Out with the old

We all have our favourite tube of lipstick we just don’t want to trash. Or sometimes we hoard multiple products with the same purpose. But cosmetics can become the breeding ground for bacteria

Published: 03rd January 2012 12:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:07 PM   |  A+A-

We all have our favourite tube of lipstick we just don’t want to trash. Or sometimes we hoard multiple products with the same purpose. But cosmetics can become the breeding ground for bacteria and may cause skin or eye infection. As the year ends, now is the time to take stock of your beauty cabinet and check expiration dates. Top experts in the field tell us when you need to toss your beauty products.



Make-up brushes and sponges, if not regularly washed, can attract germs and become unsafe. Also, if the brushes turn stiff or you find that bristles are falling out, it is a good time to dispose them. ‘‘If you keep them well-maintained and wash them regularly with shampoo, they can last for years, if not, I’d advise that you replace them every three months,’’ advises Vipul Bhagat, celebrity make-up artist with clients like Malaika Arora Khan, Madhu Sapre and Shweta Jaishanker.


This one’s easy to figure out. Mascara ends up becoming dry and clumpy. Namrata Soni, who has worked with stars like Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha, says that it also depends on the quality of the brand. ‘‘It becomes ugly when it starts falling under your eyes after application, so the most I’d give it is six months,’’ she shares.

Lipstick and lip gloss

If you keep lipstick for more than a year or two, you may find it detoriating in texture. ‘‘Make sure you replace it before you get a rash, or your lips swell,’’ says Bhagat. ‘‘Lipsticks get a foul odour and lip gloss becomes sticky, when they get old,’’ he adds.

Creams and


Once open, creams and moisturisers tend to lose freshness and fragrance over time. Hair and make-up expert, Mehera Kolla-ha, says it depends on how often you use the product. ‘‘Most of these creams come in 500 ml packs and if you use it everyday, may not last for long. It depends on how many fingers are using the same jar,’’ she adds, saying that a good moisturiser can last up to two years.


When is the right time to replace that perfume you love so much? ‘‘Depends on the brand,’’ says Soni. ‘‘Top quality perfumes like a Chanel No 5 last for few years. Generally speaking, the Eau de toilette version of the fragrance has a shorter shelf-life than the perfume,’’ she points out.Lippi Lal, CEO at Lilac, Beauty and Lifestyle Academy says that as a general rule of thumb, two years is good time to keep your fragrance, provided it is not exposed to excessive heat or light. ‘‘Preserve the bottle in its outer cover and store in a cool, dark place,’’ she advises.


‘‘The shelf-life of make-up often depends on how often you use it. A good foundation has a shelf-life of two years, but if several people are using it, it is likely to attract bacteria and dirt,’’ says Kolah, adding that it is important to check the manufacturing and expiry dates of products before purchasing them.

Nail polish

If you see that nail polish separates and won’t go easy on your nails, that’s when you should chuck it. Soni, gives it three months at the maximum, but a really good brand can last for up to four years.

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