You may not always get to put as much effort into your daily makeup routine as you would like, but even a lack of consistent makeup use isn’t enough to keep you from buying the gorgeous shade of lipstick you’ve been looking for when you find it, or a new eye shadow palette you’re excited to try. After all, when the moment comes and you have the time and the occasion to try a more intense makeup look, you want to be prepared with all the supplies.


What you may not know, however, is that makeup unfortunately can’t wait around for the moment when you are ready to use it. Makeup products, just like the foods we eat, have an expiration date. And while that date may not be printed on the products themselves like we see on our food containers, it is just as important to keep track of makeup’s shelf life in order to ensure not only proper appearance and application, but safe usage as well.


We have gathered recommendations regarding the lifespan of some of the most common makeup products. While it’s important for you to keep an eye out for hints that your makeup has gone bad, like discoloration or strange odor, these guidelines can give you a basic idea of what to expect. Now, you can get the most out of your beauty routine!

Mascara: 3 Months

Of all the makeup products, mascara has the shortest shelf life because the application brush can lock in any bacteria it comes into contact with from the moment it exits the mascara tube to the moment it goes back in. As a result, mascara can get contaminated, and this poses the risk of causing itchiness, redness, and even pink eye when you apply it to your lashes. You should aim to replace your mascara every three months, although if you feel you are experiencing irritation around your eyes as a result of mascara usage before that point, don’t take any chances and toss it out early.

Lipstick: 2 years

Lipstick can usually last up to two years, so this should be the average cutoff for any tube you have. However, you will know if it has spoiled before the two year mark if you start to sense a change in smell or notice that it has hardened to a point where applying the color evenly is difficult.

Eye Shadow: 6 Months

Eye shadow has a lifespan of about six months, which is a bit shorter than many other makeup products because, like mascara, the application of eye shadow can transfer germs back and forth from the eye to the shadow container, creating a high risk of contamination. This could in turn lead to redness and irritation in the eye if a shadow is used beyond its expiration.

Foundation and Concealer: 6-12 Months

With powder formulas, you can usually keep your foundation around for a couple of years. However when it comes to liquid foundation and concealer, the shelf life will be shorter. With liquid foundation, you will find oil-based and water-based. In the case of the latter, the foundation can be especially prone to the growth of bacteria. Using expired foundation poses the risk of irritation or breakouts, and you will generally want to keep your liquid foundation no longer than six months to one year.

Blush: 2 years

Blush follows the same rules as foundation and concealer. Powder blushes having the ability to outlive most makeup products with a lifespan of about two years, while liquid blushes having a shorter shelf life of about a year tops. Again, this is because liquid based formulas that contain water have the potential to promote bacterial growth and irritate your skin as a result.




Did you know that makeup can expire? Do you usually follow these general guidelines with your makeup? Tell us in the comments below or tweet me @tamarahoumi