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Does Makeup Expire? How to Know When to Throw Away Makeup


Jul 22, 2022
Raise your hand if you’ve ever kept a lipstick in your makeup bag for a lot longer than you probably should have? Don’t worry — you’re not alone! Makeup products don’t always come with a clear, easy-to-read expiration date, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a cutoff date. Cosmetics can accumulate bacteria over time, which can be bad news for your skin — and we don’t want that.

Makeup expiration dates rely on the first day you use them, not the purchase date. Usually, makeup products include a small symbol typically resembling a jar with a number/letter on the inside referring to the product’s shelf-life. However, these symbols are often scratched off with wear or can be hard to read, so to make things easier, we created a full makeup expiration chart that you can easily follow.

Follow the tips below to keep track of expired makeup and know when it’s time to refresh your makeup bag.

Product Recommended Time for Period after Opening
Primer 1 year
Foundation 1 year
Concealer 1 year
Eyeshadow 1 year
Eyeliner 1 year
Mascara 3 to 6 months
Lip Products 1 year
Powder Products 2 years

Period after opening: 1 year.

Can’t remember when you opened that foundation that’s been sitting in your makeup drawer for ages? Chances are, it’s time to throw it out. Foundation and concealer — typically in liquid form — last about a year once opened before they can start to grow bacteria. You also might see the formula begin to crack and separate, which means it’s time to let it go. Powder foundation and solid concealer can take a bit longer to accumulate bacteria than their liquid counterparts, so they’ll last a bit longer.

Period after opening: 1 year.

Opened eyeliner pencils and eyeshadow can last much longer than their liquid counterparts. Since solid and powder makeup take longer to build up bacteria, you don’t have to worry about it drying out. However, if you’re a big fan of colored eye makeup, you might want to toss it a bit sooner than your neutrals. Brightly hued cosmetics change in color over time and will likely last less than a year once opened. When you notice your purple eyeshadow or green eyeliner fading, it’s time to replace it.

Period after opening: 3-6 months.

A few months after it’s opened, mascara will start to dry out. Like other liquid makeup, it can accumulate bacteria, which can lead to potential irritation and infection. If you have sensitive eyes, we recommend switching out your mascara every three months. However, if your mascara still glides on smoothly and doesn’t irritate your eyes, it can last you up to six months. The same holds true for liquid eyeliner — it can accumulate bacteria quickly and should be tossed out around the same time as mascara.

Period after opening: 1 year.

Many lipsticks not only stay on all day, but they also have a long period after opening. You can keep opened lipsticks for up to 2 years, and then toss them, as they can start to grow bacteria that can cause skin irritation. Once again, your liquid lipsticks will have a shorter lifespan once opened (probably 1 year max), as the liquid formula will crack and dry out.