Beauty Product Shelf Life: When to Toss Out Expired Makeup


Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question about your beauty habits. When was the last time you cleaned out your makeup stash? If it’s been longer than six months, heaven forbid more than a year, then it’s probably a good time to browse your beauty vanity and toss out expired makeup products.

Cosmetic products can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. This puts your skin at risk for irritation, eye and lip infections. Follow this handy guide to help you determine your beauty product shelf life so you know when to toss your cosmetics.


makeup shelf life

Mascara has a shelf life on average of three months. Some brands stamp a sell-by date or expiration date and some do not, so be sure to keep up with the day you purchased and toss after three months. To minimize eye infections, never pump the wand. This allows more air to get into the tube, providing a breeding ground for germs. Never try to revitalize dry mascara with eye drops, water, alcohol, glycerin or spit.


lipstick shelf life 

Lipstick has a shelf life of two years. A change in smell is a surefire way to know that your lipstick is expired. Before the shelf life runs out, keep your lipstick up-to-date by dipping it in alcohol to keep it clean and sanitized.

Lip Liner

lip liner shelf life

Lip liners have a very long shelf life because they can be sharpened, thus removing the outside. So basically, you can use your lip liners for up to two years before they become expired makeup, or until you’ve sharpened them all the way down–whichever comes first.

Eye Shadow

eye shadow shelf life

Eye shadows are one of those makeup products that vary. Tossing out this expired makeup is dependent on the type of eye shadow used. Cream eye shadows only have a shelf life of six months, especially if you double dip and/or use a dirty brush. Powders last longer, at an average of two years or more.


eyeliner shelf life

When it comes to expired makeup, cream or gel liners last six months for the same reasons as cream eye shadows. Pencil eyeliners that can be sharpened last one to two years, in the same vein as lip liners.


foundation shelf life

Powder foundation lasts roughly two years and liquid foundation shelf lives vary. Liquid foundations that come with a pump can last as long as a powder foundation, but most likely, you will finish it before the two year mark. Liquid foundations that do not come with a pump have a shorter shelf life of six to eight months. Liquid foundation that has a change in color, consistency or smell should be thrown away as it is now expired makeup.

Powder, Bronzer and Blush

powder bronzer blush shelf life

Powders, bronzers and blushes have a shelf life of two years if powder based and six months if cream based. If you are not dealing with expired makeup and it’s not time to dispose of your beauty products, here are some other tips to consider for a safer, more beautiful you:

  • Never share makeup with friends or family
  • Always apply makeup using clean brushes and applicators
  • Sterilize lipsticks after use by dipping in alcohol
  • Keep a spreadsheet with an inventory of the products and dates of purchase to properly keep track of expired makeup
  • Products that have changed consistency, color, formula or smell need to be disposed of, no matter how long you’ve had them


1 reply on “Beauty Product Shelf Life: When to Toss Out Expired Makeup”

I seems like you are talking about OPEN life, which is not the same as shelf life. Shelf life is how long it can be on the shelf in stores (or unopened after purchase) from the date of manufacture (determined in many cases by the batch code).

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