How Long Do My Beauty Products Really Last? Your Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates

posted: 04/27/16
by: Mara Betsch
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    Everything You Need to Know

    makeup expiration dates

    Full confession: I am absolutely, 100 percent guilty of keeping beauty products past their prime. But after a friend recently had a terrible (and sort of gross) reaction to expired makeup, I'm turning over a new leaf. As my friend learned the hard way, it's way easier to part with a tube of mascara than suffer from a red, puffy face.

    So as I'm checking all the expiration dates in my makeup bag (and beyond), I thought I'd keep you informed of when it's time to toss your own beauty products. As much as I don't want to admit it, the bases, lipsticks, and more may be crawling with as much bacteria as you'd find on a New York City subway pole (and you wouldn't rub your face on that, would you?). Start by keeping your products in a cool, dry place, and consistently washing your brushes and sponges every week or two. Read on to get the expiration dates of your favorite makeup and hair care items.

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    Skin Care Products

    Perfume bottles with lotus flower

    This is a good place to start considering that you slather it on your skin every morning and night. And you should definitely check the expiration dates on these items, because if the molecules break down, you could experience redness, bumps, or even a rash!

    Facial cleansers: 1 year

    Toners: 6 months to a year

    Moisturizers: 6 months to a year

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    Base Makeup

    Set of make-up  foundations products, different shades and textures.

    It's especially important to keep these products away from moist environments (like your bathroom) as heat spoils them more quickly. If you notice a bad smell or slightly "off" color, it's definitely time to toss it. With these items, it's key to be diligent about sanitizing your brushes at least twice a month.

    Liquid foundation, concealer, or blush: 1 year

    Powder-based blushes and foundations: 2-3 years

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    Eye Makeup


    The problem with eye makeup is that it's being applied close to your eyes, which are especially susceptible to infections. And think about this: You swipe mascara on your eyelashes, and any bacteria you get on the wand is put back into the tube. Grossed out yet?

    Mascara: 4 months (the telltale sign is a gasoline-like smell)

    Liquid and pencil eyeliners: 6 months (you can help prolong this by keeping your pencils sharp and shedding germ-filled top layers)

    Eyeshadow: 6 months (though other powder-based products last longer, these items come close to your eyes and therefore are more prone to bacteria)

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    Lipsticks, Lip Glosses, Etc.


    Your lips are close to your mouth -- aka germ central -- so keep an eye on these items. If their texture changes or they seem to dry out, it's time to escort them to the trash can. And if you've been sick, avoid these products all-together, unless you want to toss them.

    Lip balms: 1 year

    Lipsticks, glosses, and liners: 1-2 years

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    Hair Products


    There's a lot of range within expiration dates for these products, but a good rule of thumb is to toss any open products -- shampoo, conditioner, mousse, hairspray, etc. -- after they've been opened for two years. If they're unopened, they may be able to last up to 3 years.

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    Bath Products


    With some of these items, you may see expiration dates on the packaging, so heed their warnings. However, here are some general guidelines for common bath supplies -- just be sure to look at and smell them if you're concerned.

      Fragrances: 2 years

      Nail polish: 2 years

      Loofahs: 3 weeks (yes, you read that right! These things are actually pretty prone to bacteria)

      Sponges: 7 weeks

      Deodorant/anti-perspirant: 3 years (it's technically an antibacterial, so you should be OK)