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Yes, Your Makeup Has an Expiration Date

April 29, 2021


Erin Schrader

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and spring cleaning is in full effect! While we fully support the deep cleaning being done around the house, we’re popping in here today to remind you to clean out your beauty drawers and makeup bag too! Fun Fact: did you know cosmetic products have expiration dates? I was today years old when I learned that one. Not only is it probably time to pitch a few products, but your brushes and tools might need a little attention too. Today we’re covering all the in’s and out’s of a beauty drawer clean-out.

Cosmetics & Skincare

We already covered the fact that your makeup does indeed have an expiration date. So how long is said shelf life and is it really all that important? The main concern when it comes to “expired” makeup is bacteria buildup. If you have sensitive skin, it can cause irritation, breakouts, and even styes. And take it from me– styes are no joke. Been there, done that. Insert makeup bag clean-out. Besides the obvious concern of bacteria, products like liquid foundation can oxidize over time [ie. it turn a few shades darker after several hours of wear– also been there, done that]. In order to avoid these totally avoidable makeup mishaps, here’s a general guide:

  • Expiration Dates [all products]: All beauty products should have a built-in expiration date. Look for a small symbol [typically located on the back or bottom of bottle] that is shaped like a jar with letter/number on the inside, ex. 12M. This means the product is good to go for up to 12 months after opening. That’s right, friends! If you haven’t opened it yet, don’t panic. You’re all set.
  • Liquid Foundation: Replace after 6-12 months. Some product may last longer, just keep an eye out for the symbol on the bottle. A funky scent, texture, or separation is pretty obvious sign it’s time to pitch the product. If expired, it can lead to breakouts, skin irritation, and oxidize over time. No thanks!
  • Blush + Powder: Can last up to 2 years. As long as you clean your brushes [keep reading, we’ll touch on this later!] most powders will keep for 18 months to 2 years. Of course, if you notice a funny smell or color- it’s time to toss.
  • Eyeliner + Mascara: 3-4 months. These little guys have the shortest shelf life. With the constant re-dipping and close proximity to your eyes, it’s best to replace your eye makeup frequently. Do yourself a favor in order to avoid eye infections. ps. Don’t share your eye makeup! Friends don’t let friends cross contaminate their germs.
  • Lipstick + Gloss: 1 year. Coming from someone who doesn’t wear lipstick frequently and certainly doesn’t go through an entire stick per year, this is a heartbreaker. The tell-tale sign of an old lip product is texture change. If your go-to lip color becomes dry or goopy, replace it.
  • Perfume + Fragrance: 3-5 years [but sometimes up to 10!]. Yep, you read that right. Your perfume is probably the longest lasting item in your collection of beauty products. So while they’re typically a higher priced item, a little bit goes a long way and you can rest assured knowing they’ll last a longgggg time.
  • Nail Polish: 1-2 years. Yes, my polish collection is years old. And yes, I’ll be parting ways with the majority of it very soon. Sad day, friends. If you’ve ever attempted to paint your nails and the polish was gooey or stringy, you’ve used expired polish. As sad as it is to toss it, gooey polish doesn’t do anyone any favors. Sayonara!

Time to toss? These are our favorite replacements:

Brushes & Tools

While cosmetic products house bacteria, brushes and tools transport it all. So if you’re already considering replacing some of your product, it’s most likely time to do the same with your brushes. Or at the very least, clean those suckers! Did you know some dermatologists recommend washing your brushes every 7-10 days? Yikes. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow when it comes to brushes and tools:

  • Makeup Brush Maintenance: So you’re not cleaning your brushes weekly? Don’t panic. Neither am I. You can get away with several months at a time, but if you’re looking for a sign to FINALLY wash ’em– this is it. You should consider replacing your makeup brushes after about 3 months. Product buildup = bacteria buildup. If you’re cleaning those babies regularly, you may be able to extend their shelf life. Check for shedding, odors, and discoloration.
  • Beauty Blenders + Sponges: You should be cleaning your Beauty Blender or makeup sponge after every use. It doesn’t need to be a deep clean, but run it under warm water and squeeze it gently to remove the majority of the product. Soak it with a cleaner weekly-biweekly along with your other brushes and replace it with a brand spankin’ new one every 2-3 months.

Time for a brush bath? Scrub-a-dub-dub:

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