Getting rid of expired makeup

Just like food expires so does makeup and when it does it can be harmful so you should throw it out. By now most of us know that we should throw our mascaras away after 3-6 months but when should we throw nail polishes and brow pencils out?

Most products now come with a guide on the packaging, a little tub like image that says 3M/18M etc meaning 3 month/18months but it also comes down to common sense. I’ve put together a list below but also remember that if if is a foundation you are sticking your finger in daily it’s probably going to need to be thrown away earlier than a foundation you save for special occasions and has a pump.

As a general rule liquid/creams expire quicker than powders but keep an eye on the colour, texture and scent of a product. If it changes it is usually a sign that it has gone off so don’t keep using it. As all my products are for personal use I don’t stick to the ‘rules’ too closely and if its a product that I’ve only used once and smells/looks fine than I may keep it for an extra few months but that’s up to your discretion.

I almost gave up doing this post as every group of products would have a huge variation in expiration dates, for example one lipstick would say 12months and the other 24months- so which is right? Use this post simply as a guide and also take the brands expiration dates with a little pinch of salt and some common sense.

The one group I would try to stick to is the first one, get into a habit of throwing away Mascara, liquid Liners and makeup sponges every 3-6 months to avoid infections. 

Lipsticks and Lipgloss have around a 12-18 month life span although I find lipgloss to typically go off quickest. Some foundations, especially tinted moisturisers only last 12 months but some vary so once again it’s worth checking. 

Pencils for brows, lips and eyes as well as cream blush/shadows and concealers typically last about 18-24 months. Powder items like eyeshadow, setting powders, blush and bronzer usually last the longest at around 2 years although if your nail polish is still well mixed and applying well I would say it’s still good to use too. 

Admittedly I need a clear out too, I get attached and find it so hard to part with some items. 


  1. 15th April 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Parting with makeup is so hard! However I think if you haven't used the item much within that period then it should be fine! Obviously favourite items probably are used up before the expiration dates! x

    That Girl Rhianna

  2. 15th April 2015 / 12:28 pm

    Thank you for posting the correct usage of various products.keep posting the exact usage for other products apart from the products in this post.

  3. 15th April 2015 / 12:36 pm

    I definitely need to do this as well, but I get really attached to some products and just find myself hoarding them.

  4. 15th April 2015 / 1:37 pm

    I don't know if I'd away an entire eyeshadow palette even after 2 years – I do sterilize them every few months with a light alcohol spray… Great points though, so important with mascara and liners to change them.

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  5. 15th April 2015 / 2:50 pm

    I need to clear some of mine out! I did a post like this a while ago as i didn't realise makeup did expire so quickly x
    Emma | Emmys Blog

  6. 15th April 2015 / 7:31 pm

    This is so helpful. Thanks for sharing. I knew mascara expired after 3-6 months, but I was always unsure about foundation and lipstick. I have no idea how long I've had some of my makeup – think I need to stop hoarding! Haha.

  7. 16th April 2015 / 6:56 pm

    Super helpful, I definitely need a clear out! x

  8. 17th April 2015 / 10:31 am

    I hate throwing makeup away if there is still loads left – so I tend to keep things way longer than I probably should! But like you said, I just use common sense and if something has changed in scent, texture, colour etc. then it goes in the bin but otherwise I just keep my products clean and only use them on myself so I tend to be ok (touch wood!)
    Nicola x (@itsneecola)

  9. 17th April 2015 / 8:09 pm

    I think this is really important and something i definitely need to do more!

  10. 29th April 2015 / 5:50 am

    So glad I came across this. I recently started filming more beauty videos for my blog and found that I was holding on to a lot of makeup from way back when that I rarely use. Good to see what I can easily get rid of and keep now 🙂

    Maggie A

  11. Sharon elsie
    7th July 2017 / 12:15 pm

    Throwing my makeup is difficult espicially if there’s still more.I get to attach to most of them that I’m proned to keep all of them.Useful post,I was unaware that makeup expired so quickly.Will definitely need to clear it out after reading this. Sharon Elsie |

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