How Long Can You Keep Makeup? What's safe and what's just too long? No one knows for sure and it depends on the product and how you've used and stored it. There are some good general guidelines to help you though. In general, to maintain a clear complexion you should discard old and expired makeup because makeup can harbor germs, degrade, and become rancid. Like food, mullets, and leg warmers, everything has an "expiration date", including your makeup. Wearing expired makeup can welcome a wide variety of bacteria into your skin, eyes, and lips, including acne breakouts and potentially more serious infections. Plus, old makeup doesn't look as good as it did when it was new; it may even have a spoiled smell. You wear makeup to enhance your beautiful features. Don't hide them under crusty face powders, rancid lipstick, and dried out (possibly bacteria-infested) mascara. We all mourn unused makeup that we once loved. I hear it all the time, “but I spent a fortune on this makeup!” It's just not worth it. Having a skin or eye infection treated by your doctor because of old makeup will probably cost you time, money, and possibly even leave a permanent mark from the infected sore. Convinced? Here are my general guidelines for the average shelf life of most cosmetics:
- Powder based products (e.g. mineral foundation, eye shadows, blushes): 2-3 years
- Liquid foundation: up to 1 year
- Lipstick/gloss/liner: 2 years max for lipstick. Shelf life can be extended by refrigerating. Lip gloss with a wand applicator may have a shorter shelf life. Lip liner 1 to 2 years.
- Mascara/liquid eyeliner: 2-3 months
- Pencil eye liner: 2-3 years
- If any eyeliner, mascara, or shadow was used during an eye infection, get rid of it.
- Women have a tendency to share lip gloss in particular. Ideally don't! It can spread bacteria and viruses such as herpes. Be careful.