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Throwing out mascara, etc. - how careful are you?
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ginnielizz
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:31 pm      Reply with quote
I've always heard that you should throw out any mascara after three months, even if you've only used up a little bit of it. But I know I myself have NEVER been that careful - I think I have stuff from over a year ago! And I tend to keep multiple "copies" of all my makeup - one in my gym bag, one in my purse, one in my bathroom at home. So I don't go through any one that fast, so I wouldn't want to trash it that soon. But the older (and wiser) I get, the more I realize this is probably kind of dumb of me.

Anyone have any thoughts? How long can you get away with keeping which products? Anyone have tips for increasing shelf life (besides refrigeration, which I never remember to do anyway, haha)? Anyone have harrowing tales of scary infections from too-old makeup that might scare some sense into me? Just wondering what level of caution all the folks on this forum usually maintain. Thanks!

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violetanne
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:37 pm      Reply with quote
Mascara I never keep longer than a few months. You know if it goes bad-- sometimes it takes on a chemically smell. I would never buy expensive masacra since it's shelf life is so short. You don't want to take any chances with eye infections either.

I keep some stuff longer than I should. Eye makeup, face makeup-- a couple years. But since it's stuff I don't put right on my face (no built-in applicators), I figure it's ok. I don't keep lip stuff longer than a year. It can get gunky. I buy so much, anyway. If I kept it all i'd have mountains of lipgloss.
John C. Hill
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:48 pm      Reply with quote
You bring up a very good point here ginnielizz. You probably won't find many consumer cosmetics with a "shelf-life" time listed on them. Most good cosmetics are made by formulators who use "preservatives" in them to prevent microbial contamination whether it be molds, bacterial, fungus, etc. The preservatives they choose are specifically picked for the application, i.e. rinse off product, leave on color cosmetic, lotions, creams, etc. Different preservatives work better for different applications. The FDA, European agencies, Japanese agencies and the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA) have tested these over and over again for safety and efficacy, and have found no threat to human health.

There are a lot of preservatives available to cosmetic chemists and they do their job very well. Chances are you can keep a cosmetic for a long time before any growth can appear that might harm you.

With that being said, I would like to throw out a caution to anyone who falls for the "all natural" or "naturally preserved" cosmetics that are out there. Most, if not ALL effective preservatives are synthetics like the parabens (which have gotten a terrible amount of bad press for no good reason), benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sorbic and benzoic acid, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and a host of others. NO...and I repeat...NO so called natural preservative has ever been shown to be effective against microbial growth in cosmetic products. That includes all of the citrus derivatives that are out there. They just don't hack it. If you think your "natural" cosmetic with a "natural preservative" is safe, then you may be in for some nasty trouble. Also, "natural" cosmetics that use "no preservatives" is really a recipe for disaster! So, even though they sound "nice" and give you a "feel good" warm and fuzzy feeling, these products can also give you a hot and nasty case of microbial contamination very easily.

Just a word of caution....

John

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ginnielizz
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:01 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks for this post, John. I tend to go for natural/organic stuff, and I've always been a paraben-phobe as well as a phobe of many other preservatives! But, for makeup, I'm much more lenient than for stuff that goes directly on my skin (especially since I don't wear foundation or anything, mostly just mascara and a bit of eye shadow or liner). Mascara is the product I'm most concerned about, spoilage-wise, and I find that "natural" formulations irritate my sensitive eyes a lot less, so I'm torn! Any thoughts or input anyone has would be welcome, I'd like to learn to find my HG balance without getting a gross infection OR putting gross chemicals in my eyes!

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John C. Hill
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:11 pm      Reply with quote
ginnielizz, just to give you a feel for how badly misunderstood the world of cosmetic "chemicals" is, here is a story for you. The Cosmetic Chemist who is my mentor and teacher puts a little of EVERY cosmetic chemical that he uses into his own eyes to test for any irritation. Nine times out of ten (or more) he gets none. I've done that as well, although not with every chemical I use, because I already trust the safety and efficacy of most of them. John has never had any further eye problems or health problems, and he's getting up there in age now.

I call that proof positive that the "chemicals" that we use are NOT harmful and will not be a problem even if you stuck them directly into your eyes. Shoot, I even "tasted" a new batch of lipstick that I was making today based on glycerin just to make sure it will taste OK on the lips!

(Of course, this is NOT a recommendation to go sticking your cosmetics into your eyes because John told you to..... Wink )

John

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ginnielizz
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:16 pm      Reply with quote
Ha, well, that does reassure me somewhat - my mother always said that the studies they did about how artificial sweeteners are linked to cancer are probably bunk, because if they tried feeding sugar to lab animals in the same quantities as saccharine, who knows what they'd come down with! I think you both probably have a point, I'm just something of a knee-jerk hippie when it comes to these things. But I've actually had quite severe eye infections in the past, so perhaps I'll go back to a "natural" mascara that still has some strong preservatives in it, just to be safe!

Just curious, though - what do you think about tea tree and neem oils for antibacterial/antifungal purposes? I often use these ingredients in my own acne-fighting concoctions, and I'm curious if the more chemical-friendly end of the spectrum thinks they're at all effective.

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32, fair hair/eyes/skin, always a mix of dry/oily/sensitive/acne/clogged pores. But I keep getting compliments on my skin, so something must be working! Beauty blog at http://heliotro.pe; online dating coaching at http://theheartographer.com
John C. Hill
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:55 pm      Reply with quote
There is some evidence that Tea Tree Oil does have some anti-bac activity. I got interested in it after meeting with a supplier of the material. I formulated it into some lotions and gels and tried it, but wasn't to enthused about the results. I had hoped for stronger results but didn't see it. Perhaps if you used it straight (100%) it might be more effective.

John

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Winnie
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:28 pm      Reply with quote
I only use mascara for a few months and then purchase a new one. Most mascara gets too thick after a few months so I am forced to buy one (hate clumpy lashes). Occasionally I wear contacts. My eye doctor told me to discard my mascara frequently to avoid minor infections.
chorally
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Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:00 pm      Reply with quote
There would be a bad smell when the mascara has been used for a few months. That smell is so terrible that i could not use it any more.

Another point is the texture, it is too thick to apply after 2 months.

For other cosmetics like eye shadow, I keep them for years and still found no problem! Razz
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