Every woman has it – you know what I’m talking about, that drawer full of makeup you just HAD to buy but then could never figure out how to wear properly (like clear mascara). As the months and years tick by, a drawer full of partially used cosmetics begs the question: what exactly is the shelf life of makeup?
Shelf Life Of Makeup: Regular Vs. Natural Cosmetics
Makeup in general is pumped full of preservatives so that bacteria and other little nasty things don’t grow on it quite so fast. This means that the shelf life of makeup like lipsticks, mascaras, foundations, powders and shadows will last anywhere from a few months to over a year.
Natural cosmetics, however, are the exception to the rule. Because every company varies on their formulas for cosmetics, those who choose natural makeup should consult the store or company they buy from. This will get you the best answer for how long you should keep them around.
Shelf Life Of Makeup: A Rundown On The Basics
There are eight general categories we’re going to cover starting with foundation. As we go along we’ll try to cover most of the variations within each category (powder vs. cream, etc), so you get a good idea of what the shelf life of makeup is.
Foundation: Oil-free foundations are usually the first to go. If you’ve had yours for a year now, think about tossing it because as time goes by, it becomes less effective. Any foundation you have that smells funny, is starting to separate or dry out, should be tossed immediately. Cream or compact foundations will last a little longer – up to a year and a half. To cut down on the risk of bacterial infections, be sure to wash all foundation sponges once a week.
Powder: The shelf life of powder is a bit longer. Under good conditions, loose powder may be kept for up to three years. Ideally, however, you should toss all powders – compact and loose – after two years.
Concealer: Stick concealers can be kept anywhere from a year to a year and a half. As with foundation, if your liquid concealer begins to smell funny, separate, or become lumpy then toss it out and pick up a new one.
Eyeliners: There’s a big difference in the shelf life of eyeliners when it comes to liquid versus pencil or push-up. While pencil and push-up eyeliners can be safely kept around for two years, liquid eyeliner should be tossed out after six months, max.
Eyeshadow: If experience is any indicator, powder eyeshadow will probably outlast the brushes and sponges it comes with. That being said, it’s a good idea to toss it out after a couple of years. Cream eyeshadow definitely needs to be thrown out after a year and a half, max.
Mascara: The shelf life of mascara is very short, only three to six months. You definitely want to keep an eye on your mascara because of all makeup, it’s one of the easiest to pass on a bacterial infection with. If you ever contract pink eye, throw out all eye products used on that eye, and don’t use new ones until the infection has cleared up.
Lipstick: I’ve separated lipstick from lip-gloss because the two, while both lip products, are made quite differently. Lipstick has a long shelf life, up to four years. Sometimes small bubbles of moisture will appear on the surface, but don’t let that put you off. Lipstick still good as long as it doesn’t smell rancid or isn’t dried out.
Lip-gloss: On the other hand, lip-gloss doesn’t last quite as long – two years at most. This is due to being formulated differently. If you notice your lip-gloss becoming lumpy or separating, then it’s a good idea to toss it and buy another.
The shelf life of makeup is a good thing to keep in mind anytime you’re going through your makeup bag or drawers. Clean them out regularly and be sure to keep all brushes and sponges cleaned and sanitized to avoid bacterial infections.