Makeup Manual: Does Makeup Expire?


If getting organized was one of your New Year’s resolutions, then your makeup bag is probably a good place to start. I’m a bit of a beauty product collector (OK, hoarder…), so it’s especially important that I know when it’s time to give things up. Just because your makeup doesn’t come with a “sell by” date, doesn’t mean it can sit in your vanity drawer for months on end. If you want to keep your skin, hair, and eyes healthy, here’s the breakdown on what to toss and what to keep…


  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner – 3 to 4 months
  • Foundation and concealer – 6 months to a year
  • Lipstick and gloss – 12 to 18 months
  • Lip pencils and eyeliners –18 to 24 months if sharpened regularly
  • Eyeshadows – 12 to 18 months
  • Nail polish – 2 years

Keep in mind that organic, natural cosmetics may have an even shorter shelf life, and be sure to clean your brushes regularly as they can harvest bacteria.

What’s lurking in your makeup bag?

Let me know if you find any real antiques!

Love, Molly

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Sources: Daily Glow, Real Beauty
Photos: Lancome/Sephora, Laura Mercier/Sephora, NARS/Sephora, Urban Decay/Sephora, Stila/Sephora, Dior/Sephora
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