Have you ever kept something way beyond its expiration date thinking that you’re going to use it or that it won’t go bad?  That tube of lipstick that you’ve kept for 4 years because you know you’re eventually going to wear it?  Us too, we are completely guilty.

It seems harmless but makeup does have a shelf life and can harbor some nasty bacteria if not cared for properly. Bacteria is always on your skin, and it is necessary to keep the delicate ecosystem of your skin in balance.  But, it isn’t the best for your makeup products.

Here is a quick guide to how long some of your favorite makeup products last with normal use and proper storage.


3 months

Every time you place the mascara wand back into the tube, you’re introducing bacteria to the formula.   But there are a few things that will help extend the life.

  • Don’t pump the wand, it pushes air into the tube, causing the mascara to dry out. Instead, draw it out and twist against the tube’s interior to pick up product.
  • Store in a room that keeps a steady temperature. Bathrooms aren’t the best since the temp and humidity fluctuate with bathing.
  • A good rule of thumb is to change mascara with the seasons.



Liquid – 3 months

Pencil – Up to 3 years

Liquid eyeliners have the same issues as mascaras.  Pencil eyeliners last longer because as you sharpen them you remove bacteria that you pick up from use and they are a solid, whereas liquids tend to be a more hospitable home for bacteria.



12 to 18 months

Water-based foundation will last up to 12 months.  Oil-based foundation may last up to 18 months, oil is a natural preservative.

Once again you have a liquid formula.  You want to keep your fingers out of the bottle as well. Apply with a brush or blender, don’t double dip and clean the applicator often.  Plus, a brush or blender gives a flawless application



12 months for lip gloss

12 to 18 for lipstick

As tempting as it is to keep an extra tube of lipstick in the car you’ll want to avoid it.  The temperature swings dramatically shorten the life and it’s prone to melting in the heat of the summer.



18 to 24 months

Powdered makeup does indeed expire. Powder products don’t contain water, so they are not as welcoming to bacteria but you transfer the bacteria and oils that are on your skin to the product from your applicator.


24 months

Tap loose powder into the lid and apply from there. This keeps oils out of the product and extends the life.

Never introduce water to your loose powder! If you’re using a loose powder as eyeliner dispense a little into a dish and add the water from there.  Adding water is a sure way to encourage bacteria and shorten the life of your makeup.


If your make up begins to smell or change consistency that is a sure sign that it has gone bad and you want to toss it. You always want to make sure you’re storing your makeup properly, too.  Cool, dry spots are the best.  Bacteria loves warmth and moisture.

You always want to make sure that you’re applying your makeup with clean brushes and clean hands.  Brushes should be cleaned once a week.  Proper storage will do nothing if you’re introducing bacteria through your hands and brushes.

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