Makeup Expiration Date

Did you know that your makeup has an expiration date?  Yep, it sure does!  Cosmetics aren’t required by law to have expiration dates printed on them so you can’t just look at the label to know when they’ve expired.  No wonder I still have eye shadows that I use to use back in high school! I know I’m not the only one holding on to makeup for longer then it’s shelf life.

Expired makeup may be full of more than just powder; they could be harboring dangerous bacteria.   Most makeup preservatives kill the common-use of makeup but there are still some bacteria in the makeup before we even open it.  Once you open your new makeup that’s when the breading ground begins.  Not to mention pumping your mascara is a HUGE NO-NO, don’t do it.  You’re just pushing in airborne bacteria into the tube.  This is why mascaras have the shortest shelf life.  Expiration dates are simply a “rules of thumb” and a product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if a product hasn’t been stored correctly.

So what should we do? That’s right ladies, let’s do some spring cleaning in our makeup cases as well as our closets this spring.   Also don’t keep makeup in your bathroom, keep it in a cool and dry place.

How do you know when to throw them out?

Common shelf life guidelines:
Smell it, does it smell funky or don’t recall when you purchased it?  Toss it!  Also NEVER share your makeup!  Especially your mascara, lip-gloss or lipsticks!
Cream Based- 6 months

Powder Based- 18 months

Mascara- 3 months

Lipstick- 12 months

Lip Gloss – 2 years

Applicators- 4 Weeks

Nail Polish – 1 year tops!

Brushes – wash weekly or after each use with soapy water

Mascara – Mascara should be replaced every three months, no matter how it smells. Never share your mascara with ANYONE! Repeat. NEVER SHARE YOUR MASCARA WITH ANYONE! People have gotten eye infections this way – it’s not pretty! Also, never “pump” your mascara – you’re just pumping air into the chamber, which dries it out faster.

Eye and Lip Pencils – Don’t share these either (actually its a good rule of thumb not to share makeup at all!) Keep up to three years – sharpen often and toss if they become smelly or crumbly.

Lipstick and gloss – Once again, no sharing! Will last up to two years but the “stay-on” formulas dry out quicker.

Powder cosmetics (like blush, eyeshadow) – Up to 18 months, but toss if its cakey, stinky or you can’t pick up color.

Foundation – This depends a lot on the product. If it’s water-based, toss after a year. Oil based, about a year. If it has SPF in it though, it has a shorter shelf life so no longer than a year. Once again toss if stinky.


  • Washing your hands before applying
  • Don’t share makeup
  • Don’t add water or saliva to dilute makeup
  • Keeping cosmetics in a dry area, away from direct heat or sunlight
  • Write an expiration date your makeup with a sharpie

If you’re still unsure about a product, here are some warning signs that will tell you if it has expired:

  • The product’s smell has changed
  • It has been exposed to prolonged heat
  • There is an obvious color or textural change
  • Mold is evident


3 Responses

  1. The style of writing is quite familiar to me. Did you write guest posts for other blogs?

  2. I just started using these great stickers to label my makeup and I love them! Then I don’t have to wonder when I started using a product etc. Beauty Alert! stickers are color coded and cute and really help keep my makeup case much tidier then it used to be. You can buy them online at

  3. lop gloss contains substances that comes from fish scales, i think that is the stuff that makes the gloss –

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