Sunday, February 5, 2012

When it's Time to Toss: Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics!!

There have been so many times when I am conducting a makeup application, and a client says to me, "my foundation all of sudden has been making me break I need to find a new one." Even though it is possible that your skin has changed and a reaction may occur, most of the time it is because the product has expired - yes expired! Many of you probably are like "what? my products can't last forever?" sorry ladies and gents, just like a condiment in your fridge can go bad, so can your liquid foundation!

To make this super easy (so easy you can just print and put on your bullitan board), I have listed the products below and next to them how long you should keep before tossing and purchasing a new one (plus some tips!).

Skin Care:

Cream & Gel Cleansers - 1 year - creams and gels will get an odor once they've gone bad, try to notice what the scent should be so you know if it has gone bad.

Face Creams - 1 year - same as above, if an odor come first, toss it!


Concealers - 1 year

Pressed Powders - 2 years - This includes, face powders, bronzers, highlighting powders, etc - as long as there is no shiny buildup on the surface of the powder, once that occurs, it needs to be tossed

Pencil Liners - 3 years - As long as sharpened regularly

Liquid Eyeliner - 3 months - There is no way to clean that brush or felt tip that applies the product to your eye. If used everyday, it needs to be changed often to keep bacteria away from the eye area

Shadows - 3 years - Many people keep shadows for longer..just like a face powder, if a shiny film appears on the surface, it's time to be tossed!

Foundation (water based) - 1 year

Foundation (oil based) - 1.5 years - Oil based products tend to seperate, so just shake up before use if it hasn't gone bad yet, that is natural.

Lipstick - 2-3 years

Mascara - Many people say 3-4 months, I recommend every month if used everyday. Too much bacteria is on a mascara wand, chances of contracting pink eye are higher the longer you keep it.


Brushes - never go bad, they just need to be washed on a regular basis to maintain them - I recommend once a month, at least, with a mild baby shampoo.

Sponges - if used every day, I would say weekly they need to be tossed. However sponges absorb alot of product, resulting in wasting, I always recommend brushes over sponges.

Tips* -

1 - General rule of thumb: if it stinks, toss it. Odor is a big sign if something goes bad, just like food or beverages - your natural instinct is to smell to see if it's good, do the same with makeup. Also, just like bad food can make you sick, bad makeup can lead to reactions such as blotchiness, bumps, pimples, red spots, etc.

2 - All natural products tend to expire quicker do the fact that there are no preservatives - again just like food! Check out those products more often to make sure they are still good.

3 - If you purchase the product at a department store or a boutique, ask the consultant how long the product should last, so you have an idea when it will go bad.

**Use these Beauty Alert! labels to help you remember when a product may expire! $4.95**


  1. In the food and nutrition world, we say "when in doubt, throw it out!" Labels sound like a great idea, or even writing with a permanent marker on the back! Thanks for this great resource, Heather!

    1. anytime! share my blog with all of your friends! xo!