Makeup – When Is It Time To Say Goodbye?

How many times have you wondered “is this lipstick too old?”, “is this foundation any good any more?”  You’re not alone!  If you’re like most women, you have a drawer (or 2 or 3) chock full of makeup that has somehow multiplied over time.



Make up, like most products, has a shelf life. Unfortunately you likely won’t find an actual expiration date on the product itself. Keep in mind that since makeup is always in contact with germ-prone areas like your eyes, mouth and fingers… contamination can occur that could lead to breakouts or infections.

Here are some general rules of thumb:

Cleansers and Moisturizers – 6 months – These products often contain fatty acids which can actual turn rancid.

Foundation – 6 to 12 months – Consistency starts to suffer after time.  You’ll get closer to a year of life if you use a foundation sponge/applicator instead of your fingers.

Blush – 18 to 24 months – Typically a powder blush will last a bit longer than a cream blush.

Mascara – 3 months – Eyes are very sensitive and you don’t want to risk developing any infections, and much longer than 3 months it tends to get cakey anyhow.

Eye Shadow – 3 months – Bacteria can develop through exposure and re-use. A way to extend that a little bit is to consider using disposable shadow applicators.

Eye, Lip and Brow Pencils – 12 to 24 months – Less of a chance of breakdown of the ingredients in these products, but take care to keep lip pencils for lips, eye pencils for eyes….avoid multi use of the one pencil as that greatly increases the chance for infections. And sharpen regularly for best health and performance.

Brushes – 12 months – Washing in mild soap, shampoo or detergent every 2-3 months is an essential measure to extend life. Brushes will naturally break down and start to “shed” in time.

Lipstick – 12 to 18 months – Their constant interaction with the mouth increases chances of bacteria and germs. Wiping after each use helps. There are oils in all lipsticks that over time can start to smell…..use the sniff test and if in doubt, throw it out.

Nail Polish – 12 months – You’ll actually see the darker colored polishes start to separate after awhile.

Here’s a tip to help eliminate the guess work down the road… soon as you bring home newly purchased makeup, take a Sharpie and write the date on it!

Also, your makeup will be happier if you keep it outside the humid environment of the bathroom.  Keeping lids tightly on each item is a life extender too.