How Long Should You Keep Your Makeup, Skincare or Fragrance?

prod_5265942_xl_2Okay, we’re all guilty of hanging on to these products for longer than we should. Studies have shown that old cosmetics can harbor bacteria, mold, and other germs, including potentially dangerous staph bacteria. And they can be less efficient as well. Commonsense and your own judgment should come first in determining the shelf life for all personal care products. If it is smelling funny or has changed in color and consistency, can be a tell-tale sign that it has got to go! Don’t take chances, use this handy guide to determine how to keep your collection of products fresh and your skin healthy.

Makeup for the FaceFoundations and concealers that are oil-based should last 18 months, water-based ones should last for 1 year. But if you dip your fingers into the product or use a stick concealer directly on your face, you could be transferring germs. In that case, six months to 1 year of use might be recommended. And as always, if the color or consistency changes, throw the remainder away and buy new makeup for the face.

Makeup for the LipsLip products generally last the longest, most will last 1 or 2 years. Lipstickslip linerslip glosses, and lip care may change color or consistency over time. If the wax drys out, they may not apply easily. Lip gloss that has a wand that touches your mouth and goes back into the tube, should be toss after six months to a year. Cold sores are caused by a herpesvirus so you should toss any makeup you have been using on your lips. Also never share your gloss! And if it smells bad, throw it out and buy new makeup for the lips.

Makeup for the Eyes: Mascara is applied to one of the most sensitive areas of your face and should be replaced every 3 months. Because the process of applying involves moving the wand from lashes to bottle and back, the risk of introducing bacteria is high. It is important to make sure that it is clean and sanitary. Sensible and simple eye hygiene is to buy new mascara every three months. Liquid eyeliners fall into the same category as mascara — a brush that touches your eye goes back into a tube of wet product where bacteria can grow. Three months is the rule of thumb here, too. Powder eyeshadows or blushes are safe for about 2 to 3 years since bacteria have a hard time growing on dry surfaces. But if you dip a wet brush or sponge into these products, their shelf life decreases to a year or less. Gel or cream eye and face makeup tend to lose their texture within six months or so. And since they come in contact with your eyes and face, they’re more prone to sprouting bacteria that can lead to infections. If you notice a color change in either powder or cream varieties, then it is time to buy new eye makeup.

Makeup Pencils: Lip Liners, Brow Pencils or Eye Liner Pencils can easily last three years. The best way to ensure that they remain safe to apply is to keep them well sharpened and store them with the cap on. Also be sure to clean your sharpener regularly! Tip: if the pencil starts to stick and get more difficult to use, it’s probably dried out. Time to toss it and buy new makeup.

Makeup for the Nails: It’s basically impossible for bacteria to live in the chemicals that comprise nail color, top/base coats or nail treatments. Use visual cues to figure out if your nail makeup is still usable. Nail polish generally lasts about two years. Shake before applying to mix the pigment that has separated. The less it’s exposed to air and sunlight, the longer it lasts. Store in the refrigerator. If it’s gotten thick, dried out, or separated even after you shake it, it is time to buy new nail makeup.

Skincare/Moisturizers: This product should last for about 3 years from manufacturing date. Discard sooner if they have an off odor or overall texture seems to have changed and buy new skincare products. A article quotes Dr. Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist, and author of Heal Your Skin. She recommends keeping your skincare stash in the fridge citing your products will last longer and the cold will give your skin a glow.

Acne treatments: This product should last for about two years from manufacturing date. Discard sooner if they have an off odor or overall texture seems to have changed and buy new acne treatments.

Sun Care: Always check the expiration date on the product but most are three years after it’s manufactured. But there is no consensus about how long a sunscreen retains effectiveness after it has been opened. To prevent skin cancer and to be on the safe side, every year buy new sunscreen.

Fragrance: The shelf life of most fragrances are 3 to 5 years from manufacturing date. Store in a cool, dry place away from any sunlight. Perfumes with higher content of essential oils have a longer shelf life. If the scent has faded, buy new fragrances.

Deodorant: These products should last for 2 to 3 years. The active ingredients don’t last forever, and once they’re inert, the deodorant isn’t effective and it’s time to buy new deodorants.

Makeup BrushesTo keep them clean, wash weekly with warm soapy water. If they lose their shape or hairs, buy new makeup brushes.

Makeup Sponges: These makeup tools can be used for applying and blending foundation, blush, powder, etc. To keep them clean, wash them weekly in warm soapy water. Consider discarding them monthly. Buy new makeup sponges.


Take a tour of my beauty store and some trend-setting fashion. Now is a great time to clean out your makeup stash or update your beauty look. We are all guilty of hanging on to a look too long or products longer than we should. Check out this great selection of specially priced beauty offers in Avon Makeup Sales & Specials. Bookmark and check often! My store is updated each campaign with new products and special offers every two weeks. Don’t forget to read my AVON Insider Blog on Beauty to hopefully inspire you. Also, you’ve heard about subscription services like Birchbox, ipsy, POPSUGAR or Sephora? Another fun way to get different products to try is through my VIP Beauty Service!

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