YIKES: Here’s What’s Expired in Your Makeup Bag


We really love our products around here. They keep our skin in check and enhance our features, so most of us couldn’t consider facing the day without them. It’s tempting to add to your beauty hoard regularly — with so many amazing products out on the market, there is always something new to try.

However, if you’re not committed to finishing a luxury product before its expiration date or you’ve stockpiled a heap of your favorite drugstore mascara… you’re going the long route to essentially waste money in the end. Products have a shelf life, and it’s definitely something to consider before making an investment. Here are a few staples we’re willing to bet are in your makeup bag right now with surprisingly short life expectancies.


Beauty Blenders

Throw It Out: 3-6 months

It should come as no surprise that a sponge is going to harbor some pretty unsavory characters, so be sure that you’re properly cleansing your Beauty Blenders once a week at the very least, and trash them before six months of use. The health of your skin depends on it.



Throw It Out: 3-6 months

More so than any other makeup, mascara has a very temperamental and short shelf life. Most products technically expire because their consistency changes over time and the formulation breaks down, but mascara unfortunately also collects a lot of bacteria due to the applicator brush being stored within the product itself. Caking on bacteria-filled product around something as sensitive as your eyes is definitely undesirable, so keep a fresh tube on hand always.


Jar-Packaged Products

Throw It Out: 6 months – 1 year

Makeup and skincare that is packaged in screw-top jars that you dip your fingers or brushes into and are subjected to daily air exposure should not be hanging around for longer than a year. Moisturizers, face masks, primers, Paint Pots, and DipBrow are not worth investing in if you don’t plan to use them frequently enough to finish them in time. Distribute your jar-packaged skincare products with a stainless steel spatula to keep them bacteria-free and stable longer.



Throw It Out: 6-8 months

Similar to mascara, if you are using the provided applicator in your concealer you should know that its days are numbered. Concealers that you are using to cover blemishes are especially important to keep fresh. Expired formulas, especially those containing salicylic acid, can exacerbate a breakout rather than helping to heal and conceal it.



Throw It Out: 6 months – 1 year

Liquid foundations that are distributed by pumps or tubes and protected from air exposure will last you an easy year before the formulation starts to break down, but if you’re using a stick foundation you really should make a point to finish it or throw it out around the six-month mark. Not only will they pick up and house nasty bacteria between uses, but they will also dry out and begin to pill much quicker than their liquid counterparts.



Throw It Out: 1 year

When it comes to skincare, you don’t want to risk not getting the full benefit of the ingredients that you’re paying for. If your products contains SPF, try to use them up within the year. Protecting your skin from UV exposure is the first of The Skincare Commandments, and a compromised or aging formula is not an effective one.



Throw It Out: 6 months – 1 year

Serums containing AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, and peptides shouldn’t last you longer than a year, even if they are packaged in stable airtight pumps. Acids break down quickly, and, while they won’t necessarily cause harm, they’re not doing their job the same way after a certain point. If you’re going to invest in a good product, don’t use it sparingly in the hopes of “making it last” — you’ll just be throwing away money by missing out on its most effective period.



Throw It Out: 3-6 months

Your eyes and eyelash follicles are especially sensitive to exposure to bacteria, so eyeliner presents a daily threat. Liquid eyeliners with felt tip applicators or smudge pots should absolutely be trashed at three months due to their absorption and containment of bad bacteria, and pencil eyeliners should be sharpened at least every other use, especially if you’re tight lining your inner upper lash line. 



Throw It Out: 1 – 2 years

If you’ve ever managed to completely finish an entire tube of lip color, congrats, you’re better than most of us! Liquid lip formulas have that whole “applicator-in-product” situation that you need to worry about thanks to the ever presence of bacteria, so toss those tubes after a year. Lipsticks in tubes start to dry out around two years, but if you notice the color, texture, or smell is off before that mark… it’s time to let it go.


Pressed Powders

Throw It Out: 1-2 Years

Eyeshadows, blush, powder foundations, and bronzers will last you a considerable time, but they aren’t intended to hang out forever. Powder formulas begin to break down after their very first use — touching a brush into the product and then against the oils on your face repeatedly will start to compromise them straight away. It’s something to consider when you’re eyeballing a new palette or two. Or five.


What makeup products do you use most frequently? Which tend to stick around for too long in your drawers and cabinets?