The Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics

Cosmetics Shelf Life 1

Each time you put on make-up, you are applying chemicals to your face that can then go right into your bloodstream and impact the rest of your body. Things like mascara and eyeliner go onto your eyes, which are extremely sensitive to contaminants. You have to be specifically careful about adhering to the shelf life of your cosmetics for this reason. Each one has a little symbol on the bottom that tells you how long you can use it.


As mentioned, this is the item you have to be careful about because of eye infection. Think about how you apply your mascara: you take the want out, apply it your lashed, and then put it back in the tube to hang out. Any bacteria that it picked up in the air or on your eyelashes is now festering inside of that container. Lingering bacteria can cause redness, itchiness, heaviness, and even pinkeye if left along for too long.

Mascara can be expensive, so try to only open one bottle at a time and throw it away after 2-3 months. If you use mascara every day, you shouldn’t be keeping it much longer than that anyway. If you have a question about it, take a sniff. Mascara that smells like gasoline has gone bad and should be thrown away immediately. The same can be said of any mascara you used while you had an eye infection.


Foundation is a tricky one because there are so many different types of foundation. Most cream and liquid foundations are water-based, which means that it is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have unopened foundation, it can last for a few years. However, the second you open it, the days at ticking down. Keep foundation for no more than a year, but it could have a shelf life for as short as six months. Don’t put your foundation in the bathroom because warm temperatures can really impact it. Once again, if you notice that it smells funny OR that the color has changed, you want to get rid of it.

Applying old foundation can cause breakouts anyway.


Concealer is a tricky one as well because if you don’t use it all that often, they can last forever. However, concealer is easy to tell if it has gone bad because it will change colors. If you use powder or stick concealer, you can keep it up to two years. However, the more popular liquid concealer should be thrown away after a year of being open.

Face Powder

Powders should last the longest out of your make-up, surviving up to two years if stored properly. Don’t let it lay around your bathroom because it will get warm and cold and warm and cold and will probably go bad. However, try buying natural products and they won’t go as bad as quickly (which actually goes against what most people believe). Look for aloe, oat extract, and green tea, in particular.)


Since blush is a powder, the same thing applies here. However, cream blush is becoming more and more popular, so you should be careful with that. Throw cream blush away after a year. You can significantly shorten the life of your blush by using a dirty brush, however. This is especially true if you use wet brushes or you dip into your blush for something other than your cheeks. If you tend to see a film appearing on the top of your blushes (or highlighters), that is probably access oil that stuck around on top of the brush for too long.

Eye Shadow

Ready for some crazy news? You should replace your powder eye shadows every three months. Even though they still work and we know you have that quad palette from middle school, it is time to get rid of them. Since your brushes constantly touch your eye and then dip back in for more, there is bacteria in there like you’ve never seen before. Be sure to check for changes in texture or smell if you have a suspect color.


Eyeliner should also be replaced every three months, once again because they pick up so much bacteria on your eyes. If you use older eyeliner, you are extremely likely to get a nasty eye infection. Pencils have a longer shelf life than liquid if you sharpen them properly. Be on the lookout for a white film that will develop.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss

Most lipsticks and lip gloss don’t contain water, so they should be okay for up to a year. Remember that you are putting them on your mouth, however, so you want to check if everything is okay. If your lip gloss feels globby or your lipstick tastes weird, it is best to just throw it away. Lipstick that has gone bad will start to smell like your kitchen does after you’ve deep fried something

Nail Polish

Nail polish doesn’t really have an expiration date. It will dry out if you allow it to and it can go bad. If you let it sit, the nail lacquer will become either too thick or too thin and you won’t get a great coat. It will still be good to use but it won’t look good.


Cosmetics Shelf Life 2

Your makeup brushes are probably gross. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t wash our brushes properly. Good brushes can last for years if you clean them properly – meaning every two weeks (at least) with a gentle cleanser. You need to give them adequate time to dry as well. Keep them stored upright so that they can be surrounded by air.

Remember to throw away your beauty blender when it starts to stink.


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