Are your cosmetics in date?

Posted by Rachael Phillips on 18th Aug 2014

I don’t know about you but my make-up drawer is stacked with products that have seen better days. I’ve definitely got a case of the adding but not taking aways.

But even though you may not think about it, beauty products have a shelf life. Much like the contents of our fridge, if they are left too long then they go bad. However, it’s not all bad news as it’s an excellent excuse to go out and buy new.

But unlike food products, manufacturers of makeup aren’t legally obligated to put sell by dates on the package. Most brands do or they’ll have an indication of how long you can continue to use the products once they’ve been open.

Using products way after their sell by date may not have serious health implications (with the exception of mascara, if you’re using that past its best then you could be heading for a nasty eye infection) but it can cause breakouts and skin irritations.

Here’s a quick rundown of how long your fave beauty products last…


How long have you had some of the mascara’s in your drawer? You’ll be shocked to know that mascara only has a shelf life of 2-3 months. As soon as your mascara starts to get clumpy then it’s time to throw it away.


Foundation and concealers last around 6-12 months depending on the temperature they are kept at. If the colour is lightening or it starts separating to layers, it’s a sure sign that it needs replacing.

It usually helps if you keep your foundations somewhere dark and cool. Leaving them in the sunlight can cause them to spoil at a faster rate.

Lipstick and Gloss

Ideally you should bin your lipgloss after a year and your lipstick after two. Dry lipstick and sticky lipgloss are signs that its ready to go.

Nail Polish

Nail polish has a tendency to go goopy once it’s reached the end of its life span. Nail varnishes only last a year or two so if you find that it’s not mixing well after a shake, don’t risk trying it out on your nails.

Blusher, eye-shadow and powder

If you use powders and eye-shadows that are past their best then you’ll find they are flaky, dry and will not give you that flawless perfection that you’re looking for. Ditch after two years and to preserve the life of your powders use decent, clean brushes when applying.


Surprisingly a good perfume will last up to 10 years. You’ll know when they’ve turned as the smell with change and you will see difference in the colour. Store your fragrances somewhere cool and dark to slow down oxidisation.

Moisturiser and Lotions

This is the one product that I am most guilty of keeping hold of. Ideally, you should keep moisturisers no longer than 2 years. Once they start showing a change in colour or scent then it’s time to throw them in the bin. By keeping hold of them you’re just putting yourself at risk of skin irritations.

Image creditBlinc Mascara

What products do you keep hold of? Tweet us @TreatYourSkinUK

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