Is Your Makeup Expired?

Did you know that makeup expires, just like food? Over a period of time, our makeup accumulates germs and bacteria from our hands, brushes, even the air. While powder products have a longer shelf life, you should be extra careful about keeping track of how long you’ve been using your liquid products. Using your makeup too long past their recommended shelf life can cause infections and break outs. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If you’re planning on cleaning out your makeup collection any time soon, keep in mind these makeup expiration dates while deciding what to throw away. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

makeup expiration dates

Liquid Foundation: While liquid foundation typically has a shelf life of about a year, if the foundation starts to separate (and oil is visible), I would advise against using it.

Cream Products: Cream foundations, blushes, highlights and eyeshadows will last you about one year before you should toss them.

Powder Products:Β Because of their dryness, powder products are good for up to two years.

Pencils: While twist-up pencils will be safe for eye and lip use for about a year, pencils that need to be sharpened can last you longer. Since you reveal a fresh, new layer of product every time you sharpen, you can usually use these until they are finished up.

Lipstick: Good news, your favorite lipstick will last you about two years!

Liquid Eyeliner: Because you’re coming in direct contact with your eye, and sometimes double dipping into a pot, liquid eyeliner should be used for no longer than six months to avoid eye infections.

Mascara: Mascara has the shortest shelf life out of all your makeup, determined to only be eye-safe for about 3 months. If your mascara starts to smell at all different from when you first purchased it, it’s time to toss!

Lipgloss:Β Since you’re applying lipgloss straight to your mouth with either a tube or doe-foot applicator (that you double dip), don’t exceed use for more than 18 months.

Quick tips to make sure your makeup doesn’t expire quickly:

  • Be sure that you’re washing your makeup brushes regularly to avoid cross contamination between products as well as keeping your skin clear. Spot clean brushes between uses using a brush sanitizing spray or wet wipe.
  • Makeup should always be stored at room temperature, away from the sun.
  • NEVER store your makeup in the bathroom. The humidity from showering will let bacteria thrive.
  • If you use your fingers to apply any product, make sure your hands are sanitized before directly touching your cosmetics.
  • Keep a note on your phone of the date you purchase quick-to-expire products like mascara and liquid eyeliner so you know when it’s time to buy a replacement.



  1. I hate hate throwing away my makeup because I feel I wasted my money, but I do follow it with mascara and eyeliners

  2. Thanks for the excellent tips this is a very important topic! I’m always paranoid about my mascara but I tend to forget about the other stuff.

  3. Great tips and a great post, Miranda! I am good about tossing mascara, but I have lipsticks and eye products that are years old. I have also heard that mineral (loose) makeup has a very very long shelf life.

  4. I’m always very adamant about tossing my mascara but most other things I go by smell / look. I toss eyeliner when I think it’s bad. I don’t ever toss eyeshadow (I can always use alcohol to disinfect).

    1. I’ve always wondered about disinfecting with alcohol. Do you just use normal 70% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle?

  5. I’m bad and I don’t follow the rules. I toss my mascara regularly and I know liquid eyeliner doesn’t last for a long time. But other things I wait until they’ve changed texture or shape.

  6. I am a subscriber of yours and love your posts. I would be so honored if you would take the time to check out/subscribe to my new beauty blog at and give me some feedback and any advice you may have for me!

  7. This is exactly why I hate buying lipsticks. I want a gazillion colors, then I don’t wear them and I have to throw them out! πŸ˜€

    1. I’ve heard of people spraying their lipstick with alcohol to keep them sanitary for longer… although I think after a few years they will dry up anyway!

  8. Great post! I keep my lipsticks in the fridge and I think that helps they last a little bit longer too. Well, maybe. Ever since getting an eye infection I’m super-vigilant about replacing my mascara regularly though.

      1. Nope! I think if you put it in the freezer it would probably get hard and crumble, but in a normal fridge it’s fine. Some drier formulas (i.e. mattes) might have to be warmed up in your hands for a moment before application so they don’t go on unevenly.

  9. Super helpful! I just made an excel spreadsheet with all of my makeup, when I bought it, and when it will expire. I know, I’m a bit crazy!

  10. Such a helpful post! I will be sorting out my makeup drawer as soon as I get home!

    Josie xoxo

    Fashion Mumblr

  11. I love your blog! This is a great post but do you have any idea when other beauty products like eye cream, night cream, moisturizer, oil, masks, etc expire?

    1. Great question, Jen! It really depends. Any sunscreens or acne creams will have an expiration date listed on the bottle, as per US law. In Europe, all cosmetics have a use-by date printed on the packaging. Check the bottom of your skin care products to see if there are dates printed. Otherwise, tubes and bottles of moisturizers, eye & night creams should last up to 18 months. If the product has antioxidants, it will last up to 9 months. Any organic skin care products will only last you from 4-6 months. Remember that skin care products will last longer if you buy them in an opaque tube or bottle. If any come in a jar, use a spoon or spatula instead of your fingers to get the product out. If any of your products change the way they smell or feel, it’s time to throw them out! In my personal experience, oils can last you up to a year. Thanks so much for stopping by!! xx

      1. I have noticed that some products do have an expiration date but a lot don’t so thanks for the info. I think I might create an Excel spreadsheet like Margo πŸ™‚

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