As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end — and the same is true for your makeup. While it’s tempting to hang onto your favorite discontinued beauty buys, all makeup has a shelf life. Whether it’s your much-loved mascara from eighth grade or even that limited edition nail polish from three summers ago, makeup is carefully designed to last for a predetermined amount of time before it starts to lose its effectiveness and begin growing bacteria once that time is up. This bacteria can result in infections, and no makeup product — no matter how beloved — is worth risking your health.
Keep reading for our handy makeup expiration guide.
Mascara should be replaced every three months since its liquid consistency makes it more vulnerable to bacteria and its proximity to your eye can lead to possible infections. To be safe, toss these regularly — especially if it’s starting to smell off in any way.
Liquid Liner Liquid eyeliners present the same concerns as mascara, so they should be replaced every six months. We recommend documenting when you picked up your beauty buy so you know when it’s time to let it go.
Eyeliner pencils, however, should last you up to two years. Sharpen your pencil with each use to keep it fresh and keep track of the cap for extra security.
For liquid foundations, 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 tossing yours every six months.
Because of the liquid consistency, lip gloss needs to be replaced more often than lipstick. Swap yours out every 12 months and even sooner if you see the formula start to separate and change.
As with liners, the longevity of concealers depends on consistency. Liquid concealer should be tossed after one year, but powder concealer is fine up to two years.
If you notice a change in color or a funky smell it’s time to part ways with your polish. In general, it should last you up to two years and some even have expiration dates on the back of the bottle. General separation is to be expected, though — just give it a good shake and you should be good to go.
Consider this beauty buy a long-term relationship — lipstick can last up to two years! Dispose of your lipstick if it becomes dry or changes hues.
Powder, Blush, Bronzer and Eyeshadow
With proper care — and clean brushes — powder-based products can last for a couple of years.