Women are keeping makeup for years after expiry date, causing infections

Survey finds women are holding on to old makeup, exposing them to bacteria

(Image credit: REX)

Survey finds women are holding on to old makeup, exposing them to bacteria

A survey has revealed that many of us are keeping makeup for six years after expiry dates, exposing us to dangerous toxins and bacteria.

The research, by Escentual.com, found women don't know they should bin products after a certain amount of time and that using old products could cause eye infections and unnecessary breakouts.

Eyeshadow was revealed as the item that spends the longest time in a makeup bag, with women keeping hold of theirs for seven years, six years after expiry dates.

Next worst were lipstick and liquid foundation which are kept for four years and three years respectively, more than three years longer than they should be kept. Old lipstick can be a breeding ground for nasties such as cold sores.

Many women don't know mascara should be thrown out after four months as it's one of the worst culprits for spreading eye infections.

Extreme cases were six per cent of women saying they use eyeshadow which is more than 14 years old and 17 per cent saying they use eight-year-old mascara.

The beauty products which were most frequently replaced were face powder, blusher and bronzer but even then they were kept a year longer than they should be.

Emma Leslie, Beauty Editor at Escentual.com, said: 'We're all guilty of clinging on to lip and eye colours in the hope they come back into fashion but make-up can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria like satphylococcus aureus and staphylococcus epidermis.

'Mascara is one of the worst culprits for spreading eye infections'

'Beauty products that surround the eye hold the greatest risk of infection and can cause bacterial conjunctivitis and blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid.

'So it's alarming to learn that British women are holding onto eyeshadow more than five years past the expiration date.

'Liquid foundation, blusher, bronzer, concealer and face powder past expiration dates can clog up pores with bacteria, which can cause irritations, break-outs and rashes.'

Leslie advises women to check the expiry date on the packaging. This is usually in the open tub symbol with a number followed by an 'M' - this is the number of months until expiry from the date the product is first used.

Do you frequently replace your makeup or do you hold onto it for a long time? Let us know in the comments below.


The leading destination for fashion, beauty, shopping and finger-on-the-pulse views on the latest issues. Marie Claire's travel content helps you delight in discovering new destinations around the globe, offering a unique – and sometimes unchartered – travel experience. From new hotel openings to the destinations tipped to take over our travel calendars, this iconic name has it covered.