When I Toss My Makeup: Beauty Expiration Guidelines

toss makeup beauty expiration guidelines
The general guidelines I follow when deciding to toss expired beauty products.

You know those products you never seem to use up? For me, it’s perfume, lip items, and nail polish. I’m always sad when it’s time to admit that a partially used product has expired and needs to be binned, like lip glosses I’ve adored but have been rolling around in my drawer for way too long. Everyone is different when deciding to toss products, and today I’m sharing the general guidelines I follow when deciding if a beauty product is expired.

  • Mascara and liquid liner: 3-6 months. Because these products sit in a moist, bacteria-friendly tube, they’re some of the quickest to expire – the last thing you want is an eye infection. I’ll push the expiration limits with other types of products, but with these my motto is: when in doubt, throw it out.
  • Lipstick and gloss: 1 year – unless you’ve used it while sick, then toss sooner! Lip gloss is another product with bacteria-friendly packaging, so if I’m nearing the 1 year mark, I usually toss it. If I really love a lipstick, I’ll cut off a chunk from the top to reveal some fresh, untouched product below to extend its life a little longer.
  • Foundation, concealer, and cream products: 2 years. I’ve never had a problem holding onto these products a bit longer. I pay attention to how they interact with my skin and as long as I’m not breaking out, I don’t worry about it! Note: SPF in foundation usually expires after a year, so I remember to add some extra sun protection if that time has passed.
  • Powder products: 3+ years. This is more of a personal preference, but I hold onto powder products for a long time. As long as it doesn’t look weird, smell weird, or cause breakouts/reactions on my skin, I see no reason why I should hurry to toss my beloved limited edition eyeshadow or favorite blush. I’m extra careful to always wash my hands and brushes before using powders to reduce bacteria buildup.
  • Skincare products: by packaging recommendations. Most products have the little “use by” expiration icon stamped on the back that advises how many months the product is good for after opening.
  • Nail polish and perfume: as long as it’s good. The only time I toss these products is when they’ve clearly gone bad. Nail polish will start to thicken and dry after a few years. With fragrances, I’ve found that higher end products tend to last longer before the scent goes off, but even so I usually get 2+ years out of a bottle.

In general, I pay attention to how much moisture is in a product and how sanitary I’ve kept it (such as using it with clean hands, avoiding it when sick) when deciding when to toss. How do you decide when to let go of expired products?


  • http://www.erinelizabethmiller.com Erin Elizabeth

    Figures I prefer cream over powder, so that means less time with them :/
    Erin | http://www.erinelizabethmiller.com

  • http://www.kissandmakeupsbeautyblog.com/ Kiss & Make-up

    I’m very careful with skincare and I regularly change my mascara, but eyeshadow, powder formulas and lipsticks often stay for yeaaars…

  • Heather White

    Very insightful. It’s a good idea to throw out certain make up if you’ve used it when you were sick. Great article!


  • Maggie

    I agree with most of these specially the mascara one!


  • https://hellolipstick.com/ June

    I seriously need to be better at throwing out makeup when it reach it’s expiration date – especially mascaras! I feel like I keep them for too long

    June | https://hellolipstick.com/

  • Faith Ng

    I love how you end off with your A initial!!!!Seriously PLL feels!! 🙆🏼😘 And I’ve been a fan of your youtube channel since you started!! Please come to Singapore!!!Or I could fly to US to meet you haha. -Faith,23,Singapore

  • http://morerebe.com/ Rebecca Morgan

    Powder products are the only thing I tend to keep longer than a year, anything liquid or creamy is out fast, especially if it’s not getting any use! These are great guidelines to keep in mind :)

    Rebecca | morerebe.com

  • https://naturallypretty.info Novie

    Its really important to know the expiry date of every products.

    Novie| http://naturallypretty.info/