Do you use makeup products beyond their expiry date? It can be harmful

  • Style
  • Wednesday, 07 Jun 2023

More than four in ten beauty product users in the UK keep using their mascara past its supposed expiry data. This can lead to eye infections, among other things. Photo: AFP

Do you have any idea when you started using your mascara? Or at least how long you can keep it after opening? If not, it may be time to get clued-up, because using expired makeup is far from risk-free.

Nevertheless, it's something that two in five people in the UK are doing, highlighting consumers' misuse of certain cosmetic products.

Every year, the issue of makeup brush and sponge hygiene comes up time and again.

These veritable breeding grounds for bacteria must be regularly cleaned to reduce the risk of redness, rashes and, in the worst case, infections.

This problem can be solved fairly quickly by cleaning brushes (at least) once a week, or swapping foundation brushes for stainless steel spatulas.

But the SpaSeekers platform has raised another problem, by looking into what people in the UK have in their makeup bags and what their makeup habits involve.

The study was carried out in April 2023 by Censuswide among 763 British people over the age of 16 who use beauty products.

Each respondent answered a series of questions about the items in their makeup kit, the number of items they use per week, where they store these items and the beauty treatments they carry out at home.

The results are surprising, since it turns out that more than four in ten people surveyed claim to use out-of-date skincare and makeup products.

A habit that's not without consequences, whether in terms of product effectiveness or health risks.

Read more: Short, chic, curly: On-trend hairstyles that will make you the 'mane' character

Three to six months for mascara

The study shows that mascara is the makeup product most often used beyond its expiry date (between three and six months), depending on the product.

More than two in five people (43%) say they use their mascara for more than six months, which poses a major hygiene problem.

Like brushes and sponges, mascara can harbour numerous bacteria, potentially exposing consumers to allergies, irritations and even infections. And that can be especially worrying since the product in question is applied just above the eye.

But that's not all, since sponges come in a close second, with almost a third of respondents (32%) using them for much longer than they should.

As with mascara, sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to redness, irritation, infection and other skin problems that should not be overlooked.

These are not the only products that people are applying after the expiry date.

They are followed by eye creams (32%), retinol (32%), micellar waters (26%), vitamin C creams or serums (26%), lipsticks (20%), hand creams (20%) and lip glosses (19%).

But perhaps most worrying of all is the fact that 17% of those surveyed use out-of-date facial sunscreens (after a shelf-life of 12 months).

This could be a major problem considering that this product is supposed to protect the skin from the sun's many harmful effects, all year round.

In view of this, experts on the SpaSeekers platform recommend that you regularly sort through your beauty products and replace those that may be ineffective or harmful because they have passed their expiry date.

Read more: Vanity Fare: Protect your skin from the sun with the right beauty products

The issue of waste

While fashion is often singled out for driving over-consumption and waste, beauty also has a role to play, as this UK study reveals.

It reports that respondents own an average of 84 beauty and skincare products, ranging from eyeshadows and exfoliating products to moisturisers, lipsticks and contouring products.

Brushes are the most common beauty tools owned by British consumers, with an average of six, ahead of lipsticks, perfumes and eyeshadows (five for the average beauty enthusiast).

But while some are content to use certain products beyond their expiry date, others are happy to let little-used products build up at the bottom of their beauty kits.

Just over two-thirds (69%) of the average beauty enthusiast's kit is actually used every week, with lipstick considered the "least regularly used" product, ahead of eyeshadow palettes.

These figures call into question the relevance of replacing certain products on a regular basis, while others, such as mascara, should be renewed much more frequently. – AFP

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beauty , makeup , skincare


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