actually have an expiry date? How do you know if your beauty products have gone bad? Do unopened makeup products expire? How can you check the expiry dates of your products? And is there any harm in using an expired product?

All great questions, and we’ll be answering them all in this article!

Here’s everything you need to know about makeup expiry dates. 

How long do beauty products last?

There is no definitive blanket answer, but here’s a general guide for how long different types of beauty products last.

Makeup that you use around your eyes

Mascaras and liquid liners have the shortest shelf life and will generally last between three and six months before they need replacing. It’s really important you adhere to this to avoid any nasty eye infections.

Pencil eyeliners have a longer shelf life and can last up to a year. Sharpening your liners regularly will shave off any bacteria that has built up and help you avoid eye infections. 

Liquid foundation

Water-based foundations can last up to a year while oil-based foundations have a slightly longer shelf-life lasting up to 18 months.

Moisturizers

Depending on how fresh the ingredients are, moisturizers can last between six months to a year after being opened. 

Eye creams, face masks & serums

These will all last between six months and a year.

Lip products

A solid lipstick texture will last between one and two years, while liquid lipstick and lip gloss will generally last between six months to a year.

A lip liner can last up to a year and should be regularly sharpened the same way as an eyeliner.

Cream-based makeup

Cream concealers and blushes can usually last between six months to a year.

Powder products

Bronzers, powder blushes, powder foundations, and setting powder can all last up to two years. 

Nail polish

Nail polish will last indefinitely if it’s unopened. But once opened, it will usually have a shelf life of two years. Around this time (or sooner) certain ingredients will begin to evaporate which will cause it to thicken. 

Makeup brushes

Brushes can last a long time as long as they’re properly looked after. That means washing them every month to remove bacteria and build up. 

How to check the expiry date of cosmetics

Vivienne Sabo products artistically framed on top of a book

The best way to figure out if a beauty product is expired is to use your common sense. 

Ask yourself the following questions: Does it look right? Does it smell right? Has the texture changed?

And check the expiration date—every tube or jar will have this clearly written on it. 

What you’re looking for is the “period after opening” number. This will be written as “6M” or “12M” on the product somewhere. This essentially tells you how long you can use this product safely after you open it. 

Usually, it will be fairly obvious if a product has gone off. For example, mascara will clog. Pencils will dry out. Creams and moisturizers will change in consistency or color and may even change in smell. 

What to do with expired beauty products: If in doubt, throw it out! 

Do unopened makeup products expire, or is this just an urban myth?

Most products on the market have a shelf life of over 30 months when left unopened. But this really depends on the product in question. As mentioned already, some products have active, unstable ingredients in them that go off quicker than other ingredients.

So you’d be wise to still practice caution before going ahead and using any product that has been hanging around in your beauty drawer for a while. 

How to extend the shelf life of your beauty products

Did you know that the way you store your beauty products can actually extend their shelf life?

Yes!

So, are you storing and looking after them the right way?

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Keep your makeup products somewhere humid (i.e. on a shelf in the bathroom)
  • Keep them somewhere warm or in direct sunlight (on a windowsill)
  • Dip dirty fingers, brushes, and sponges into your makeup pots
  • Share your makeup with anyone else

This will encourage bacteria and mold to thrive, and wreak havoc with formulas.

Here’s what you should be doing to extend the life of your makeup:

  • Keep your products somewhere cool, dark, and dry (not in the fridge though!)
  • Clean your makeup tools regularly
  • Use a tool to scoop out product instead of your fingers
  • Wipe your lipstick after each use to remove bacteria
  • Close lids and tops securely after using them
  • Go for smaller product sizes if you find you’re not getting through them

How to keep your beauty products organized

Makeup brushes and cosmetics

As discussed, the period after opening symbol (PAO) is a great indication of how long a product will last before going bad. But sometimes, this will be located on a box and not on the actual product. On top of this, it’s difficult to remember when you bought and opened all your products!

To stay on top of things, add a small sticker to each product with a date on it for when you probably need to throw it out and replace it. 

