From One Makeup Addict To Another: When Should You Replace Your Makeup?

As someone who’s addicted to makeup, I understand what it’s like to be in love with your beauty products. I’ve felt the love for a lipstick, lusted over an eyeshadow palette, and become addicted to mascara after mascara. Makeup can be expensive; there’s no two ways about it. However, if you’re someone who truly loves testing out new products, all that scrimping and saving for that must-have item is worth it. Or, at least, it feels that way.

That is until a friend innocently asks you when you last had a makeup bag clear out. And then goes on to explains that makeup, like everything else, has an expiration date. Meaning that your collection of high-end lipsticks that you’ve spent years building up is, in fact, in need of replacing. With that in mind, the question is when should you replace your favorite makeup bag must-haves?

I’ve done some digging and have got the lowdown on makeup and expiration dates. Here’s everything that you need to know:

Unopened Products Aren’t a Problem
If you’ve got a drawer somewhere in your home packed full of makeup that you bought but are yet to use, there’s no need to panic about it. Unopened makeup tends to last for at least three years, as long as it’s kept somewhere nice and cool. A mistake a lot of us are making with our makeup is storing it in the bathroom. This is a big no-no, as bathrooms get so hot and stuffy your makeup is likely to degrade more quickly. However, if you store your makeup in a cool, dry area, unopened it can last for years. That means that when you next get an email offering you a Sephora or Ulta.com discount, you can bulk buy your favorite products. It’s just a case of being smart about where you store them.

It varies from Product to Product
When it comes to how quickly opened items go off, it varies from product to product. Foundation, for instance, can last between six months and two years once opened. Liquid foundation has a shorter life than powder products and only lasts a few months once opened. Whereas, powder foundations can last for up to 24 months. Mascara has an even shorter life than liquid foundation – it’s advised that you toss it after just three months of use. The reason for this is because the tube is the perfect breeding ground for some nasty bacteria. Plus, after three months, most mascaras become dry and chalky and don’t perform well. As for eyeliner and eyeshadow, liquid and cream products have a life of just a few months. While pencil eyeliner and powdered eyeshadow are useable for up to two years after being opened. Finally, lipstick – both gloss and cream, can last for up to two years once opened, as can lip liner.

What to Look For
Of course, if after the recommended period your makeup still seems usable, there are some things to look out for. If you notice an odd smell when using a product, it’s best to be safe and chuck it, no matter how much you love it. If the color of a product has got darker, this is a sign that it’s starting to go off. So if you notice this, it’s a good idea to think about replacing it. Lastly, if the consistency of a product has changed, this means it’s gone past its best. This means it’s time to say goodbye and replace it. If you notice anything odd about a product, it’s best to chuck it and get a replacement.

Getting rid of makeup products that you love might be annoying, but once a product gets too old it will no longer work as well as it used to. Plus, it could end up causing damage to your skin or causing breakouts due to bacteria. At least there’s an upside to getting rid of old makeup – you get to invest in new products every few months.


  • Emily Hardman

    Great post! Very informative. I’m glad you didn’t just list the different makeup and when it expires but gave a great explanation!

    http://www.thinkingofmakeup.com