Save or Toss? The Truth About Makeup Expiration Dates
We know you don’t want to throw away your favorite blush or lipstick, but abiding by makeup expiration dates is actually very important. Why? Cosmetics trap bacteria, which means replacing them regularly is necessary to avoid skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes. But unlike the contents of your fridge, the use by date on your makeup products are reliant upon the first day you use them, not the purchase date.
How do you know when to toss that foundation or mascara? The more moisture the product has—or the closer it comes to your eyes—the shorter its life span, once opened. Separation or changes in texture or smell are dead giveaways the product has gone bad. Simply click through our slideshow for exactly how long you can use your favorite products without worry.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation ($44)
Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year
Tips: Keep your foundation germ-free for longer by keeping your fingers away from the neck of the bottle. Instead, gently drip the formula onto the back of your hand before you apply. If you notice your foundation starts to separate, it’s definitely time to toss it.
Nars Lipstick ($28)
Shelf Life: 1 year
Tips: It’s time to toss your favorite lip products when you notice a change in their texture—whether that means they dry out or they get goopy. Make your favorite red last longer by keeping it in a cool, dry place (meaning: don’t leave it in your hot car!).
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara ($5)
Shelf Life: 3 months
Tips: Replacing your mascara regularly is incredibly important to avoid eye infections. Switch out every three months, or sooner if you notice the formula gets clumpy or starts to smell funny, which means it’s gone bad. And, of course, don’t ever share mascara!
Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm ($23)
Shelf Life: 12 to 18 months
Tips: Toss cream blush and “multiple” sticks (as in, products you can use on your cheeks and lips) if you notice a change in their texture—and always use clean hands when applying them, to help keep the tubes and pots germ-free.
For more advice, peep the nine brands makeup artists love the most (and why).