Is It Time to Toss It?! The Ultimate Guide to Expiration Dates on Makeup

Expiration dates are one of the biggest shockers when it comes to makeup because you know we all don’t toss it when we should. Even though we may not want to part with our beloved products, the sad reality is that once something is expired, it needs to go. If not, it could pose a health risk. 


Why should you toss your products that are past their expiration date? The biggest answer is bacteria growth. But, these products can also change in texture and smell after a period of time. 

Creamy, liquidy products tend to not last as long because of the water content in them. Any product that contains water is more likely to grow bacteria. 

Products that come into contact with any “mucus membrane” (watery parts of your face like the inside of your nose, your waterline in your eyes and the saliva from your lips) should especially be tossed once expired. Same idea as liquids, because they are coming into contact with a mucus membrane, then are being exposed to bacteria. 

With powder products, they have a longer shelf time but can be exposed to bacteria from the sweat and oils from our skin. Have you ever noticed a powder pan that gets this film on it and kind of hardens up? That’s from the oils on your skin.

Pro Tip: To help make your products last, make sure you scrape and wipe off products after use. This meaning, your eyeliners can be wiped off, lightly wiping powder products when necessary and also not using products straight from the container when you don’t have to. For example, if you use gel eyeliner or a pot primer, shadow, concealer etc. use the back of your brush to scrape some onto your hand. This way you aren’t giving the product direct contact with your mucus membrane or oils and dirt on the skin. I personally love working from the back of my hand because the warmth of my skin makes the product extra creamy and easy to work with.

You can and should clean any tools you use like lash curlers etc. with either soap and water or 70% isopropyl alcohol. You can spray powder and cream products with 70% isopropyl alcohol as well. You also want to be sure to clean your brushes often! This will also help your products shelf life and the spread of bacteria. 

So how long do products last?

In this blog post I will be giving you the general rule of thumb on how long your products last before they expire. As an artist, I would say you can make an exception depending on how well you keep the product sanitary and wash your brushes, tools etc. that come into contact as well. Your products also either have an expiration date on the bottom of them or they have a little symbol on the packaging that tells you how many months the product lasts after opening before it expires. 

3-6 Months

These are the products that come in direct contact with your eyes; your mascara and eyeliners. Mascara especially, if you are using this on a frequent basis, it will dry up in at least 3 months anyways so this shouldn’t be too much of a shock. Your eyeliners you can make last longer if you are wiping and scraping like we talked about earlier. But even with that, I wouldn’t push it too far. 

12-18 Months

These are your liquids and creams. Cream contour, cream blushes, foundations, concealers etc. These shouldn’t go past more than a year and a half. But, once you put it into perspective, a foundation, BB cream, concealer etc. that you use on a daily to regular basis, shouldn’t last you more than a year anyways. I purchased a new BB cream a couple of months ago that I have been religiously wearing to work and I’m about halfway through with it already. So when you space it out, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic. 

I will also add that those cream bronzers, blushes etc. can last longer if once again, we are wiping and scraping! Also spraying with 70% isopropyl alcohol. 

24 Months

These are our powder products. These can last you up to two years, but after that it’s time to go. I will add that for face products, if they are used regularly by the time two years is up, they should be ready to go anyway. They will look used and abused! 

Once again, if you spray with isopropyl alcohol, clean those tools and brushes and wipe as needed, you can make these products last a little longer. 

36 Months+ 

The only thing that should be lasting you over 3 years is your tools and brushes. After 3 years anything will definitely have some wear and tear on it unless you literally never use it. Your makeup drawer is definitely ready for a revamp every three years.

The good news is, when you are ready for a makeup drawer revamp, you can come chat with me about doing a Makeup Bag Makeover Lesson! In this class, you learn what products you can purchase that will be great for you and your needs plus how to apply them. It is a completely tailored look to you and your lifestyle. 

In this class, we also go over expiration dates and what products need to be tossed and replaced. If this is something that interests you, contact me at to set up a one-on-one call to learn more information! The best part about this is, it’s all virtual! So, literally anyone from anywhere can take a class with me. 

If I could give anymore advice on expirations dates it would be not to over buy! I think sometimes the biggest shocker with having to throw products out is we have so many of one product that doesn’t get used on the daily and sits there for a long period of time. So when it comes time to part ways with it you really don’t feel like you’ve used enough of it to justify that. 

For example, I am a major blush lover. I have at least 20 blushes in my collection of all different colors between cream and powder. Considering I have so much, they don’t get used on a daily basis. So my long story short is, try and not buy too much of one thing if you aren’t going to use it up in a lengthy period of time. This will save you money and ensure you aren’t risking your own safety by using an expired product. 

Another great tip is to purchase palettes instead of individuals. That way you can have a variety of colors that get used often because you always have them with you in one place. 

So now I want to know from you, when was the last time you did a makeup drawer purge?! How old is your oldest product? Just writing this blog post makes me want to go and purge my drawer. 

I hope this blog post was super informative on a topic you don’t hear discussed too frequently. These kinds of things are super important and shouldn’t be overlooked! 



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