Makeup bag detox: how to tell when your beauty products are past their prime - Times LIVE

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Most women can easily hold onto makeup products for years, but, unlike food or medicine, there often aren't any glaring expiry dates on these purchases.

On some products like face creams, you may notice a tiny icon of an open jar accompanied by a number followed by the letter m. This symbol highlights how many months the product can be used for after you've opened it — the tricky part is remembering when that was.

To help you keep track, use a permanent marker to write the date of first use on your products.

It's also important to pay attention to how a product looks or smells — any change can tip you off that it's time to toss it out.

You might also not be aware that storage plays a role in the shelf life of your products: exposure to heat, humidity and even ambient air can cause formulas to degrade faster. Avoid storing makeup products in your bathroom; rather keep them in a cool, dry bedroom cupboard.

USE THIS DETOX GUIDE TO HELP KEEP YOUR COLLECTION FRESH

MASCARA, LIQUID AND GEL EYELINER

Toss after: 3 months

Mascaras and eyeliners are the first to go when detoxing your makeup bag. Any bacteria collecting on your products have a first-class ticket to causing eye infections. Mascaras and liquid liner tubes are also a breeding place for bacteria as they are dark and moist.

Never pump the wand of your mascara as it forces air as well as bacteria into the tube. Carefully pull the wand out and wipe off excess product from the opening.

OIL-FREE FOUNDATION, LIPSTICK AND LIP LINER

Toss after 1 year

Foundation formulas tend to degrade and split faster if they are oil-based. Oil-free foundations and lipsticks are less likely to expire quickly as they contain less oil.

Spritzing lipstick and lip liners with rubbing alcohol before use sterilises the surface and prolongs shelf life. Toss out any of these products if their smell or texture changes.

CREAM BLUSH, FOUNDATION, EYE SHADOW & CONCEALER

Toss after 12-18 months

Though their texture will not change as fast as a product with a liquid formula, cream products are best blended in with the fingertips, making them susceptible to bacteria. Eliminate excessive finger contact by using a brush to apply a small amount of product to the back of your hand, then use your fingers to apply onto the face. This way the cream is warmed up by the skin, making it easier to blend.

NAIL POLISHES

Toss after 1-2 years

Nail polishes can generally last for a long time if not left open or in direct heat. When a polish reaches its throw-away date, the formula tends to separate, dry out or become thick and clumpy.

POWDER BLUSH, BRONZERS AND EYELINER PENCILS

Toss after 2 years

Eye pencils have longevity as they are regularly sharpened, renewing the product surface used on the skin.

Powders, such as blushes and bronzers, have less chance of breeding bacteria as they do not contain moisture.

Products applied with brushes have less contact with fingers that can transfer bacteria to the skin - just make sure the brushes used are regularly cleaned.

MAKEUP BRUSHES AND SPONGES

The makeup tools we use contribute to the shelf life of makeup products. Brushes should be cleaned once a month* while sponges need to be cleansed after the first week of use, but should not used for more than two weeks.

What about the hygiene of your brow pencil with brush end? When the bristles become clumpy, run the brush under warm water and rub the wand between your fingers with soap.

*Beauty editor's tip: "Use shampoo to clean makeup brushes. Gently work the lather in the same direction as the bristles to keep its shape."

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