Susan Jane White shares her scrumptious ‘I can’t believe it’s beetroot’ beetroot chocolate cake


In defence of cacao from a daily cacao practitioner

Niamh Ennis

The weekend shopping fix: dopamine dressing and beauty that gives back

Holly O'Neill

Are doctor office visits a thing of the past? This new virtual hub might be...


Top of our wish list: candles that are maybe too pretty to burn

Megan Burns

The state of the fashion trend: Do they still exist or matter?

Marie Kelly

This gorgeous redbrick home in Rathmines is on the market for €825,000

Lauren Heskin

Boudoir photoshoots: ‘I wanted to create a place for women who don’t currently love their...

Jennifer McShane

Join this virtual event, where global leaders ask ‘what’s next’ for businesses, live events and...

Shayna Sappington

Image / Beauty

How Long Should You Keep Old Makeup Products For?

by Jennifer McShane
25th Jul 2015

We all know how easy it is to get attached to your favourite beauty products. Even the best of us can be terrible for hoarding endless beauty products that we just haven’t the heart to throw away. And don’t even get us started on the heartbreak that is all about the Limited Edition beauty products – we shed an extra tear when these go in the bin. But the point is that all your products, apart from one or two do need to be thrown away at some point. The products usually aren’t made to last for years and putting a decades-old foundation on your skin is never going to be a good thing.

Unfortunately, the bad thing is that when it comes to knowing the expiration date of your makeup bag contents, it’s not very cut and dry. According to Well&Good, the only products required to have expiration dates are items like sunscreens, acne products and antiperspirants, so it’s up to your trained eye to know when it’s time to toss that lipstick. However, most beauty products do have a rough guideline for how long they stay at their best, as below:


Though, you can initially tell if you’re using your makeup past its sell-by date if the texture changes if it separates or has a strange scent.”It’s time to toss your products if the texture has changed; you see signs of separation; the odor shifts to a funky note, or the color dramatically changes,” said cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. “Separation is normal for some natural products that contain oil, like foundation, so give it a shake and if it mixes seamlessly), then it’s fine.”

There are some general guidelines you can follow for certain products. These aren’t set in stone, but good to know the next time you’re clearing out your makeup bag:


Hold onto it for 18?24 months, or until the smell changes. “Think of how much bacteria could linger on the lipstick and the oils in them could become rancid. Rancidity is expedited by heat, so don’t leave your lipstick locked in the car on a hot day or any hot room.

Blush, Eyeshadow & Pressed Powders


These can last up to 12?18 months, according to Wilson. “Clean your brushes often to avoid contamination and make them last even longer. For the most part, pressed powders won’t ever really turn bad because there’s no oil or water in them, and can usually last a few years before really turning.”

Lip gloss


Glosses will last for at least 12 months, closer to 18 if it’s an oil-based product and you store it properly. But the nature of the product?pulling the wand out of the tube, letting in oxygen, and then dipping it back in with your saliva on it?ups the chances of it turning. You should know by the texture of the gloss on your lips.


We think this is the beauty product that has the shortest shelf life. Most will say that mascara can dry out in as little as six weeks, some six months; it depends on the brand. Since mascara is wet, it’s going to be prone to some serious bacteria growth. And as the eyes are so sensitive you should be extra careful when it comes to using old mascara. You’ll know as soon as it starts to clump and flake on the lashes, it’s time to buy a new one.




Pencils, you’ll be happy to hear can quite literally last years. As long as you sharpen them on a regular basis, you can hold on to these as long as it takes to use them up. Happy days, you can stock up on these so.

Liquid Foundation, Concealer & Tinted Moisturisers

These products are often made with plant oils, so if you’re careful to avoid contamination and store them away from heat, they’ll last longer than water-based products, according to Wilson. As we mentioned above, smell and colour check will let you know when these have turned. As long as you wash your hands first and use clean brushes or sponges, these should last around 12?18 months.

Keep an eye on all your products (storing them in a cool, dry place is key too) and trust your instinct, however hard it may be, when it comes to throwing them away. If they look or feel funny on the skin, treat yourself to some nice, shiny new products.

Via Well&Good


Also Read

hair dye
A guide to bold and bright temporary home hair dye

By Holly O'Neill

Soap has had a make-over and is cool again

Bar soap, one of beauty’s most unsexy sells, is cool...

By Holly O'Neill

Trending hair accessories for when you really need to visit the hairdresser

When you can't get to the hairdresser, it's time for some hair dressing.

By Holly O'Neill

#ShopIrish Spotlight: Stories Parfums, the niche fragrance range exploring the power of perfume

Supporting Irish business is a passion of ours at IMAGE...

By Holly O'Neill

This €12 conditioner is like lipgloss for your hair

By Holly O'Neill

The self-gifting beauty guide to Valentine’s Day

You might not be filled with love right now, or drowning in dates, but if anyone deserves a gift, a bit of attention and to feel a bit spoiled right now, it's you. These new little luxuries will pick you up and give you some much-needed indulgence.

By Holly O'Neill

The greatest under-eye masks for dark circles and de-puffing tired eyes

Remember to take a few minutes to treat yourself. These...

By Holly O'Neill

What’s in your vanity cabinet? Three IMAGE beauty writers reveal the skincare products they can’t live without

From gua shas to day creams, we asked three of our beauty...