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Cosmetic Expiry Chart & How To Extend Makeup Shelf Life

Updated on May 24, 2016
Can you tell which of these have passed their shelf-life?
Can you tell which of these have passed their shelf-life? | Source

It is of utmost importance to make sure that the cosmetics we are applying on our faces are fresh and devoid of nasties and bacteria that could cause infections, skin inflammation or acne breakouts.

Most of us overlook the significance of knowing when our makeup expires, because well – we do not eat it. While many actually check the expiration of the food in our cabinets, less of us check the manufacturing or expiry dates on our cosmetic and skincare products (maybe only when we first purchase the item). What we fail to notice is that using expired cosmetics could potentially cause a lot of psychological and physical pain.

Cosmetic Expiry Chart:

½ year
Liquid foundation
1 year
Cream foundation
1 year
Compact foundation
1 - 1½ years
1 year
2 years
Blush & bronzer
1 year
Cream blush
1 - 1½ years
Powder eyeshadow
2 years
Cream eyeshadow
1 - 1½ years
Pencil Eyeliner
1 - 2 years
Liquid eyeliner
3 - 6 months
Gel Eyeliner
1 year
3 months
1 - 2 years
Lip liner
1 - 2 years
Lip gloss
1 year
↑ This chart is a guide, if you have never sanitized your makeup, it is going to degenerate faster!

Detecting Makeup Gone Bad

1. Smell
If your product is starting to give off a funky odor or smells distinctively different from before, it is a good idea to toss it.

2. Look
There could be changes appearance wise to your cosmetics when they have gone bad, such as a difference in color, appearing cloudy, patchy or caked.

3. Touch
Chemical reactions could cause the texture of your cosmetics to change considerably. Check the consistency of your makeup; if it was a thick lotion before and runny now or have chunky bits, it could be spoiled.

Place new cotton pads and swabs in a compartment by themselves and not with all your makeup.
Place new cotton pads and swabs in a compartment by themselves and not with all your makeup. | Source

Extend the Life of Your Cosmetics

Cosmetics and skincare should be kept in cool, dry places and out of direct sunlight. Sunlight could melt cream products like lipsticks, dry up liquid products such as toners, as well as break down the preservatives in your makeup, causing them to turn bad faster.

Avoid keeping them in places with high humidity (like the Bathroom). Moisture is a bacteria breeder, so, added warmth creates a haven for them! If in doubt, look at the directions included in the label, certain skincare products are better suited in the fridge because of the volatile ingredients contained (vitamin c is a good example).

You could depot or decant your lotions and creams into a container that eases dispensing. I have a moisturizing lotion that came in a pot. And because the idea of fiddling around it with my fingers made me cringe a little, I transferred the lotion into a pump container. It is mess-free, fuss-free and very hygienic.

Storing serums and oil products in dark coloured glass bottles is a good house-keeping practice. This protects the contents from oxidizing, UV rays and a barrier to the continuous fluctuations in temperature.

Hygiene & Applicators
For the sake of convenience, many of us will dip our fingers into our cosmetics for direct application, especially with things like eye shadows, moisturizers, cream blushers etc.

However, the oils from our fingers could contaminate our makeup and cause bacteria build-up!

The best way is to use clean disposable or washable applicators like: cotton pads, cotton swabs, brushes, sponges, and spatulas.

A light sharpen with every use keeps your lip liners, eyebrow and eyeliner pencils from dirt build-up on the surface.

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Used brushes, time for a dip!
Used brushes, time for a dip! | Source

How to Clean Your Brushes

  1. Under warm running water, hold your brush with the tip facing down.
  2. Once it is soaked, add some mild detergent – baby shampoo is great – and lather it up!
  3. Rinse out all the shampoo thoroughly, if the water is still dirty, shampoo again and repeat till you get a clean rinse.
  4. Gently pat your brush on a paper towel to remove excess water and hang till completely dried, again, with the tip facing down.

*Brushes should be washed every other week, depending on how often they are used.

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Makeup Tools: Keeping Your Makeup Clean!

Wonder Wedge Cosmetic Wedge 100's
Wonder Wedge Cosmetic Wedge 100's

Biodegradable, anti-bacterial & hypoallergenic.

EcoTools 6 Piece Essential Eye Brush Set (Packaging May Vary)
EcoTools 6 Piece Essential Eye Brush Set (Packaging May Vary)

Eco-friendly brushes. Made from recycled & sustainable materials. Bamboo handles & cruelty-free bristles.



  • Avoid sharing makeup that comes in direct contact with your skin (concealers, mascaras, lipsticks etc.) with others. Honestly, avoid sharing makeup, period.
  • Maintain good hygiene when using your products.
  • Use the correct applicators when applying makeup.
  • Do not be afraid to bin your expired makeup. If you feel that it is going to be such a waste, here are some creative ways to put them to good use (not on your face)!

© 2012 Peony


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    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Great information. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Makeup expiration is overlooked way too much! It's amazing the risk we put ourselves in with old products. Your chart is a great reference. I've been trying to be better about tossing old makeup, but it's hard when you know how much you've spent on it!

    • P FOR PEONY profile image

      Peony 5 years ago

      @ Efficient Admin - Thanks for reading!

    • P FOR PEONY profile image

      Peony 5 years ago

      @ Modern Lady - That's what I'm guilty of as well, sometimes it's really hard to part with them! I guess the best thing is to buy in smaller quantities.. (Is that possible though? God bless consumerism!)

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