A Comprehensive Guide to the Shelf Life of your Makeup Products

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All good things must come to an end. Your go-to neutral eyeshadow palette and that lip gloss you carry every weekend in your back pocket have served you well, but when is it time to say goodbye? 

Everything has a shelf life, even if it’s not specified on the label. When it comes to cosmetic and skincare products, there are a few guidelines that should be followed but are rarely advertised to consumers. VALLEY is here to break down everything you need to know about when it’s time to part ways with your old makeup, like that lipliner your mom gave you in high school.

Photo from unsplash.com

As a general rule, opened liquids and creams expire the fastest while opened powders can last much longer. Unopened products are a different story. These usually have a shelf life of up to two years; this is due to the ingredients becoming unstable after exposure to oxygen.

These shelf-life guidelines assume that the products have been opened: 

  • Liquid Foundation: after 6 months to 1 year 
  • Cream Makeup: after 6 months to 1 year 
  • Lipstick: after 1 year 
  • Powder Makeup: after 2 years 
  • Liquid Eyeliner: after 3 months 
  • Pencil Eyeliner: after 2 years  
  • Mascara: after 3 months 
  • Face Moisturizer (tub): after 6 months 
  • Face Moisturizer (pump): after 1 year 
  • Sunscreen: after 1 year 
  • Nail Polish: after 1 year 
  • Perfume: after 8 to 10 years 
  • Synthetic Fiber Makeup Brushes: up to a year if cleaned weekly 
  • Makeup Sponge: after 3 months 
  • Powder Eyeshadow: after 2 years 
  • Cream Eyeshadow: after 6 months 

So what exactly happens if you’re using expired products? Most of the time, nothing! They usually just don’t help you achieve their intended effect. Expired sunscreen, for example, won’t harm you, but it won’t be effective in protecting you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. That being said, some expired ingredients do have the potential to cause irritation or bacterial infections. 

Photo from unsplash.com

VALLEY does not gatekeep. The app “Beauty Keeper” is an organizational tool that went viral on TikTok for its simple usage and efficiency when it comes to keeping track of your beauty products. The way it works is you search your beauty product by identifying the batch code. The app has hundreds of cosmetic brands on record and can tell you the shelf life of the product before and after opening it. It then organizes your registered products into two categories: “my list” and “replace”. Items will move to “replace” when it’s time to part ways. You can also keep track of your products based on personalized information that you input even if the app does not have the brand name and batch code identified. 


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