You open up your travel makeup bag, ready to pack for your next holiday and you find that lipstick you forgot in there from your trip last year. Do you (a) think “Yaasss! Makeup packing complete” or (b) *Eww* and chuck it straight in the bin?

One of the questions I get time and time again is does makeup expire? The short answer is yes! One thing to be aware of though is there are so many kinds of makeup products with different compositions (cream v powder), which varies the shelf life of each product.

It’s super important you keep track of how old your makeup is as you can have a reaction to expired makeup. Below are the guidelines we were taught through my training, along with some other tips I’ve picked up along the way:

💛 Primers & Foundation – General rule of thumb is 12 months for liquid and cream products. It doesn’t matter if your primer or foundation is water or oil-based, you shouldn’t keep using a foundation past the 12 month mark. Liquid and cream products are less hygienic than powdered products and build up bacteria and other nasties faster.

Pro tip: Always shake a foundation before using it to ensure the pigment and other minerals in the product are well mixed together to ensure a smoother application. 

💛 Highlighter / Contour / Blusher – Just like with foundations, cream based products will only last 12 months. However, powder based products will last up to 2 years. Personally these products don’t last me 6 months as I use them so fast – who doesn’t want that glow!?

💛 Eyeshadows – We all have an eyeshadow palette lying around from 2015. Don’t bother denying it. The question is, can we still use it? Pressed eyeshadows last up to 4 years! So yes – we can still safely use our Original Urban Decay Naked palette, which we found again last week! Cream eyeshadows are a little different – they generally last up to 12 months assuming you take good care of them. Once they dry up they are a little hard to revive. Check out my previous post for the magic spray that assists with bringing dried cream products back to life again.

💛 Eyeliner – Cream or gel eyeliners face the same issues as cream eyeshadows so 12 months is their maximum life, assuming care has been taken. For eyeliner pencils, these can last up to 2 years. There is added protection with the coating on the actual product of pencil eyeliners. However, don’t forget to pop that lid on after you’ve finished!

💛 Mascara – Alas mascara’s are the things that expire the quickest and also the product you need to take the most care with. Discontinue use of a mascara after 3 months, regardless of whether it is finished or not. Mascara wands pick up all the bugs off your eyelashes and they fester in the mascara tube whilst awaiting your next application. I try not to think about it too much. Whenever you are getting makeup services provided, always insist on a disposable mascara wand being used. No exceptions.

💛 Lip sticks – 3 years! Thank goodness for that – cos we all know we have too many to get through!

💛 Lip liners – Much like eyeliner pencils, these can last up to 2 years. If you do leave the lid off the pencil and it dries up prior to the 2 year mark, try giving it a good sharpen to see if you can revive the product. If this doesn’t work then it’s RIP lip liner.

Another important tip I’ve found is to make sure you know why your products smell like and feel like. When I first purchase a new product I make sure to smell it and become familiar with that smell. That way if I smell it later on and it has a tinge of something off then I know it’s time has come. Also knowing how your products feel is also important. If you eye shadow is feeling a bit more chalky than it originally did then the pallet may be nearing the end of it’s useful life.

The guidelines above are just that, guidelines. You can’t expect your cream eyeshadows to last the full 12 months if you leave the lid off. You need to take care of your products and know how to treat ’em right ☺️

As a makeup artist, I go through a fair bit of product. However, I still have a spreadsheet where I keep track of all my makeup and other inventory. I have the expiry dates by the products so I know exactly when it’s time to ditch the product if I still have it hanging around.

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