We all want to savor every last drop of our favourite beauty buys, but makeup has a shelf life and while expired products may still appear to be doing their job, they could be causing you harm. Using out of date makeup can result in skin breakouts and irritation… so when should you throw out your makeup? Here’s our guide, which includes makeup expiration dates, to help you know how long your makeup really lasts for...
How long does mascara last? 2-3 months
When to throw it out: Your mascara will last around 2-3 months before it needs binning, or as as soon as the formula turns clumpy and starts to smell unpleasant.
Top tip: Don’t pump the mascara wand in and out of the container during application. This pushes air into the tube, causing the mascara to dry out more quickly and become flaky. Instead, use gentle circular motions to gather product on the wand.
How long does eyeliner last? 6-12 months
When to throw it out: Eyeliner picks up bacteria easily and since you apply it to such a sensitive area, it’s best not to take any risks. Pencils last longer than liquid liners, but sharpen them regularly, and get rid of them when they become dry and chalky.
Top tip: A white film develops on the tip when the pencil is past its best, making it difficult to sharpen.
How long does foundation last? 12-24 months
When to throw it out: Liquid foundation should last up to a year once the seal has been broken. After that, you’ll notice the colour will start to change and the formula will separate. Powder foundations will perform better for longer – up to two years.
Top tip: Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap before using fingers to apply liquid foundation – otherwise you risk spreading germs, which can cause breakouts.
How long do lipstick and gloss last? Up to 2 years
When to throw it out: We’re all guilty of keeping lipstick and gloss for years. Although they’re unlikely to cause too much harm, after two years the texture of lipsticks will become dry, and lip glosses will turn gloopy.
Top tip: Avoid storing in the bathroom as the excess moisture in the air can cause the pigment to break down.
How long do powder eyeshadow and blush last? At least 2 years
When to throw it out: When the formula becomes dry and chalky, making it tricky to pick it up on your brush, it’s time to throw away your powder eyeshadow and blush.
Top tip: Prolong the life of your powder eyeshadow and blush by leaving your base to dry completely on your face before applying them, using a different brush. Never use your foundation brush to apply powdered products: the oils in liquid foundation can linger and oxidise on their surface, making them unusable.
How long does nail polish last? 2 years and beyond
When to throw it out: Nail polish isn’t as susceptible to bacteria because the solvents in it kill microorganisms. Eventually, though, the texture will dry out, look thick and clumpy and will be hard to apply.
Top tip: A few drops of nail polish thinner can help revitalise the formula.
How long does perfume last? 3-5 years
When to throw it out: A perfume’s expiration date is at least three years, but keep an eye on the colour of it. When the fragrance changes in colour, particularly if it turns darker, or if it starts to smell unpleasant, it’s time to bin it.
Top tip: Lighter-based citrus scents are evaporate quicker than others, so for a longer lasting fragrance, opt for oriental or woody notes.
Did you know? If you’re in doubt about your makeup’s expiration date, check the container for an open-pot symbol, also known as the ‘period after opening’ sign. It will have a number followed by the letter M, which indicates the number of months the product will last once opened.