Is It Time to Toss Your Makeup?


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I used to hoard old makeup and other cosmetic products until I used up every last drop.

But, did you know one of the best things you can do to prevent skin irritation or bacteria growth is to replace your makeup at the right time?

When it comes to cosmetic products, “out with the old, in with the new” are good words to live by.

If you’re like me, you’re always paying close attention to expiration dates on milk jugs, yogurt, eggs, ketchup and other foods. 

But, did you know that using these products past their expiration date can cause skin irritation and even bacterial infections? 

G r o s s. 

Not sure when the products on your makeup bag expire? I am breaking down common makeup expiration dates, so you’ll know when it’s time to toss.


When is it Time to Toss your Old Makeup?


Moisturizers & Lotions (6-12 Months)

A staple in most skincare routines, your facial lotion might not last as long as you think! Most lotions expire in about a year. That said, your lotion may expire sooner depending on its container. A jar of body butter is more susceptible to bacteria than a traditional pump lotion, so these products should usually be tossed within six months.

My favorite skin-care brand, Kiehl’s, recommends that my favorite face creams* be used within three months of purchase; body creams and hair conditioners should be used within six months of purchase. Fun tip, they recommended In general, refrigerating products to extend their lifespan. I don’t think I will do this though, because we do not have a mini-fridge upstairs…but maybe we should and I can keep iced coffee, rockstar energy drinks, and maybe some craft beer for Caleb. 😉

*My Favorite Kiehl’s Face Creams: Ultra Facial Cream, Creamy Eye Cream with Avocado, Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask.


Liquid Foundation (12 Months)

You should toss liquid foundations and concealers at the one-year mark because liquids are prone to bacteria growth. After the first 12 months, oils within the product can begin to break down.

If you’re using foundation with SPF for daily skin protection, it will loose some of its protective benefits upon expiration, putting you at risk for sun damage. 


Mascara (3-6 Months)

Your eyes come into direct contact with mascara, so it is essential to get rid of old mascara to avoid exposure to bacteria and possible infection. Most manufacturers recommend replacing mascara every three months, though the product should be safe for use up to six months


Lipstick (12 Months)

As lipstick may not be in your daily beauty routine, you’ll be happy to note that it can last for up to a year. Milwaukee makeup artist Melody Sopa says, “Expiration dates are always listed on the box/label of the item. For most, once the lipstick is open, it’s good for one year. ” 

While you may be tempted to hold onto a lipstick if you haven’t gotten much use out of it during that time, throwing these out will help you avoid unnecessary swelling and irritation from expired products.

Melody advices, “If you haven’t use the item in over a year if it’s a liquid or cream, it’s likely it’s formed bacteria and is no longer good to use.”


Perfume (3-5 Years)

If you tend to drop the big bucks for your favorite scent, you won’t have to worry about your perfume expiring before you’ve had a chance to finish the bottle!

Perfumes generally don’t expire for three to five years after purchasing. The exact timing fluctuates based on the specific perfume formula, but you can typically recognize when perfume has expired by changes in its fragrance. 


Eye Shadow (12-24 Months)

“Powders can actually last several years, as long as it’s been sprayed with 70% alcohol to slowly kill off any bacteria,” Melody says. Pressed eyeshadows are not as easily contaminated as liquid products because they lack moisture. 

“No need to throw away makeup or brushes when you’re sick. Just make sure to wash all of your brushes before and after each use while you’re sick and sanitize all makeup. This prevents any germs or bacteria from setting up camp on your beauty products,” explains Melody Sopa, Milwaukee makeup artist. 

While exact expiration dates vary based on brand and ingredients, these rules of thumb will help you identify when it’s time to throw out that clumpy mascara. If you’re wondering how long your makeup stays safe to use, you can check specific expiration dates by referencing your product’s packaging, or using online tools such as to look up products by brand.

I recommend storing all cosmetics in a clean, dry place with lids securely fastened to ensure you get the most of your beauty must-haves!


time to throw out your makeup?

Is It Time to Toss Your Makeup?

PC: Ren Lenhof (Me)

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