After watching A&E’s hit TV show Hoarders I’ve taken a fresh look around my house. Sure, it’s easy to prepare for guests by shoving all your stuff in the closet, but what about your beauty stash? Perhaps you’re one of those organized people who know where everything is, well, at least the makeup. But do you know when that collection of products becomes a museum of germs? Most people don’t.
European cosmetics are required to sport expiration dates on all labels. In the United States the FDA gives minimal resources to regulating ingredients in cosmetics. The best you can hope for is something like a M12 label on your foundation. That’s secret code for please throw out in 12 months. allows you to find the expiration date of popular makeup brands by entering the batch code or lot number. These numbers can be found somewhere on the label or package.

I know all the excuses, like I paid a lot of money for this stuff, or I’m waiting for next year’s 70’s party to rock that blue eye shadow.

Dermatologists will tell you that if you are holding on to that mascara wand for too long, adding water, or repeated touching it, you are adding germs. Not scared yet?
Ok, you asked for it. Remember that last mild skin rash? It could turn into hives, swelling, blistering, even hair loss!
Good lordy girl, it ain’t worth hanging on to that travel tube of makeup remover.

Your eyes are the biggest danger zone. Most makeup related infections go unrecognized. You can get lot’s of icky side effects from your makeup regardless of if it was purchased at Walgreens or Chanel of Paris. Back in the 90’s when fashionable lids were lined with sultry kohl, while traveling in Morocco I scored a lovely bottle & wood applicator for 20 cents. Sitting at a cafe with my mint tea & honey I decided to go local and dabbed a bit of kohl under my right eye. Just as I touched my right eye my brain cells snapped to attention. I think I just screwed up! Two days later I was at the British hospital with conjunctivitis in both eyes. They were swollen shut. So much for my exotic adventure.

That lovely experience caused me to take a look at what’s in those lotions and potions. That all natural kohl is traditionally made from grinding lead sulfide with other ingredients. Many lipsticks contain lead. There’s formaldehyde in your Brazilian keratin hair smoothing products.
According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition,
cosmetics are the least regulated products. There are over 800 toxic chemicals used in cosmetics as you’re reading this. Don’t count on the FDA to save you from the consequences.
See for a terrifying list of ingredients & their side effects.
Before your next visit to the cosmetics counter, print out this helpful list from the lovely named

One more thing. Don’t be fooled by some of those “pink” products hiding behind the veil of breast cancer awareness. Read the ingredients no matter what color the label is or how pretty the picture of birds and trees are on the bottle.

I’m guessing you’re so freaked out now that you’ve thrown everything away.
When you return home with your new, safe mascara and eyeliner, print out this list of suggested cosmetic expiration dates. Take a Sharpie and mark the buy &/or throw out dates directly on each product.

3 months (yep, only 3 months)
pencil, every 2 years, sharpen often
liquid, 3 months
water-based 1 year, oil based 18 months.
1 year
1 year
1 year
2 years
powders, every 2 years, creams 9-12 months.
2 years
powder 2 years, cream 9-12 months.