Can I still use expired beauty products?

What happens if you use expired makeup?

You might think there’s no harm in using an expired product, but you’d be wrong.

But the worst-case scenario is you can break out in spots, have an allergic reaction, or give yourself an infection. 

A 2013 study found 70% of women used some type of expired product in their makeup routine—mostly eye makeup (mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow). The researchers sampled the eye makeup for contamination, and found that 67% of the products were contaminated! 

Yikes.

It’s really not worth the risk ladies. Set aside a budget for investing in makeup as and when you need it and release the guilt of throwing away a half-used product. 

Need a handy reminder when it’s time to replace your makeup?

Natural-themed beauty product layout

Let’s be honest, life is hectic. In a perfect world, we’d all add expiry dates to our makeup products, and we’d always remember to replace them.

But most of us have so much going on that best practices like this get forgotten. That’s why we’ve created a handy subscribe and save makeup subscription option for all our products. You’ll save money on our makeup, and we’ll deliver a replacement product automatically at the time increments you choose!

 

 

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French Girl Beauty Guide
June 11, 2021
French Girl Beauty Guide

There’s a reason why Paris is the world’s capital of fashion. French women have mastered the art of looking cool and chic at all times!    The secret behind French girl beauty is sheer cleverness. It’s not about special French beauty products (although they can help) or spending hours in front of the mirror. Instead, it’s about practicing restraint and focusing your energy on the things that matter most.  The French beauty routine can be split into three components. First, there’s the skincare routine, then hairstyling, and last, but certainly not least, makeup. That classy French vibe comes from how these three components merge into a singular, effortless look.  Let’s discover how that’s done, shall we?  Skin on point  Our skin is the most precious canvas, so the French skincare routine is often more consistent than makeup, even though it’s not necessarily too involved or complex.  Consistent skincare routine   Consistency is more important than the specific products you use! By doing your beauty routine every morning and night, you can keep your skin firm and healthy for the years to come.  For most French girls, the secret to ensuring consistency is not to have an overly long routine. We use our staple French beauty products, and we don’t mind cutting the occasional corner. If you struggle to stick to your skincare routine, we have an entire post dedicated to life-changing French skincare tips.  Gentle cleanse   One crucial element in the French skincare routine is cleansing the skin as gently as possible. Removing makeup every night is imperative, of course, but in the morning, a splash of water is often enough.  For actual makeup removal, micellar water has become the go-to French beauty product for most women. It’s quick and easy to use, but it’s also very gentle on the skin. Many French women also love the old-school approach of using an ultra-moisturizing cleansing milk.  Hydration hydration hydration   After cleansing, the next step is to load the skin up with moisture. We avoid intense multi-step routines, but many French girls still layer a hydrating serum under their face cream for added moisture.  When the skin is well-hydrated, it’s stronger, softer, and most importantly, it achieves that delicious glow. That’s why French girls will readily skip foundation, but moisturizer is always a must!  