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Deals & Steals

Benefit Cosmetics LLC

Make over your makeup.

Turn over a new leaf in 2009, and not just the "OMG I must juice fast for two weeks!" one.

Every woman we know has a pile of makeup in her drawer that she 'sometimes' uses. Translation: Never uses, but keeps just in case she finally learns how to properly apply blue eyeshadow.

Beauty products do have a shelf life, however, and chances are that blue eyeshadow with the glimmery bits that you bought a couple years ago (for Halloween?) has long expired. Here's a quick guide on the shelf lives of typical beauty products. We've listed them in alphabetical order. Oh, and just one quick little 'PS': Please keep in mind that these are estimates, no matter what anyone tells you it's unlikely you'll go blind from using two-year-old mascara...however don’t let your makeup lie around for months, seasons... years. Toss it before it goes bad and becomes a possible health hazard. Here's what to chuck - and when.

Lip Color
When to toss: Eight months to a year.
Some experts say 1-2 years. Others say up to 4 years. What everyone agrees on is that if it smells rancid, throw it out, it's spoiled.
How to extend its life: Buy lip glosses, sticks, and balms in tubes not pots. Products in tubes are not exposed to the germs on your hands and will therefore last longer.
Extra tip: If you store lipstick in the refrigerator, it will last longer.
Bonus tip: Want your lipstick to last longer during the day? Shade in lips with lip liner before applying lipstick.

Lip liner: Up to 3 years.
Extra tip: Skip the push-up lipliners. They're expensive, tend to break and you never really know how much you have left until you run out. No need to spend money on lip liners, there's no secret to greatness for this product. Save your money for powders and foundation.


When to toss: When it’s dry, you’ve had an eye infection, or after three months.
Extra tip: If you don't want your mascara to expire faster than its fresh date, don't pump the wand in and out -- it forces air in and will dry out your supply.

Liquid makeup
When to toss: After every season.
How to extend its life: Unfortunately, this one can’t be saved. The liquid foundation you used during summer won’t last through winter. Best to toss it after the season and get something more appropriate for your present skin tone and texture.

Dry makeup

When to toss: One year.
How to extend life: Buy eye shadows, blush, and powders in colors you’re more likely to use. This way, you’ll toss out an empty container and not a full one.

Foundations Generally
Check the ingredients: A water-based foundation will last up to 12 months, oil-based will last up to 18 months (although we recommend a change every season). You may find you need two different shades of foundation each year: One for summer when your skin is naturally darker and one for winter when you're lighter.

Extra tip: If your water-based foundation dries out before it's expiration date, simply add a few drops of alcohol-free toner and shake to mix it in. No need to do this to oil-based foundations. Because they contain oil, they will tend to separate. You have to shake anyway.

Nail Polish: Up to 12 months, depending on the quality and how many times you take it on a plane (the cap always unscrews on me during flights, leaving my purse a -- fume-y -- mess!).

Concealer: Up to 12 months.

Cream & gel cleansers: 1 year.

Pencil eye liner Should be sharpened regularly: Will last up to 3 years.

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