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When Does Your Makeup Expire?

When you buy a gallon of milk at the store, you have an expiration date to determine when you should replace it. But, what about your liquid foundation? There are no laws requiring cosmetics to have expiration dates, so you can’t refer to the label to determine if your makeup is still good. From the moment you open your tube of mascara or your bottle of foundation, the effectiveness of the product decreases. Not to mention, its ability to fight bacteria decreases. Makeup already contains bacteria when you first buy it, and every time you open or touch it, you add more. Ready to find out if you should be purging your makeup bag? I have compiled a list of makeup products, their shelf life, and ways to preserve them so that they will last a little longer.


Concealers can last up to a year if you keep the container tightly closed and stored in a cool, dark place. Otherwise, experts recommend that you replace your concealer every 6-8 months. FYI-if its consistency/color changes or it begins to smell, GET RID OF IT.


Liquid foundations are best used before 12 months. Cream foundations last a little longer; 18 months. If the foundation comes in a wide-mouthed jar, you may need to replace it sooner since more bacteria have the opportunity to enter it. Just as concealer, if it changes color or odor, it is time to replace. You can make your foundation last longer by storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Eye shadow/Blush

Admit it, you have eye shadow you have not used in years. Luckily, powder eye shadows and blush last from 2-3 years if stored in a cool area and away from sunlight. Sorry, you still need to throw away your blue eye shadow from Halloween 2005. Cream shadows/blushes should be disposed after 6-8 months. To minimize the bacteria in your makeup, use a clean brush or sponge to apply.


This is an important one. Never keep mascara longer than 6 months. If you have had any type of eye infection (ie. Pink eye), do not reuse it because you could re-infect yourself. If your mascara begins to dry out, do not add water or any other liquids to the tube. To get the most out of your mascara, do not pump the wand in and out of the tube to prevent air and bacteria from entering. As with other makeup, keep it tightly closed and store in a dark, cool place.


Loose or pressed powders can last up to 2 years if you keep the container tightly closed and store it away from direct heat or sunlight. Replace if odor or color changes.

Eye and Lip Liner

Eye and lip pencils can last up to 3 years with proper care. Sharpen the pencils once a week to prevent bacteria from being transferred to your lips or eyes. Some red flags to look for are if your liner becomes dry or crumbly, or if you notice a white coloring at the tip of the pencil. If you see either of these things, it is time to throw it out. Liquid liners should be treated like mascara and tossed after 6 months.


Like all the makeup I have mentioned, store lipsticks and lip glosses in a cool, dark place for them to last 1-2 years. Believe it or not, you can refrigerate your lipsticks/lip glosses for them to last up to 4 years!

Brushes and Sponges

Bacteria and oils love to get trapped in brushes and sponges. It is best to wash natural-bristled brushes once a month and synthetic brushes 3-4 times a month. You can use a brush cleaner, mild soap (like facial wash) or baby shampoo. After washing, lay brushes flat to dry so that the bristles do not break or lose shape. Brushes can last years with proper care. Sponges, on the other hand, should be washed weekly and tossed after a month or when the sponge begins to tear.

After reading this, you may need to throw out some of your makeup. But, use the tips and tricks to help preserve your makeup longer and save money in the future. With fresh makeup, your skin will be less likely to break out or dry out. Believe me, your skin will thank you for it.