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Makeup Does NOT Last Forever…

The complete guide to makeup expiration dates.

With the life span of most beauty products ranging from one to three years, there is plenty of time to get the most out of them. After that, however, everything from your eye shadows to your blush can be prone to yeast, fungi and other bacterial growth. Though this is the most extreme scenario, old makeup will undoubtedly end up being less effective after its sell-by date. Check the casing or the inlay for a product description – often an expiry date will be listed.


To preserve makeup as long as possible, keep it stored in a cool, dark, dry space. Steamy bathrooms and other damp locations are not ideal. Keep makeup casings clean and wipe down occasionally with an alcohol rub or antibacterial wipe. Another top tip: the more moisture a product has, for instance foundation, and the closer it comes to your eyes, the shorter its shelf life.

Here’s how to look after each item in your makeup arsenal:


Shelf-life 3-6 months

Eye infections can be of real concern as bacteria can enter mascara each time air is introduced – so every time you use it, basically. After three to six months, mascara should go in the trash. If you’re not sure whether your mascara or liquid eyeliner has gone off, check for dryness, caking or clumping and bad odours.

Our pick:
Lancôme Hypnôse Drama
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet False Cils Noir Radical
Rimmel London Day to Night Mascara black


Shelf-life 2 years

Lipsticks have a long shelf life, because they’re not liquid-based. You’ll be able to tell your lipstick is bad once it begins to dry out or smell bad.

Our pick:
Make Up Forever Artist Rouge lipstick
Illamasqua Antimatter lipstick
MAC See Sheer lipstick


Shelf-life 6-12 months for oil-based; 12-18 months for water-based

A lot depends on the container. The less the liquid foundation comes into contact with your fingers, the less chance of bacteria entering your product. When you start to notice the product separating, or get an uneven or streaky finish, it’s time to chuck it. 

Our pick:
Clarins Skin Illusion Natural Radiance foundation
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish
Clinique Beyond Perfecting powder makeup – Use code RMZM for upto 10% off
Missha The Style under eye brightener
Nars Radiant creamy concealer


Shelf-life 12 months if cream-based; 2 years if powder-based

if you notice a change in texture, or a dull grey film on your product, it’s expired. Make sure to regularly clean your makeup brushes to help keep them bacteria-free. Replace eyeshadows more regularly, since you use it on your eyes.

Our pick:
Bourjois Little Round Pot blush
Tarte Tarteist Pro Glow highlight & contour palette
NYX Professional Makeup ultimate shadow palette
Shany Hidden Gems 15-color face & body baked palette
Bellápierre Cosmetics Shimmer 9 stack


Shelf life 2 years

Heat is the enemy of nail polish, so keep those bottles out of the sun and store them upright. If it starts separating, it’s time to chuck it.

Our pick:
Sephora Collection Color Hit nail polish
Maybelline Forever Strong nail varnish


Shelf life 1 year

Pencils last longer because they’re constantly being sharpened – but you’re still using it near your eye, so keep it out of the steamy hot bathroom to avoid bacteria getting a foothold.

Our pick:
Barry M Cosmetics bold waterproof eyeliner
Benefit Eye Bright eye liner
Urban Decay Brow Blade waterproof eyebrow pencil & ink stain


Shelf-life 8-10 years

Keep your perfume boxes in a cool, dark place – preferable still in their boxes – and away from sunlight, which will change the scent.

Our pick:
Narciso Rodriguez For Her Pure Musc
Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet
Cacharel Noa EDT – Use code RMZM for upto 10% off

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