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The Shelf Life Of Your Makeup

Although you may think makeup can last forever if kept closed tightly and stored in a cool, dry place, I've got news for you...negatory! Makeup does expire; as soon as a product is opened, bacteria begin to grow.

Since makeup companies are not required to post expiration warnings on their labels, you have to use your judgement and be informed of the guidelines recommended by experts. It can be difficult to keep your makeup out of the sun and heat but that is what kills the preservatives that help fight off nasty germs.

Also, never use makeup if you have an eye infection. The bacteria can spread and fester and infect everything it touches. Never, ever share your makeup with others. Lastly, discard of any makeup that seems like it has changed color or smells funny. Here is a consolidated list regarding the shelf life of cosmetics.

To see the expiration dates

  • The first thing to go is mascara which lasts three months.
  • Oil-Free Foundation: One Year
  • Cream Foundation: One Year
  • Concealer: 12-18 Months
  • Powder: 18 Months
  • Blush & Bronzer: 18 Months
  • Cream Blush: 12-18 Months
  • Eye shadow: 18 Months
  • Eyeliner: 18 Months
  • Liquid Eyeliner: Six Months
  • Lipstick/Lip Gloss: 18 Months
  • Lipliner: One Year
  • Nail Polish: One Year
  • Cosmetic makeup sponges should be washed after each use and thrown away after one month.
emg2114 emg2114 9 years
What a great reference. I actually just threw out all of my make-up *sigh* because I knew it was getting too old. The good thing is that it means I have a reason to go shopping!
rubiesymusica rubiesymusica 10 years
see that's why i buy makeup under 10 bucks- less buyer's remorse. will defintely use the sharpie method to label things from now on!
nati nati 10 years
great information!, thanx
nomerz nomerz 10 years
I am ADDICTED to MAC eyeshadow and some that I have are really old... :-/
truffle truffle 10 years
In Europe we have indicators on all sorts of makeup and beauty products which indicate the shelf life (a graphic of a little pot with a number inside) and you'll be pleased to know mascara always gets 6 months.
yayita yayita 10 years
we were just talking about this in our suites. I knew it couldnt be good to buy so much make upat one time :(
riotgeek riotgeek 10 years
I bought some Bobbi Brown liquid eyeliner nine months ago that I've used just once. I can't bear to part with something that's had one use and was so expensive. I guess that means I won't be buying name brand products much anymore.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i have a hard time believing some of these. if it still works, isn't clumpy, doesn't smell bad, etc. etc. i'm not throwing it away. i feel like i use a whole mascara in three months, though. by that time, it's running low and i have to replace it anyway, i think.
Tiinnaaaa Tiinnaaaa 10 years
mascara for 3 months? thts really short
LizaToad LizaToad 10 years
WOW... i have a LOT of stuff to get rid of! i have stuff laying around that i bought YEARS ago! YUCK!
mandyjean mandyjean 10 years
eww time for me to get rid of a lot of my stuff... thanks for letting me know.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
Mascara only 3 months!!!! I throw it away every six months. It gets expensive after a while!
missnomi missnomi 10 years
good to know, I always wondered
lifeloveandlattes lifeloveandlattes 10 years
Wow, I figured it had to expire at one point but I never really thought much about bacteria. Thanks for the heads-up.
robynlouise84 robynlouise84 10 years
I guess it pays to not purchase really expensive make-up! I would have a really hard time parting with my mascara after three months if I paid $29 for it.
swwonder swwonder 10 years
I think I've got a lot of stuff to throw away. :o
fashion_doll24 fashion_doll24 10 years
My god, apparently I'm guilty of being an expired make-up collector... Mascara only three months??? Who can use a whole mascara in three months, unless they put on ten layers everyday? I know what I'll be doing today: cleaning out my stuff! :(
colormesticky colormesticky 10 years
If you do share your makeup, use a metal spatula (or some silverware) to scrape some from the container into a dish. Artist's paint dishes work pretty well. I knew a person who just used AOL cd's that came in the mail.
atoxicsparkle atoxicsparkle 10 years
Hmmmm, is this a hint I need to stop buying stuff?? :P :rotfl: No, I seriously do. I wear make-up everyday, so keeping all the shadows I have just recently bought in use will not be a problem. It's just parting with them after a year that makes me sad (if there's still any left) Remember that post you did, Fab, about how a lot of make-up has that little symbol (like a can of tuna opening) on it with the number of months it is good for beside/inside it? I can't thank you enough for that post, it really helped me to clean out my collection and pay attention to the dates of all my make-up.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
ya i save everything, its terrible i know he thinks you're fine and stuff but does he know how to wind you up?
rolos85 rolos85 10 years
i'm so guilty of never throwing any of my makeup away...
rubialala rubialala 10 years
Jennifer76, I write the date I buy stuff with a Sharpie onto the container, or the side of the tube. Then I know when it's time to buy new stuff (and my husband can't argue that I "need" new makeup!).
sashak sashak 10 years
I really need to remember these things. I wear make-up so infrequently that it just kinda collects dust on the shelf. Altho...playing around on the Beauty Products Group hase totally made me want to start wearing it again!!
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
This is a great reference!! Now I just have to remember when I bought things... ;)
littlehippymomma littlehippymomma 10 years
just to add to this, also, don't use other's eye makeup. thats a great way to contract pink eye in both eyes! -well-fed hippy alien
When to Throw Makeup Away: Guidelines For Cosmetic Life Span
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