Friday, 19 April 2013

How long does makeup last?

One of the beauty related things that I have never understood is why make-up doesn't have an expiry date on it. We all know that it does go off, but if you're like me, do you actually know when? Here's a little guide to help you out.

Image via weheartit


Foundations should be thrown away after three-four months, and if the tube or tub has a wide mouth, it will be even sooner as it is attracting more air-borne bacteria. Water based foundations can dry out quicker than this time period, but you can keep them fresh by adding a few drops of alcohol free toner to them and giving them a thorough shake to mix.


You are supposed to buy a new concealer every six months, to stop spreading the infection of bacteria and other infections across your face repeatedly. However, as long as it stored in a cool and dark place and properly sealed, concealer can last for up to twelve months.

Blusher / Bronzer

Powder blushers have the longest shelf life out of most cosmetics, and as long as they are stored in a cool, dry and dark place, can last up to 24 months. Cream blushes are much more prone to bacteria and germs so need to be used within six months.


Loose and pressed powders can also last up to 24 months, but if the colour changes or an odour develops then it belongs in the bin and it's time to repurchase.

Eye Shadows

As with blushers, powder eye shadows have a long shelf life and can last up to 2 years. Cream based eye shadows have a shorter expiry period, typically lasting up to eight months after opening. Always make sure you clean your brushes as this will prevent bacteria from spreading in the powder / cream.

Eye liner pencil / lip liner pencil

If stored and cared for properly, pencils can last up to a year. If the tip starts to go white or crumbly then throw it away. Always make sure you sharpen your pencils and then cleanse the sharpener to prevent bacteria from harvesting and spreading back to your eyes / lips.

Liquid eyeliner

Liquid eyeliners have a shorter shelf live than pencils, and only last for up to six months after the first use. 


If you have ever had any kind of eye infection, then you should dispose of your mascara immediately. Mascaras retain bacteria like no other cosmetic, so have a short shelf life of up to 6 months after the first use. You should never add water to your mascara to make it last longer, but you can try putting it into the fridge for a bit to loosen up the liquid inside.


Despite the colour rarely changing, experts advise that lipsticks should not be used after twelve months, even if they do look as good as new still. As with all makeup, lipsticks need to be stored in a cool and dark place to prevent them from melting or bacteria from multiplying.

Nail Polish

Whilst there are no chemicals in nail polishes which "go bad" after a certain time period, nail polishes usually discolour or start to crack and dry up after 18 months. If you want to preserve your nail polishes, you can try keeping them in the fridge as this slows down the drying out process.


Synthetic brushes need to be washed at least three times a month as oil and bacteria can get trapped between the bristles very easily. Natural bristled brushes need to be cleansed at least once a month. The best way to wash brushes is to use a mild or baby shampoo, and work the product through the bristles, ensuring they are deep cleansed. Brushes can last for years if they are properly looked after. Sponges should be washed at least once a week if they are used to apply makeup, and then thrown away as soon as the sponge starts to tear (usually after four weeks).

What did you think of this post? Do you have any other cosmetic preservation tips?


  1. This is a really good post! I have a clear out every now and again! xo

  2. A really interesting post! I had no idea about the expiry date of most makeup products that I own xxx

  3. this is such a good post! I'm like you and never really know when any of it goes off, I'll be referring to this post in the future haha!x

  4. This is such a good post! I had no idea about this. Although it has made me slightly depressed that I have about a thousand things that should have been thrown away arghhh xx

  5. I really like the foundation idea of added alcohol free toner init, lovely post ! :)

  6. reading this has helped so much!


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