Nov 10, 2012

Makeup Basics: The Toss-Out Timeline

All good things must come to an end, and this holds just as true for your favorite blush or lipstick.  Most products have an approximate best before/expiry date printed on them and also an indication of how long the product will stay useful once it's opened (two different concepts).  Added to that is the fact that most of our makeup does get exposed to bacteria over time and with use, whether it is with our fingers touching the eye shadow or just the simple action of applying lipstick, and that accelerates the expiry of these products.  So, how do you know it's time to toss out that eyeshadow you have been saving for ages?  Read on to find out...

Makeup Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Basics

The common sense approach to judging if makeup is ready to be tossed:  If it looks, feels, or smells weird, it's probably best in the trash can.  That apart, here's a list of some commonly used makeup products and their toss-out dates.  Do keep in mind that this just a general guide, and actual expiry would depend on the specific product/brand and also on your use.

Makeup Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Basics Foundations
It's been ages since I bought a foundation that doesn't have a pump dispenser - so much convenient to use and mess-free!
Foundation:  About 12 to 18 months depending on whether your foundation is water-based or oil-based.  A few things that would help with getting that bottle of foundation to last longer
  • Buy liquid foundations that come with a pump-dispenser packaging so less of the product gets exposed to air and/or other contaminants.
  • If using cream compacts, always use a clean brush to pick up product - preferably take some product on to the hand using a Q-tip so your fingers never directly touch the product in the tub.
Makeup Basics Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Powders
In the photo:  Illamasqua blush in Ambition.  I don't use this very much - has quite a bit of shimmer in it, not something I can use during the day.  Have you ever hit the pan on a blush?
Powders:  Powder blush, bronzers, foundations, etc., last much longer than cream/liquid products since they have less moisture in them.  Most last about 2 years (I will not lie - I do have blushes that are much older than that, and I am not going to toss those out any time soon).  The only powder products I have had spoiling are eye shadows - haven't had any irritation or infection with anything so far, but I have noticed a change in texture with some of them over time.

Makeup Basics Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Lipsticks Lipglosses Lipliners
Those are my Maybelline lipsticks all lined up for a photoshoot :P  Maybelline My Mahogany is one of my oldest/most used lipsticks, and it is finally starting to show signs of spoiling now :(
Lipsticks and glosses:  Now these are a bit tricky.  I have read expiry dates ranging from 2 years to 4 years on these.  I just go by the smell-funny-toss-it rule with these since most times, having thrown away the original packaging, I won't have a clue about manufacturing and suggested expiry dates.  One thing that helps is using a lip brush to apply the product - it gives a more controlled application and keeps the lipstick cleaner.  Lipglosses last about a year or so with me before they start showing signs of turning rancid, and again, a clean lip brush helps the product stay clean longer.  Love lip liners since most are good for about 4 years!

Makeup Basics Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Mascara
Makeup-saver tip:  Don't pump the mascara wand in and out of the doesn't really help the product go on any better, but also gets more air in to dry out and spoil the mascara inside.
Mascara:  Oh this one is simple - toss it out in about 3 months once you start using it.  I don't always follow this since I use most about once or twice a week, but with my eye make products, I am very wary of getting an infection so would rather be safe than sorry.  Besides, a mascara is one thing I always get samples of, so I just need an excuse to toss out one :D

Makeup Basics Shelf Life Expiry Dates Spoiled Indian Beauty Blog Eyeliners
Always sharpen eyeliners before each use to avoid to keep the tip clean and lessen chances of infection...
and keep the sharpener clean!
Eyeliners - liquid and pencil:  Pencil liners apparently stay good for about 3 years - provided you sharpen them before every use and keep them clean.  Liquid liners, on the other hand, have a shorter life of about a year or less.  I said "apparently" because there's no way I would use an eyeliner - liquid or pencil - beyond 6 months, an year or more only for the rarely used ones that don't go near my waterline.  I have very sensitive eyes that react to just about everything, and the last thing I want is to have old makeup leaving me with conjunctivitis!

So, that was a really general guide to makeup expiry dates.  Unopened products, of course, stay good longer provided they are stored properly, avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations and away from sunlight.  Most times, the outer packaging that we tend to throw away (or lose) would give an idea on the expiry date of the makeup once it's opened.  Keep your brushes clean, and discard makeup if you do have an infection (for instance, eyeliners and mascara if you have an eye infection).  Also again, if the texture/smell seems different, you are better off buying a replacement!  I know parting with makeup is always a little difficult, but remember, there's always something newer and shinier out there :D

 Do you have any tips for keeping your makeup from getting spoiled too soon?  Do share!


  1. Replies
    1. Guess what..I replied to your comment and it just disappeared! My blog has started eating up my own comments now :D Anyway..hope you have a great weekend :)

    2. Oohhh its okay :( happens :)

  2. its such a informative and well composed post !!
    Love it !!

    P.S : I LOVE your photography and presentation skills !!! ^_^

  3. I so wanted to do a post like this so that I'll use that as a guide for myself :P Glad you did that Rads :)

    1. You also do really does help to clean up the makeup stash - I cleaned mine last week :D


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