Shelf Lives: How Long Can You Keep Makeup?
Get the scoop on lipstick, eyeshadow,
foundation & more
Every woman I know has a pile of makeup in her drawer that she
'sometimes' uses. Translation: Never uses, but keeps just in
case she finally learns how to properly apply blue eyeshadow.
Beauty products do have a shelf life, however, & chances are
that blue eyeshadow with the glimmery bits that you bought a
couple years ago (for Halloween?) has long expired. Here's a
quick guide on the shelf lives of typical beauty products. I've
listed them in alphabetical order.
- Concealer Up
to 12 months.
- Eye liner
Should be sharpened regularly. Will last up to 3 years.
Will also last up to 3 years. Extra tip: A dark
eyeshadow can double as eyeliner, in fact, most makeup
artists swear by eyeshadow used as eyeliner.
You'll need a super-flat eyeliner brush for
this (MAC & Aveda have the best brushes). Get the brush a
little damp & dab in dark eyeshadow (black, brown or deep
jewel-tones work great). Wiggle the brush into your lash
line focusing on the space between your lashes, then sweep
the color just above your lash line.
Check the ingredients: A water-based foundation will last up
to 12 months, oil-based will last up to 18 months. You may
find you need two different shades of foundation each year:
One for summer when your skin is naturally darker & one for
winter when you're lighter. Extra tip: If your
water-based foundation dries out before it's expiry date,
simply add a few drops of alcohol-free toner & shake to get
rid of clumps. No need to do this to oil-based foundations.
Because they contain oil, they will tend to separate. You
have to shake anyway.
- Lip liner Up
to 3 years. Extra tip: Skip the push-up lipliners. They're
expensive, tend to break & you never really know how much
you have left until you run out. No need to spend money on
lip liners, there's no secret to greatness for this product.
Save your money for powders & foundation.
- Lipstick Up
to 4 years, but if it smells rancid, throw it out, it's
spoiled. Extra tip: If you store lipstick in the
refrigerator, it will last longer. Bonus tip: Want your
lipstick to last longer during the day? Shade in lips with
lip liner before applying lipstick.
- Mascara This
product expires the fastest: Throw out after 3 months.
Extra tip: If you don't want your mascara to expire
faster than its fresh date, don't pump the wand in & out,
you're only exposing the product to drying air.
- Nail Polish
Up to 12 months, depending on the quality & how many times
you take it on a plane (the cap always unscrews on me during
flights, leaving my purse a -- fume-y -- mess!)
- Powder Up to