How Long Does Make-up Last?


How long does make-up last?


Whether it is lotion, mascara or lipstick, beauty products often carry expiration dates. These dates are, if visible, suggested by the manufacturer to ensure a quality product experience. The shelf life of make-up is somewhat limited and depends upon the specific product. These expiration dates are essentially like best-by dates on foods and drinks… but never, ever eat or drink any make-up (unless it is clearly labeled as edible)!

So, how long does make-up last? We basically recommend using make-up or beauty products for only a limited time beyond their expiration dates, especially if they are opened and used regularly. As long you don’t eat make-up, we’ll provide the time periods that it should be used. The following table lists various beauty products with recommended expiration times past the printed date (or opened date, whichever came first).


How Long Does Make-up Last?

Make-up Shelf Life

Past Printed Date OR Opened Date (whichever came first)
Anti-aging Cream lasts for 6 Months
Acne Cream lasts for 6 Months
Lotion (body lotion) lasts for 2 Years
Concealer lasts for 1 Year
Peels and Masks last for 3 – 6 Months
Lipstick lasts for 1 – 2 Years
Lip Gloss lasts for 2 Years
Cream Blush lasts for 12 – 18 Months
Liquid or Gel Eye Shadow lasts for 6 Months
Powder Eye Shadow lasts for 2 – 3 Years
Liquid Eyeliner lasts for 6 Months
Pencil Eyeliner lasts for 2 – 4 Years (sharpen often)
Mascara lasts for 6 Months
Nail Polish lasts for 2 – 3 Years
Perfume lasts for 8 – 10 Years

Of course, make-up lasts for a shorter period of time if it is not stored properly and can last slightly longer if not used very often.
There are no U.S. laws or regulations that require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels.[1] So, if there is a date on a cosmetic product it is a recommendation by the manufacturer.

How to tell if make-up has gone bad?

Any change in color, texture, aroma or consistency can alert to spoiled make-up.
If mascara begins to clump or smell bad, then it is bad. Yet, bacteria in eye make-up can go totally undetected! That’s why cosmetics that touch the eye are recommended to be replaced more often than those that do not touch the eyes. So, remember to toss mascara and liquid eyeliner in a timely matter without waiting for any tell-tale signs (the age old better safe than sorry saga!).

Never share eye make-up such as eyeliner and mascara, as bacteria can build easily in these moist environments and pass very quickly between eyes. Eyeliner pencils last longer than liquid eyeliner if the tip is sharpened often and kept covered when not in use.

Gels, balms and creams – anything that you dip into – should not be kept for as long as products that are not touched. Using clean cotton pads and swabs instead of fingers for dipping can help these products last longer.

Some common traits of spoiled foundation would be a separation of ingredients. Combinations can only last as long as each separate ingredient. Any texture change in lipsticks, blushes and nail polish is a red flag. Gel lid glosses will become thick and sticky, cream lipsticks may begin to break up, eyeshadows may crack, nail polish will thicken.

How Long Does Make-up Last?

Additional Info

We can’t think of too many uses for expired make-up, unless maybe to practice on a doll, but there are things you can do to ensure that make-up lasts as long as possible. Proper storage helps, but it is the bacteria from eyes, hands and lips that pose the most danger to make-up. Always wash hands before touching eye and lip make-up, as you would before touching food.

For information on the shelf life of food and drink products, visit our home page.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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