Your Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates

September 29, 2020 logo
By: | by L'Oréal
Here Is Your Ultimate Guide To Makeup Expiration Dates

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end — and this includes your makeup. While it’s tempting to want to hang onto your favorite beauty buys until the very last drop, all products have a shelf life

Whether it’s your favorite mascara or a limited-edition nail polish, makeup is designed to last for a predetermined amount of time before it can start to lose efficacy and become a breeding ground for bacteria. To keep your makeup routine fresh and to avoid potential infections and irritation, keep reading for our handy guide to makeup expiration dates


Mascara should be replaced every three months because its liquid consistency and exposure to the air during use makes it more vulnerable to bacteria. If it does get contaminated, it could lead to eye infections and irritation. To be safe, replace your mascara every three months. 

Shop our editors’ favorite mascaras. 

Liquid Eyeliner 

Liquid eyeliners present the same concerns as mascara, so they should be replaced every three to six months. Eyeliner pencils, however, should last you up to two years. Sharpen your pencil with each use to keep it fresh. 


For liquid foundations, it’s time to say goodbye if you notice any change in smell, texture or color. Most foundations should last you up to a year, but if you’re prone to acne, think about replacing yours every six months. 

Lip Gloss 

Because of the liquid consistency, lip gloss needs to be replaced more often than lipstick. Swap yours out every 12 months, or even sooner if you see the formula start to separate or change. 

Find the best new lip gloss formulas here. 


The longevity of concealer depends on the consistency. Liquid concealers should be tossed after one year, but powder concealers are typically safe to use for up to two years. 

For more concealer types, consult our guide. 

Nail Polish 

If you notice a change in color or a funky smell, it’s time to part ways with your polish. In general, nail polish should last you up to two years — some even have expiration dates on the back of the bottle. General separation is to be expected, though. Give the bottle a good shake and you should be good to go. 


Consider this beauty buy a long-term investment — lipstick can last up to two years. Dispose of your lipstick if it becomes dry or changes color.

Powder, Blush, Bronzer and Eyeshadow 

With proper care — and with use of clean brushes — powder-based products can last for up to two years.
Photos (from top): Chaunte Vaughn; Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy

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