When to Throw Away Old Makeup and Cosmetics

Cynthia Bailey, MD|December 5, 2012

old makeup and lipstickHow Long Can You Keep Makeup?  What's safe and what's just too long?  No one knows for sure and it depends on the product and how you've used and stored it. There are some good general guidelines to help you though. In general, to maintain a clear complexion you should discard old and expired makeup because makeup can harbor germs, degrade, and become rancid. Like food, mullets, and leg warmers, everything has an "expiration date", including your makeup. Wearing expired makeup can welcome a wide variety of bacteria into your skin, eyes, and lips, including acne breakouts and potentially more serious infections. Plus, old makeup doesn't look as good as it did when it was new; it may even have a spoiled smell. You wear makeup to enhance your beautiful features. Don't hide them under crusty face powders, rancid lipstick, and dried out (possibly bacteria-infested) mascara. We all mourn unused makeup that we once loved. I hear it all the time, “but I spent a fortune on this makeup!” It's just not worth it. Having a skin or eye infection treated by your doctor because of old makeup will probably cost you time, money, and possibly even leave a permanent mark from the infected sore. Convinced?  Here are my general guidelines for the average shelf life of most cosmetics:

  1. Powder based products (e.g. mineral foundation, eye shadows, blushes): 2-3 years
  2. Liquid foundation: up to 1 year
  3. Lipstick/gloss/liner: 2 years max for lipstick. Shelf life can be extended by refrigerating. Lip gloss with a wand applicator may have a shorter shelf life. Lip liner 1 to 2 years.
  4. Mascara/liquid eyeliner: 2-3 months
  5. Pencil eye liner: 2-3 years

The Bottom Line: When in doubt, throw it out! If it has gone bad there may be obvious signs. Use your senses. If it feels, looks, or smells unusual, put it in the trash. When you buy a cosmetic, take a black sharpie marker and write the date you purchased the makeup right on it. That way, you can track its recommended expiration date. Special makeup warnings

  • If any eyeliner, mascara, or shadow was used during an eye infection, get rid of it.
  • Women have a tendency to share lip gloss in particular. Ideally don't! It can spread bacteria and viruses such as herpes. Be careful.

dermatologist recommended best natural mineral makeupNot sure where to begin?  Schedule a complimentary makeup consultation with one of our talented aestheticians.  Our knowledgeable aestheticians can assist you with finding fresh, new cosmetics from Dr. Bailey’s beautiful line of natural mineral makeup powders, as well as help answer your questions about makeup hygiene and application tips.  Call our front desk at (707) 829-5778 to book your appointment today!       aesthetician services in Santa Rosa AreaMaLinda, Medical Aesthetician My passion is helping people look and feel beautiful. I have more than nine years of experience in the skincare and cosmetics industry; having worked as a makeup artist, as a makeup and skincare product specialist for a high-end department store, and as an aesthetician. I have a bachelor’s degree in English and history, but I have found my true calling in the world of skincare. I’ve been a licensed aesthetician since 2007. I love helping my clients achieve healthy, beautiful skin and teaching them how to get the results they’re looking for on a daily basis. Everyone is beautiful with unique attributes that make them special. Finding and highlighting these attributes in a person is my passion – and it’s what I love about my career.   Photo: Thanks and Gratitude to 1950s Unlimited

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