How Long Does Makeup Last? When to Toss, When to Keep

Have you ever looked in your makeup drawer or organizer, and noticed everything that you don’t use? Maybe you’re going through a Konmari process and getting rid of all things that don’t “spark joy.” We all have bottles of shades that just weren’t right, half-empty tubes and mysterious makeup that we don’t remember buying. Just like perishable food products, makeup has a limited shelf life. Like me, you’re probably guilty of hauling these likely bacteria-factories from home to home during a move, or throwing them at the bottom of the drawer to be dealt with at a later time. It’s rare to find “expires by/use by” dates on makeup, so it’s up to the consumer to make the right choice for when they want to get rid of their makeup. If you’ve never looked at the age of your beauty items, it’s time to start now! Keeping makeup past its typical shelf life can lead to bacteria growth, acne, and clumps, not to mention, when you toss the makeup, you get a chance to buy something new! Here are beauty experts’ best tips for the life of your makeup.

Foundation, Concealer: Have a foundation or concealor sticking around after 18 months? Toss it, especially if it’s oil-free, because these get dry quickly.

Eye Shadow, Mascara: The life of your eye shadow depends on what form it comes in. Liquid eye shadows are typically good for about 12 months, while powder shadows are good for two years. The key to extending their life properly is you need to use clean applicators when you apply the eye makeup. Eye makeup is the easiest to transfer bacteria into your eye, so if you come up with an eye infection, ditch the makeup so you don’t risk another infection. The same can be said for mascara, which has a very limited life of 3 months, or until it’s dry.

Eye Pencils: Eye pencils have the same life of powder eye shaodw, and can be kept for two years. Make sure you extend their life by always applying liner with a sharpened pencil tip.

Blush, powder, lipstick: If you have a cream blush, expect it to only be able to use it for a year. Lipstick and lip pencils are good for 2 years, but you should keep the pencils sharp for the best longevitiy.

When to Throw Out Makeup

Keep this list handy when cleaning out your makeup drawer so you make sure you’re making smart choices for your skin and eye health.

  • When’ve you had an eye infection, throw out any eye makeup you used around the time you developed symptoms
  • When the mascara is running dry or clumping consistently even before 90 days since opening
  • When makeup has changed color, developed a film, or doesn’t look right.
  • When it’s been contaminated with anything else in your purse, such as lotion, etc
  • When you observe fading or separation in the colors

Each time you buy a new makeup item, make a note on the packaging or schedule an alert on your calendar, phone, or other reminder method of the date it was opened, so you can throw it out at an appropriate time. Follow the guidelines to make sure you have a healthy makeup collection that makes you look beautiful, and doesn’t make you sick!

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