Random Facts: Makeup Shelf Life

12:18:00 PM

While I was rummaging through my makeup loot, I realized that I own several makeup that I've had with me for almost a year now. (lost most of  my old makeup when our house turned to ashes last April 30, 2010)  And it came to me, "How long does makeup last?".  I know for a fact that makeup and cosmetics don't last forever. So, I did a little research and here's what I found.

Unfortunately, some makeup companies are not required to post expiration warnings on their labels.  According to The Cosmetics Products Safety Regulations of 1996, only products that won't last longer than 30 months need to show a use-by date, whereas all other products don't need one. So, you have to use your judgement and be informed of the guidelines recommended by experts.

Contaminated Makeup Can Cause Breakouts, Boils and Eye Infections. For health reasons, you should know when to throw them out.

Shelf Life below is based on "Period After Opening".

EYE Products 
Mascara: 3 - 6 months (should be used quickly once opened because they're easily contaminated by the pumping action of the brush)
Eyeliners or Eye pencils: 6 months
Cream Eye Shadow: 12-18 months
Powder Eye Shadow: 18 - 24 months (if never wet)

FACE Products
Liquid Foundation: 12 months
Cream or Compact Foundation: 18 months
Concealer: 12-18 months
Cream Blush: 12-18 months
Powder Blush and Bronzer: 2 years
Pressed or Loose Powder: 2 years

LIP Products
Lip gloss: 18-24 months
Lipstick: 2 years
Lip Liner: 2 years

Nail Polish - It won't go bad from bacteria. Eventually though, lacquer will dry out and become thick and clumpy, with the pigments settling along the bottom of the bottle. Shake it, and if the formula remains separated, get rid of it. 

Keep your Makeup brushes clean by wiping them on a dry paper towel or washcloth after every use, and giving them a thorough cleaning every two weeks with a gentle hair shampoo. The best way to store them is propped upright in a glass, where they can air out and won't be squashed and deformed.

Cheap makeup sponges should be replaced after two uses—one side, then the other. (The exception: "high-quality ones that come with a cleanser, such as the Beauty Blender, which clean out well.) Not only will old, porous sponges suck up too much makeup, but they are "little bacteria pits" if left sitting around.

Tips to remember:
Always store your makeup in a dry, cool and clean place and avoid exposing it to heat or sunlight.

Sharpen your eye and lip pencils regularly to remove the bacteria on the outer layers. And clean the sharpener regularly as well.

Wipe down your lipstick, or shave off the top of it with a blade especially if you have shared it with someone else. (as much as possible never ever share your makeup with others). Do not use lipstick and lipgloss if you have been sick or replace them if you have.

Clean and check your makeup bag or makeup storage regularly.

If you use powder foundation, scrape off the top layer occasionally.

Also, never use makeup if you have an eye infection. The bacteria can spread and fester and infect everything it touches.

Lastly, discard of any makeup that seems like it has changed color or smells funny.


I hope you all found this helpful. This is it for now.


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  1. thanks for this hollie ;) i think i need to throw some products away already :|

  2. makeup is a very expensive hobby..lol!:D

  3. Great that you posted this so girls will know when it's time to throw their makeup. I actually had a bad experience with mascaras. I used it even though it's already expired and I honestly thought I would go blind. :/

  4. I'm really really bad at keeping track of my makeup!:-/

  5. Really helpful post! Thanks Hollie :)

  6. @Hazel, me as well sis, I need to throw away a couple of mascaras.

    @Jamie, it's indeed very expensive...LOL

    @Char, thank you.

    @Michelle, you should label your makeup with dates when you first opened them. especially the mascaras.

    @Aya, you're welcome sis!

  7. This is an awesome post! Every chic should know when to say bu-bye to their good'ol makeups!

  8. @Ar-ar, thank you, I appreciate it!

  9. thanks for the tips! i am so makeup impaired i need all the help i can get!

  10. these are super helpful tips hollie! i actually keep makeup a bit longer than this though. :p but i tend to just collect them because they have pretty packaging LOL! xD

  11. @Amy b.s, Thank you and you're welcome. hahaha, I was just like you when I first started, then I watched tons and tons of Youtube videos from Beauty Gurus... that's how I learned.

    @Sugar sugar, thanks sis, I'm really glad that you found this helpful. I was amazed myself at how short makeups should last...hehe

  12. It's very difficult for me to let go of my makeup. I still have my old MAC shadows from high school lol.

  13. i feel so wasteful to toss anything away XD i put them in somewhere even tho i don't use them any longer (even if they expired)...just to feel better about it :)

  14. @Everyday Makeup, LOL I feel you, some of my friends, and even my mom does that too..haha

    @Jennifer, I totally get what you mean, I used to feel like that too but while I was doing my research I quickly changed my mind...hehe

  15. Wow! I love this post, I'm definitely gonna save this in my computer somewhere hehe. Thanks for the tips Hollie!:)

  16. @Tiffiefum, Thanks sis! glad to know this really helped you.


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Random Beauty by Hollie is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 International License.