If you don’t know how old your makeup is or can’t remember when you last used it, it’s probably time to toss it.


Makeup products aren’t required to have an expiration date on their packaging, but they do have built-in expiration dates. The start of a new year is a good time for a makeup review and cleanout. Here some general guidelines on what to toss or keep.

Unopened vs. Opened Makeup
Unopened cosmetics can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature. The clock starts ticking once you open them. When air hits the formula, certain ingredients start to oxidize and degrade. What’s more, every time you touch your makeup you transfer germs to them, and subsequently to your face. Heat and humidity, which promote the growth of mold and yeast, are also factors and abundant in the bathroom, where most women keep their makeup.

Other Factors
When deciding whether to toss makeup products, look at the type (liquid vs solid), how it’s been stored, and whether you’ve had an eye infection over the last year.

Liquid Makeup Items

Mascara & Liquid Eye Liner
Every time you put the wand back into the tube, you’re letting in bacteria. These products have the shortest shelf-life. Replace every 3 to 4 months¬†

Things to Know

  • When your mascara starts to clump up, it’s time to throw it out and replace it.
  • Avoid pumping the wand into the tube. This pushes air into the tube, causing it to dry out faster. Instead, slowly draw out and twist the brush or liner to scrape the tube’s interior.
  • If your mascara starts to dry out before 90 days, never add water to rewet it. Doing so will only increase your changes of getting an eye infection.

Stored away from heat, liquid foundation can remain stable for up to a year.
Replace annually

Things to Know

  • Don’t dip your finger or brushes into the liquid foundation bottle. Doing so increases the odds of bacterial growth along with breakouts and irritation on your skin. Instead, apply with a brush or sponge and don’t double dip.
  • As foundation ages, oils rise to the top and the consistency thickens, causing it to go on unevenly, creating a streaky, inconsistent finish. Remember to shake the bottle before each use.

Dry (Powder) Makeup Items

Power-based products such as blush, eye shadows, powder foundation, pressed or loose powders, can be safely used for up to two years, unless you notice a funny odor or change in color.
Replace at 2 years.

Eye Shadow Note…
Keep your applicators clean. If you’ve had an eye infection, you’ll need to throw out all of the eye makeup, including liners and applicators, used from the time you developed symptoms.

Eye Liners, Brow and Lip Pencils

Pencil liners have a longer shelf life because you can create a fresh, clean surface each time you sharpen them. Just be sure to sanitize your sharpener with rubbing alcohol periodically. If it’s the mechanical variety, put rubbing alcohol on the newest tip to keep it sanitized.
Replace after 2 years.

Lipsticks & Lip Gloss

Lipsticks and lip gloss tend to last longer than other makeup items. That said, lipsticks can dry out with age and no longer look creamy on the lips. If your lip gloss starts to look goopy, that’s a sign it’s gone bad. Replace after a year.

Useful Tips

  • Purchase a thin tip Sharpie and write the purchase date on your items.
  • Toss anything you don’t actually use as you are unlikely to use it in the future. Besides, who knows how old it is!
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