How Long Should You Keep Your Makeup, Skincare or Fragrance?

How to Tell When Cosmetics & Skincare are Past Their Prime

fmg Glimmer Makeup CollectionEveryone’s guilty of holding onto makeup and skincare products longer than they probably should. It may seem harmless, but expired beauty products can compromise the skin. Studies have shown that old cosmetics can harbor bacteria, mold, and other germs, including potentially dangerous staph bacteria. When it comes to your eyes, this bacteria buildup can actually cause infections and pink eye. Common sense and your own judgment should come first in determining the shelf life for all personal care products. If it is smelling strange or has changed in color and consistency, that can be a telltale sign that it’s time to dispose of it. Don’t take any chances; use this handy guide to determine how to keep your collection of products fresh and your skin healthy.

  • Eye Makeup: Mascara is applied to one of the most sensitive areas of your face and should be replaced every 3 months. Because the process of applying involves moving the wand from lashes to the bottle and back, the risk of introducing bacteria is high. It is important to ensure that it is clean and sanitary. Sensible and simple eye hygiene is to buy new mascara every three months. Liquid eyeliners fall into the same category as mascara – a brush that touches your eye goes back into a tube of wet product where bacteria can grow. Three months is the rule of thumb here too. Powder eyeshadows are safe for about 2 to 3 years since bacteria have a hard time growing on dry surfaces. But if you dip a wet brush or sponge into these products, their shelf life decreases to a year or less. Gel or cream eye and face makeup tend to lose their texture within six months or so. And since they come in contact with your eyes and face, they’re more prone to harboring bacteria that can lead to infections. If you notice a color change in either powder or cream varieties, then it is time to purchase new eye makeup.
  • Lip Makeup: Lip products generally last the longest; most will last 1 or 2 years. Lipstickslip linerslip glosses, and lip care may change color or consistency over time. If the wax dries out, they may not apply easily. Lip gloss that has a wand that touches your mouth and goes back into the tube should be tossed after six months to a year. Cold sores are caused by a herpesvirus, so you should dispose of any makeup you have been using on your lips. Also, never share your gloss! If it smells bad or the color has turned, throw it out and buy new makeup for the lips.
  • Face Makeup: Oil-based foundations, concealers, and contours & highlighters should last for 6 months; water-based ones should last for 1 year. However, if you dip your fingers into the product or use a stick concealer directly on your face, you could be transferring germs. In that case, six months of use might be recommended. Face powders are good for up to three years, while powders used on your cheeks, like blushes & bronzers, are good for about two years. As always, if the color or consistency changes, discard the remainder and purchase new makeup for the face.
  • Makeup PencilsLip Liners, Brow Pencils or Eye Liner Pencils can easily last one to two years, but cream or gel liners last only six months for the same reasons as cream eye shadows. The best way to ensure that they remain safe to apply is to keep them well sharpened and store them with the cap on. Also, be sure to clean your sharpener regularly! If the pencil starts to stick and becomes more difficult to use, it’s probably dried out. It’s time to toss it and buy new makeup pencils.
  • Makeup for Nails: Unopened nail colors, top/base coats, or nail treatments can last indefinitely. However, once a bottle is opened, some ingredients will evaporate, causing the polish to thicken and separate. Typically, nail polish can last from 18 to 24 months if stored in a cool, dark place. Use visual cues to determine if your nail makeup is still usable. Shake the bottle before applying to remix any separated pigment. If it has become thick, dried out, or remains separated even after shaking, it’s time to purchase new nail makeup.
  • Skincare/Moisturizers: An expired skincare product might not lock in moisture or hydrate as effectively as it was designed to. Sealed and unopened moisturizers should be good for up to three years from the manufacturing date. Cleansers, Toners, and Eye Care products generally remain effective for 6 months to 1 year. Scrubs & Masks tend to dry out once opened, so their shelf life may be limited to six months. Skincare Treatments , given their active ingredients, are also typically good for 6 months to 1 year. If you notice an off odor or if the overall texture seems to have changed, it’s advisable to discard them and buy new skincare products. A Dr. Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Heal Your Skin,” recommends storing your skincare products in the fridge. She suggests that this can help extend their shelf life, and the cold temperature can even give your skin a radiant glow.
  • Acne treatments: This product should have a two-year expiration from the manufacturing date to ensure that the level of activity is still present. It’s easy to forget that the active ingredients found in treatments are surprisingly fragile. Discard it sooner if it has an off odor or if the overall texture seems to have changed, purchase new acne treatments.
  • Sun Care: Always check the expiration date on the product, but most have a shelf life of three years after their manufacture date. However, there is no consensus about how long a sunscreen retains its effectiveness after it has been opened. To prevent skin cancer and err on the side of caution, consider buying new sunscreen and sun care products each year.
  • Fragrance: The shelf life of most fragrances are 3 to 5 years from the manufacturing date. Store in a cool, dry place away from any sunlight. Perfumes with a higher content of essential oils have a longer shelf life. If the scent changes, the perfume darkens in color, it could become obvious that the perfume has spoiled so purchase new fragrances.
  • Deodorant: These products should last for 2 to 3 years. The active ingredients don’t last forever, and once they become inert, the deodorant isn’t effective, and it’s time to buy new deodorants.
  • Makeup Brushes: To keep them clean, wash them weekly with warm, soapy water. Rinse the bristles thoroughly. Squeeze out any excess moisture using a clean towel. Reshape the brush head if needed. If they lose their shape or hairs, buy new makeup brushes.
  • Makeup Sponges: These makeup tools can be used for applying and blending foundation, blush, powder, etc. To keep them clean, wash them weekly in warm soapy water. Consider replacing them monthly. Buy new makeup sponges.


Take a tour of my beauty store and explore some trend-setting fashion. Now is the perfect time to declutter your makeup collection or refresh your beauty routine. We’ve all been guilty of holding onto a look for too long or keeping products past their prime. Discover our fantastic selection of specially priced beauty offers in our Makeup Sales & Special Offers. Be sure to bookmark this page and check it regularly, as we update our store with new products and special offers every two weeks. Don’t forget to read my Insider Blog on Beauty, which is designed to inspire you.


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