Is Bacteria Growing in Your Makeup: When Does Makeup Expire?

If you have ever seen this symbol on your makeup it indicates how long to keep your product after opening before it needs to be replaced.

Knowing when to throw away your makeup can be confusing but there are normally general guidelines as to when should you replace makeup. This knowledge is especially vital for those who want to become a makeup artist because you must keep your products sanitary to be used on multiple faces. Obviously if your products are unopened and stored at the right temperature they will be OK for a
considerable amount of time. However, once they have been opened and air has gotten to the product even if you never have used it and closed it within seconds, it is no longer considered a new and unopened product. At that point the countdown has begun.

The preservatives added to product formulas will not prevent them from expiring.  Additionally, products that you are constantly dipping your fingers or not so clean makeup brushes in are prone to becoming a recreational resort for all kinds of yucky bacteria.  Many brands will have a handy dandy symbol with a number like 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 printed on the label. This indicates how many months from time of opening you should keep the product before replacing it. Use the following chart wisely my fellow lovely makeup junkies, to keep yourself on your toes to avoid any infections, rashes or irritations that can be caused by using old makeup. Follow our chart for General guidelines on makeup expiration.Remember to store your makeup in a cool dry place and to take notice of any discoloration, separation or any off smells which can be an indication that your product has gone rancid. It is good practice to write the date of opening on the underside of the product as a reminder of when it will need to be discarded and replaced.

{Makeup Expiration Timetable}

Mascara, Eyeliners

Mascara & Liquid Liner: 3 months

Gel Eyeliners: 6 months


Liquid Foundation(pump/pour): 1 year

Cream Foundation(jar): 6 months

Mineral Powder Foundation: 2-3 yrs


Powder Blushes: 1 year

Cream blushes: 6 months


Eye Shadows

Powder Eyeshadow: 2yrs

Liquid Eyeshadow: 6months to 1 yr


Lipsticks & Lip/Eye Pencils

2-3 years


Lip Glosses & Balms

1 year


Eye Creams & Serums

6 months


Cleansers, Toners & Exfoliators

1 year


Nail Polish

1-2 years



2-3  years


In addition to heeding the disposal timetable, there are a few other habits to practice for the sake of safety and sanitation. Please remember to close your products tightly, wash your hands before handling makeup and dipping them into products. Avoid double dipping with your tools and stock up on disposable tools like mini plastic spatulas to remove product instead of fingers when possible. Keep brushes and tools clean. If you drop any caps or lids on the floor please wash before placing them back onto your produc. If you have gotten an infection after using the product, throw it away immediately.

Apani Smith is a professional licensed cosmetologist, avid beauty junkie, also a revered Indie Hip Hop Icon, sleep deprived mom and foodie extraordinaire.  Get social with @apaniclassic on Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest  to see more original work and life imitating art.

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