French hair, don’t care From Brigitte Bardot in the ‘70s to Cindy Bruna and Jeanne Damas today, French women are known for keeping their hair tousled and natural. Here’s how you, too, can achieve such hair! Never over-wash   Much like the face, your hair doesn’t benefit from over washing. To avoid drying out the hair, we try to wash our hair as little as possible. Once or twice a week is plenty for dry scalps, while those with oily hair should shampoo every other day at most.  The shampoo itself also matters! French women stick to gentle, sulfate-free shampoos, as those are less likely to strip the hair of its natural, beneficial oils. Finally, we also use a little bit of conditioner on the hair’s end to add some moisture and ensure manageability.  All about texture    That French tousled hair look is a classic day-to-day choice that always seems effortlessly chic. The secret to achieving the look is to find ways to texturize the hair. French women generally eschew the hair straightener, but even the blow dryer and curling iron are optional!  Instead, we let our hair air dry so that it can achieve a natural wave or curl. Then, we amp it up with a texturizing salt spray or dry shampoo to make the hair look even more piecey and tousled.  Go-to hairstyles    For day-to-day, natural-looking tousled hair rules, but French girls also know how to turn up the glam for date nights and special events. Instead of trying an elaborate updo or spending a fortune at the salon, try to master a few simple but impressive-looking hairstyles.  A high ponytail is especially chic these days, but a messy bun is a classic when paired with some soft-glam makeup. For the full low-down, check out our guide for how to achieve the essential French girl hairstyles.   Easy French girl makeup French makeup takes a clever approach. It’s all about maximum impact through minimal effort, which is why French women take no time to get ready in the morning, yet they always look stunning.   Have a signature makeup kit When it comes to makeup, repetition breeds perfection and speed. That’s why French girls like to stick to a small but carefully curated makeup kit with just a few essentials. The must-have French girl makeup products are usually the following:  Volumizing mascara Concealer with a natural finish A brow grooming product  Easy-to-use eyeliner  Red lipstick, of course!  The red lip    It’s not a myth but a fact: French women swear by red lipstick. Red lips are timelessly seductive, and they offer a low-effort trick to looking incredibly glamorous. For some French girls, it’s literally the only makeup product they’ll use!  Nowadays, many French women choose non-feathering matte lipsticks like our Matte Constance lipstick since they don’t require lip liner and they don’t fade throughout the day.  If you still prefer old-school bullet lipsticks, it’s important to first perfect the lip line with the help of a matching liner, like our Classic Red Le Grand Volume pencil.  Keep the eyes soft   When the lips are the focus, it’s best to keep the eyes soft. The next most important French girl makeup product is mascara, which is all you’ll need if you’ve already settled on a red lip.  In general, French girls prefer volumizing mascaras that make the lashes look lush — but if your lashes are already voluminous and prone to clumping, you might like a lengthening and lash-separating mascara instead.   On days when you do decide to put a bit more effort into your eye makeup, it’s better to keep the lips natural with just a dab of nude gloss.  All of our secrets revealed There’s a lot of thought behind the French girl beauty routine, but mercifully, it doesn’t require much effort. French skincare is at the center, while we keep our hair tousled and our French makeup minimal yet punchy. There you have it, mes amours! 

