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How Bad Is Expired Makeup Really?

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    Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.

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    This time every year, we read the same story about how vital it is to spring-clean our makeup bags. If we don’t heed the warnings, we (allegedly) risk nasty breakouts and eye infections or, worse, skin parasites and loss of vision. It all seems a bit dramatic, no?

    When was the last time you got an infection from expired makeup? We’re not talking about mascara, blush, and shadow testers from the department-store counter, but those cosmetics from your own stash. Pink eye? Staph infection? Cold sore?

    Don't get us wrong: We know that using expired products is probably not the safest, healthiest habit. The thing is, we don’t know many people (minus Bob Costas) who have dealt with makeup-related health issues. So, what are the odds of it happening? It got us wondering: Just how bad are expired beauty products really?

    Before we start cleaning house and tossing away our beloved — if a bit old — makeup, we decided to ask the experts to give us the real deal on the matter. Here’s their advice on when to cut our cosmetics loose and just how risky it is to use them past their P.A.O., or period after opening.


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