Use it or Lose it!


Chances are that deep in the recesses of your vanity drawer is something that in makeup years dates back to the cosmetics Paleolithic era — old, decaying, and in some cases, possibly contaminated with unseen, but nonetheless nasty, bacteria.

Don’t be embarrassed. Most of us have some kind of makeup that is so old Cleopatra could have swiped it on to pretty her pout.

When to Say Goodbye?

It’s important to note that since most cosmetics are not required by law to post expiration dates, how long to safely keep your makeup is an area rife with ambiguity and open to a great deal of interpretation.To that end, we’re offering some suggestions in a range.

  • Anti-aging and acne treatments:Three months to a year. Antioxidants are easily oxidized, so be on the lookout for any changes in color.
  • Body lotion: Two to three years, particularly if it’s in a pump container.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel: About three years.
  • Bath oil: One year.
  • Sunscreen: Check the package for an expiration date.
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months. Make sure you’re diligent about replacing these items to prevent contamination and infections.
  • Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years. Sharpen them before each use as a way to preserve them and keep them clean.
  • Foundation: About two years. Most bottles are designed to last that long. And if you don’t use it, chances are you didn’t love it to begin with.
  • Perfume: About two years. To get more mileage out of a perfume, resist the temptation to display a pretty bottle on your vanity. Instead, stash it away in a cool, dark place.
  • Nail polish: One year.
  • Hairstyling products: Three to five years. Most are alcohol-based, which helps preserve the formula.
  • Bar soap: Up to three years.
  • Shaving cream: About two years.
  • Deodorant: Up to two years.
  • Mascara: Replace every two to six months, Always toss out dry mascara. Never add water to extend its life.
  • Skin Care Products (such as serums and moisturizers): No more than two years, much less if they are stored in jars.
  • Blushes: Toss every six months to two years.
  • Powders: Keep for between two and three years.
  • Lipsticks, glosses and pencils: Replace every one to three years, but should be tossed if you’ve had any kind of infection.

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