How to Clean Your Eyelash Curler
June 01, 2021
How to Clean Your Eyelash Curler

There’s one handy makeup tool that we use almost every day, but don’t think about much. We’re talking about the eyelash curler! It’s an important tool that deserves all of the love. It gives the lashes the curl and lift that are so important for a fresh, open-eyed look.  But when’s the last time you’ve cleaned your eyelash curler?  We focus so much on cleaning our brushes and sponges, but the poor little eyelash curler is often left forgotten. However, it deserves the same regular scrubbing as the rest of your equipment. Today, we’ll explain why, and also give you a few tips on how to clean your eyelash curler.  Why should you clean your eyelash curler?   It’s important to be extra careful with any makeup item or tool that comes close to your eye. The lash line is prone to styes, and the eyes themselves are vulnerable to all kinds of dangerous infections.  For that reason, it’s imperative to remove makeup at the end of the day, to never use expired eye makeup, and to clean any tools that come close to the lash line—your eyelash curler is chief amongst them.  Most lash curlers are made of metal, an easy-to-clean material that is less likely to harbor bacteria. But the rubber pad at the base of the curler is tougher to clean, and grime and germs can get caught below it.  How to deep clean your eyelash curler Just like your makeup brushes, the best way to clean your eyelash curler is with soap and water. This will remove most pathogens and grime, not to mention the heavy buildup of mascara.   Since the eyelash curler is a metal tool, dish soap usually works best. It breaks down oils in makeup, and it doesn’t leave behind a residue the way shampoo or hand soap might. It can also be helpful to have a few cotton swabs on hand.  First, remove the rubber pad from your eyelash curler.  Place your lash curler under a running tap.  Next, soap it up with dish soap. Use your fingers to rub the soap into every crevice of your lash curler.  Then, with your curler still a little soapy, use a cotton swab to thoroughly dislodge any grime from the indent where the rubber pad normally sits.  Finally, rinse your lash curler of the soap.  Use a dry tissue or paper towel to dry it.  Next, give the rubber pad itself a quick scrub and check for any hairs that may be stuck beneath it. Once cleaned, dry it, and replace it in the indent.  How to disinfect your eyelash curler   Cleaning your eyelash curler is one thing, but you should also disinfect it on a regular basis. To disinfect your eyelash curler, you’ll want to use at least 70% alcohol, and you may also want to have a cotton pad or cotton swab on hand.  When you’re in a rush, just soak a cotton pad with alcohol and use it to wipe down the eyelash curler.  Then, use the cotton swab to clean out the indent where the rubber pad normally sits.  To take it even further, fill a small glass with alcohol. Plop the eyelash curler top down into the glass, as well as the rubber pad.  Leave both in there for 10 minutes.  Then, pull them out, and wipe them down with a dry cotton pad to help them dry.  Take this chance to disinfect other metal beauty tools, like your tweezers, nail clippers, or brow scissors.  How often should you clean your lash curler? You should clean your eyelash curler every time you clean your brushes, which hopefully means about once a week. Cleaning with soap and water is a little more labor-intensive, so you can do that just once every few months, but wiping your lash curler down with a wipe or with alcohol should happen on a weekly basis.  How to clean a heated eyelash curler    If you use a heated eyelash curler, it’s important to clean it carefully and thoroughly, without damaging its electric components. Since heated lash curlers are used after mascara, they tend to collect a lot of residue in the comb and need more frequent cleaning.  To remove the mascara remnants, carefully place the comb part of the curler under running water, to rinse away mascara and trapped lashes.  Be careful not to let any other parts of the tool come in contact with the water.  If the mascara is very persistent, use a cotton pad soaked in makeup remover to loosen it up first.  To actually sanitize your eyelash curler, spray it with alcohol and then let it air dry.  Other healthy lash tips   Aside from cleaning your eyelash curler regularly, we have a few more tips to help you keep your lashes healthy and thriving.  When curling your eyelashes, make sure to fully concentrate on what you’re doing, to avoid pinching yourself or losing lashes.  Avoid sharing your eyelash curler with others. If you do let someone else use it, make sure to sanitize it with alcohol both before and after handing it over.  When using a traditional curler, avoid eyelash curling after you’ve applied mascara, since this will dirty your curler and also increases the chances of damage to the lashes.   Pay close attention to the rubber pad. If it looks indented or starts to lose its shape, make sure to replace it.  With daily use, you will likely need to replace the pad after 3-6 months.  Another important part of keeping the eyes and lashes healthy is to remove your eye makeup thoroughly every night.  To improve the condition of your lashes, use a fortifying eyelash serum every evening as part of your beauty routine.  Never use mascara past its expiry date, and make sure to replace your tube every 3-6 months.  Cleaning your eyelash curler only takes a few moments, but it’s easy to forget. Don’t put off this important little chore. Do your eyes a favor, and go give your lash curler a scrub right now!     

The Ultimate Lip Care Guide for a Nourished Pout
May 23, 2021
The Ultimate Lip Care Guide for a Nourished Pout

