So, we’ve made things easier for you. Here are the shelf-life guidelines for all the major makeup categories at a glance – with ‘retirement’ dates ranging from conservatively cautious to more generally accepted.
Lipstick: 1 to 2 years
The one-year mark applies more for lip gloss than traditional lipstick. If you regularly share your lipstick, consider its lifespan shortened. Overall, dryness and disintegration are good indicators that time is up for your lippie.
Foundation: 6 months to 2 years
When it comes to the longevity of base, a lot has to do with format. If your foundation is in a sealed container and released through pump action, the minimal exposure to air (and contaminants) should keep it in peak condition longer.
Blush: 1 to 2 years
Cream blush has a shorter shelf life than powders, which may last up to 2 years. Keep an eye on the product consistency and shade. If either change, the product is approaching expiry. Use cosmetic sanitisers and clean brushes to help avoid contamination.
Eyeshadow: 1 to 2 years
Because eyeshadow is used in the vicinity of your eyes, some experts recommend a product switch after 6 months. Others say you can use the same palette up to 2 years. Key is using clean brushes consistently, and dumping the shadow if it starts to crack and crumble.
Mascara: 3 to 6 months
Of all makeup products, mascara has probably the shortest lifespan. This is because pumping the mascara wand repeatedly into its tube forces air into a dark, moist environment where germs can thrive. Given enough time, your mascara can dry out and become unusable, or turn into an eye infection risk.
Eyeliner: 6 months to 1 year
Pencil eyeliner has a much longer lifespan than its liquid equivalent. If you’re being especially cautious you can even swap out your liquid and gel liners at three to four months, much like mascara. Increased clumpiness is a good expiration indicator.
Nail polish: 1 to 2 years
Unopened, nail polish could feasibly last indefinitely. Once it’s been exposed to air, though, evaporation takes place and over time it will change consistency and possibly separate until shaking is no longer enough to restore it. Optimal storage can lengthen product life.
Don’t forget: You can probably find a best-before date on your cosmetics and their packaging, as they vary from brand to brand, and formulation to formulation. While you’re in a browsing mood, why not read about the many ways to maximise the life of your products?