FYI - The Shelf Life of Makeup/Cosmetic Items - When To Keep & When To Discard

makeup cosmetics - Picture of makeup brushes used for cosmetics
@schulzie (4064)
United States
November 15, 2008 12:11am CST
If you are like me you have a pile of makeup in your drawer that you sometimes use. I know I do. Well I was looking through that drawer last night and came across a bunch of old lipsticks and eyeshadows and nail polishes that I have had for years. I was inclined to keep them as I always do, but I first thought I might go look online and see what was the suggested life span of cosmetics and makeup products. That quickly made me toss out a bunch of my old products. Here's a quick guide on the shelf life of commonly used makeup/cosmetic items: Foundation - Water-based foundation - keep up to 12 months. Oil-based foundation - keep up to 18 months. Concealer - Keep up to 12 months. Powder - Keep up to 2 years. Cream & Gel Cleansers - Keep up to 12 months. Mascara - Keep up to 4 months. (Handy hint - write the date you opened the mascara on the tube with a Sharpie marker - that way you won't keep it past the expiration date). Pencil Eyeliner - Regularly sharpen and keep up to 3 years. Eyeshadow - Keep up to 3 years. Lipstick - Some say to keep it up to 1-2 years. Others say you can keep it up to 4 years. However, if it smells rancid, or funny then throw it out because it is more than likely spoiled. Lipliner - Keep up to 3 years. Nail Polish - Keep up to 12 months. Brushes - Should be washed every 2-3 months in a mild detergent. Sponges - Should be washed weekly and then discarded after one month. After doing this research I can tell you that I had a nice big bag of trash after cleaning out my drawer. I will also be WAY more selective in the future when I am buying makeup. I do not want to get sick, get pink eye, etc. from using out dated products. I hope this helps some of you out there. Have a great day and happy myLotting!!!
2 people like this
11 responses
• United States
15 Nov 08
You'e not kidding about the mascara!! I used some old mascara last month and as soon as I put it on, my eyes started giving me trouble. I couldn't get that stuff off fast enough! Happy MyLotting!
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I know, it is scary to think about pink eye, etc. from old mascara. Let alone if you accidentally scratch your eyelid or God forbid you accidentally poke or scratch your eyeball itself. Can you imagine if there was bacteria on the mascara wand too? Ewww!
@Opal26 (17691)
• United States
15 Nov 08
Hi schulzie! I have read those rules too. But, I throw away makeup when I think that it is time. Sometimes nail polish will dry up before it is time to throw it out so I do. And sometimes lipstick smells weird so I throw it out. Or other makeup for that matter. I throw out makeup when I'm ready to throw it out. I don't always throw out things like mascara when they say to if it isn't finished and I still can use it why should I throw it out. It cost alot of money. I am the only one to use it so why waste it. I watch my makeup carefully and if I think that there is something wrong with it then of course I am going to throw it out. Those tips are just a basic of what you should do, not what you have to do. I actually think that they are pretty fair.
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
26 Nov 08
The one thing that I have always been very careful of is the mascara. I am just so afraid that I will get some sort of infection in my eyes if I use mascara that is too old or has bacteria that has grown in it do to the age. That is the reason for me. I know it is expensive but I don't want to get sick either. I usually keep my lipsticks around 2 years but now that I think about it that is on my mouth and I am ingesting some of it when I eat, etc. Ewww! I really need to be careful with that too!
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Nov 08
Thankyou for all of the information. I do keep my make up forever in drawers, but once I stumble across it later on I tend to throw it away. Generally after 6 months I do not use it again out of fear of what bacteria has grown in the cosmetic product. Although, I do keep it forever, you never know when you will want to use that shade again! lol Again thankyou for the lifespan on the cosmetics!
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I know, I had been keeping cosmetics for years, but once I read all of this information I had a cleaning frenzy and got rid of lots of stuff.
1 person likes this
@fwidman (11517)
• United States
15 Nov 08
Very informative and helpful discussion I thought this stuff would last forever, but I see I was wrong!
@julise (494)
• Indonesia
24 Nov 08
WOW!!! great info. thanks a lot for posting it. I already copy paste it to my ms word
@katrhina23 (1282)
• United States
16 Nov 08
Wow thanks for the information. This really helped me a lot.
@nadooa247 (1096)
• United States
15 Nov 08
Personally speaking if anything smells funky it is chucked in the trash i have a pile of makeup but doesn't mean i go out painted like a children's party clown lol so the stuff does go bad =P those brushes for eyeshadow the ones with sponge-like tips i buy in packs of ten and chuck one every time it just gets to mushed up with colors or after 3 - 4 months which ever comes sooner. I get frequent colds, and have eye allergies and i found this to be the cheapest way to insure i wont be spreading my own germs again and again. I get so many different kinds of makeup from friends and family it's not even funny lol their way of saying to hide my ugly mug i guess =P so it does accumulate. I chuck out things that seem to be around for far too long. I had a set of eyeshadow colors that must be about 5 years old if i kept them till now chucked them out perhaps a year ago because i never used them... so it seems i threw them out a year too late according to your post =P seriously didn't know all this info thank you for the heads up ;)
@jackiew (915)
• Canada
15 Nov 08
I appreciate all the information but have one question.Why is the nail polish no longer good after 12 months?I have nail polish older than that and i still use it.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
15 Nov 08
thanks for info I will tell daughter about this and all my stuff will go into the trash as I havent used any in over 5 years lol
@tyc415 (5706)
• United States
15 Nov 08
I had always heard of the mascara not lasting long. I don't use makeup often so it looks like almost all of mine needs to go take a trip to the trash except for the eye pencils and lipstick. Thanks for posting this for those people like me who had no idea about all those other things.
• United States
15 Nov 08
What useful information. I tend to keep cosmetics longer than the package expiration date says to, though, unless they smell bad - this list confirmed my belief that the cosmetics companies tell you cosmetics expire faster than they do so that you will buy more sooner. At least I know the real amount of time I should keep things rather than the briefer time recommended by the companies.