Our favorite look for low-effort glam calls for just a touch of mascara and a swipe of boldly colored lipstick. Focusing on the lips is a known French beauty hack, but for it to work well, our lips have to be in great shape!  Lipstick can’t glide smoothly over chapped lips, which is why a good lip care routine is so important. Here are our tips for taking good care of your lips on the regular, along with some advice for special care when they get especially dry. Use a richer lip balm at night   The lips can get incredibly dry at night, especially if the humidity in your room is low or if you tend to breathe from your mouth as you sleep. That’s why it’s best to apply a thicker lip balm before bed. If your lips are particularly chapped, using a rich balm will help to speed up their healing.  Look for occlusive ingredients  What on earth does occlusive mean, you ask? Occlusives are oily ingredients that are able to seal moisture in place and prevent evaporation. They’re essential for a truly healing lip balm. Our favorite occlusive ingredients for the lips are lanolin, squalane, shea butter, and petrolatum. A balm with these ingredients can create a protective seal over the lips that prevents moisture loss.  Use lip balm as a barrier Another important time to apply lip balm is before brushing your teeth or using potentially-drying skincare products like retinoids or acne treatments. The balm will act as a barrier against those products and prevent their drying effects from impacting your lips.  Layer your lip moisturizers When the situation is particularly dire, especially in winter, it can be beneficial to build up moisture in the lips with layers. First, start with a light layer of fragrance-free lotion or hydrating serum – once it sinks in, layer a heavy lip balm on top. That first layer will add hydration, while the second layer will lock the moisture in deeply.   Opt for an SPF balm in the day Our lips are just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of our skin, so during the daytime, opt for an SPF lip balm. Apply it to your lips at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun, and make sure they’re thoroughly coated. If you’d like to wear lipstick or gloss, just add it over the lip balm, and you’ll actually end up with a smoother finish than if you were to apply it to bare lips.  Avoid minty fragrances We love a lip balm with a bit of flavor, but minty lip balms can actually cause some issues. Menthol is the key fragrance compound in mint essential oil, and it’s added to lip balms to give a cooling and stimulating effect. Unfortunately, those stimulating effects can also be drying and irritating, especially to already chapped lips.   However, when your lips are well taken care of, you can actually benefit from the temporary stimulating effect of menthol because it can make the lips look plump and full. That’s why we do use a bit of menthol in our lip-plumping Polynesie Francaise glosses.   Use a sulfate-free toothpaste   All toothpaste can be a little drying, but toothpaste made with sulfates is the worst by far. Sulfates (usually sodium lauryl sulfate) are the ingredients responsible for your toothpaste foaming up. Unfortunately, they can also be quite drying and irritating, especially to the lips and gums. If you suffer from chronically dry lips, it’s very possible that your toothpaste is at fault, so switching to a non-foaming, sulfate-free toothpaste can make a big difference.  Exfoliate your lips The final aspect of keeping the lips luscious and smooth is exfoliating them regularly. Exfoliation removes the flaky buildup of dead skin over the lips and allows lip moisturizers to do their job more effectively.  Exfoliation can be done as a dry lip treatment when they’re a little chapped or flakey, but if they’re so chapped that the skin is a little broken, it’s important to wait until they heal. You also don’t want to over-exfoliate your lips. Once or twice a week is ideal, more often than that, and you risk irritating the skin and making things worse.   Make a DIY lip scrub   While you can certainly purchase a lip scrub at the store, making your own natural blend is safe and easy!  All you need is half a teaspoon of brown sugar and a few drops of coconut or olive oil. You can mix them up in a little jar or even in the palm of your hand. You can use honey instead of oil if your skin is acne-prone.  With your finger, rub the blend over your lips for a few seconds until they feel smooth. Finally, wipe it off or rinse it away with some water. The oil will help moisturize your lips, while the sugar will slough away all of the flakiness!  Just make sure to mix up a small amount every time you want to exfoliate. Unlike commercial products made with preservatives, whatever you make at home is liable to spoil after a few days.  Always prep before lipstick No matter which of our lip care tips you choose to adopt, always remember to take a few steps to pamper your lips before applying lipstick. You’ll need to make sure there are no flakey patches or dryness before starting your makeup, or else you’ll end up with patchy-looking lipstick.  A coat of lip balm will be enough if the rest of your lip care routine is on-point, but sometimes you might need to do a full exfoliation routine to guarantee your lips are in tip-top shape.  Motus et bouche cousue (our lips are sealed) Achieving plump, healthy lips isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of adding lip care to your regular routine, especially before bed. Whether you go all out with exfoliation or just switch out your minty lip balm for a healthier alternative, we know you’ll discover smoother, happier, and more kissable lips.