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How Accurate Are Makeup Expiration Dates

How Accurate Are Makeup Expiration Dates?

No matter how much we love makeup, it doesn’t last forever. We've made the ultimate guide to show you how long your makeup sticks around.

Just how accurate are makeup expiration dates?

With retail locations closing up shop, we can turn to online shopping for all our makeup needs. But with some of the "stay at home" orders, we may not need to replenish our makeup stock for a bit - or as often - since there are fewer and fewer places and events to go show it off. And for those of you who hoarded makeup instead of toilet paper at the store - the truth is, you can’t actually keep your products forever. Makeup does go bad.

Yes, we know, you love them and worked hard to buy all those products, but old makeup can be super harmful. Old eyeliners, eyeshadows, and mascaras can cause horrible eye infections while old concealers, foundations, powders, and lipsticks can lead to skin infections, E. coli, or even a staph infection. We've got enough to deal with right now, old makeup doesn't need to add to it.

To avoid any unpleasant consequences, check out the list below to see just how long you can keep each makeup product (while paying attention to makeup expiration dates).


Mascara: 3 months

Did you know that out of all your makeup, mascara goes bad the fastest?

We all have a tube of mascara that we can’t live without. We’ve all tried to keep using it until it dries out, but we should replace it way more frequently. Why? Harmful bacteria breeds quickly in mascara, which can cause eye infections. Also, with every pump more air is filling the tube and drying it out. Generally, you should throw away your mascara around every 3 months. If you especially notice your mascara clumping badly or having a weird smell, do not use it - throw it out immediately!

Eyeliner: 6 to 12 months 

When it comes to eyeliners, there are two different kinds: a pencil or liquid pen.

If you regularly sharpen your pencil eyeliner between every use, you can actually use it until it is all gone! Every time you sharpen it, you are ridding the pencil of bacteria. Liquid eyeliners last about 6 to 12 months. Throw away your liquid eyeliner if it starts to clump, has a weird smell, or dries out.


Foundations: 8-12 months

Let’s all be honest — we’ve all tried to see how far we can keep our foundations alive. But, we're sorry to say that foundations can easily be contaminated by fingers, brushes, and sponges. Typically, foundations will last you about 8 months to a year. If you notice that your foundation is starting to split, grow mold, or smell funny, discontinue use and throw it away!


Concealers: 1-2 years

Typically, we don’t go through as much concealer as we do of our other makeup products. You can get a concealer in either powder, stick, or liquid. Powder and stick concealers last up to 2 years while liquid concealers last up to a year. The best way to know when to throw out any concealer is if the color has changed.


Eyeshadow: 1-3 years

You can find eyeshadow in many forms: pressed, cream, and liquid.

Pressed powder eyeshadows can last you up to 3 years. If you notice that it doesn’t apply as well, lost pigmentation, or is growing mold, throw the eyeshadow away immediately! Cream and liquid eyeshadows don’t last as long as pressed powder eyeshadows. They have a shelf life of about a year.

Powders: 3 years

Just like eyeshadows, powders like blush, bronzer, and face powder can last up to 3 years with the proper care. If you notice that the powders don’t apply as well or have lost pigment, it is time to toss them.

Lip Products: 6 months to 3 years

When it comes to your lip products, there is some good news and some less good news. If you are a lipstick hoarder, you're in luck: your lipstick can last up to 3 years. If it ever starts to smell or taste funny or strong then you need to throw it away. Lip glosses, on the other hand, generally have a shelf life of about 6 to 12 months. If the gloss starts to get extra tacky or sticky, then it is time to say goodbye.

How to Extend Shelf Life

There are a few things you can do to extend the shelf life of some of your makeup products.

  • Always wash your hands before and after applying makeup. This will help stop the spread of bacteria.
  • Wash your brushes and sponges after every use.
  • And the most important thing is to never share your makeup with anyone.

Now that you know how long you can keep your makeup, it’s time to start spring cleaning while you have all this extra time at home. Remember: regardless of how long you've had your makeup, if it causes any irritations or infections, discontinue use, throw it away, and contact your doctor immediately. Always be sure to check your makeup expiration dates, as well.


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