Caring For Your Eye Makeup

When you think of the most hazardous items in your home, a multitude of things spring to mind: electric cables, cleaning products, gas stoves… But what most of us don’t realise is that some of the harmful items are potentially living in your makeup bag.

The majority of women out there can raise their hands and say there is at least one item in there, buried away, that rarely sees the light of day but is kept for those few occasions that such a look is required – whether it’s that blue mascara for the 80’s themed evenings or the coloured eye pencil they love but hardly dare to wear. However, what a lot of us don’t consider, is that those little tubes and pots all have expiry dates which, once opened, start decreasing rapidly.


Whilst we all know the potential dangers of sharing eyeliners and mascaras with others (cold-sores and pink-eye, anyone?) we’re far less informed about the risks associated with continued use of old products. Once the seal is broken on any cosmetics including your beloved eye makeup products, bacteria starts to build. It is this bacteria that could be damaging your health, even your vision.  Additionally, the region around the eye is seven times thinner and therefore at a greater risk of being damaged easily. This damage can present itself in the form of infections, unnecessary breakouts and rashes around the eye which can also affects the self-esteem and general well-being of the individual.

The general rule of thumb for all types of cosmetics including eye makeup is: If you can’t remember when you last used it, then it belongs in the bin.  Adhering to this mantra means that not only can you drastically decrease the risk of harmful bacteria spreading, but also save a vast amount of money on trying to repair the damage it can cause.


Here is an easy guide to the proper shelf life of cosmetics and the ultimate storage techniques to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money and your makeup

REMEMBER **The more liquid the product, the shorter the lifespan**

  • Always store eye makeup like mascara, eye shadow and other cosmetics  in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight
  • Make sure all caps and lids are tightly in place after every use.
  • Regular cleanse and care for all brushes and sponges that you are using in your makeup kit. Since they are interacting with the eye, leaving them dirty is like exposing the eye to a series of bacterial infections.
  • Never pump your mascara, not only does it dry it out quicker but you could be pushing more bacteria in.
  • If you’ve had an eye infection, throw away all makeup that has been used from the time you started developing symptoms.  As for the brushes, you can simply clean and reuse them.
  • Like food, if your eye makeup changes colour or develops an unusual smell, it’s time to get rid of it.

Here is a brief preview of shelf-life guidelines for some of the commonly used eye makeup products:

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Mascara – 3 months.  It has the shortest lifespan of all makeup since the risk of transferring bacteria from your eye to the tube and back is greatest – usually around the time it starts to dry out is the time it needs to go

Eye shadows – 12 – 24 months.  Depending on whether it’s a cream or powder.  Since creams last less time keep an eye on when they were opened

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Eyeliner – 2 years.  Good news since these often last years because they run down slowest – however be sure to sharpen slightly before every use to ensure a clean tip

Foundations/Concealers – 12 months.  If it’s a tinted moisturiser or BB Cream it can last a little over 12 months, but generally 1 year is the safe zone for these products

Blushers/Powders – 12-24 months.  As with eye shadows, cream blushers last the least amount of time – but with powder based ones anything less than 24 months is OK

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Hannah Lisa, Hair and Makeup Artist Dubai


Q n A with Hannah Lisa:

  • I really want to experiment with different coloured eyeliners but I’m worried it won’t look right – can you recommend a good one to start with and how to apply it so it doesn’t look silly

Urban Decay do some great coloured eyeliners in beautiful colours! They’re called 24/7 glide-on eye pencils. Take note of your eye colour and also what you’re wearing. Blue eyes look gorgeous with blues, browns and golds and so on. Just add a touch of colour along the lash line and keep the rest of your makeup simple.

  • I drink plenty of water and make sure I get 8 hours sleep every night, but I still have dark circles under my eyes.  Can you recommend a good concealer to cover them up without it looking ‘caked’?


Try Makeup Forever’s camouflage cream concealer. It goes on really smooth. It works well to cover dark circles yet has enough moisture to keep your skin looking fresh and not cakey. Use a tiny bit of translucent powder to set it for that flawless look. This also prevents creasing!  You can also use an orange colour corrector under your eyes prior to foundation/concealer. Orange will cancel out the ashy, grey tones in dark circles making your eyes look nice and bright.

  • I’m going on holiday and really want to enhance my natural looks for the evenings without wearing loads of makeup – can you suggest some products that will be light and fun for the hot evenings?


A nice tinted moisturiser is perfect for holiday skin! I love Estée Lauder’s daywear plus tinted moisturiser, it gives lots of moisture, and gives a gorgeous glow. Keep your eyes simple and add a pop of colour to your lips, a bright pink or red will always work with sun-kissed skin. Try NARS semi-matte lipsticks for bright, long lasting colour.

Who is Hannah Lisa?

Currently based in Dubai,Hannah has worked with many celebrities, royal and presidential clients from across the globe. Originally from London, she trained at the London College of Fashion and gained experience by working on several projects. Her list of clientele includes work done for magazines like OK, Hello Middle East, Emirates Woman, Cosmopolitan Middle East and a lot more. She has worked for some of the major brands like Versace, Bourjois, Sephora, Cavalli, Wojooh and several models, TV personalities as well as other celebs.