We’re all guilty of keeping our makeup a little longer than we should, but what are the real expiration dates on the products we love? Makeup artist Anthony Adams gives you the lowdown.

As a professional makeup artist, time and time again I meet women who show me into their own makeup bags. Now I must say, most of the time I am shocked at what I find: dirty brushes mixed with blunt pencils, and the same makeup they have worn for several months to years.

While we all get complacent and fall in love with certain products, we also have to be aware of infections and hygiene.

So I thought this week I would give you the heads up on the longevity of your favourite products. Yes, they ALL have a shelf life!

Makeup Bag


Mascara = 3 months
The most urgent makeup product we have to consider is our mascara. Due to the risk of eye infections, we need to discard our mascaras every three months. This little product has the shortest lifespan of all of our makeup, as each time you use your mascara you are at risk of transferring bacteria from your eye and into your mascara tube. Also if you find that your mascara is drying up before the three months, then also toss it. If you think that you can just add water or another solution and rewet it, then this is also a big no no, as it will also increase chances of infection. One tip is to avoid pumping your mascara when applying. Pushing and pulling the applicator in and out of the tube will pump air into the product and dry it out quicker.

Eye Pencils = up to 2 years
Ensure you sharpen the tip each time you use your eye pencil. If you do this, it will ensure the life of your pencils for up to two years and will also lower your chance of an eye infection.

Eye Shadows = up to 12 months
Liquid shadows can last for up to twelve months if you ensure that your applicator tips are clean. With powder shadows they can last for up to two years, just ensure you are using clean applicators and brushes to apply.NOTE: If you have recently suffered an eye infection then you should throw away your makeup and any applicators that you have used due to the risk of re-infection. Continuing to use them will heighten your chances of this and we don’t want that!

Foundation = 12-18 months
With your foundations you have two categories: oil based ones you can keep for around 18 months. Just keep a look out for any changes in the solution, such as discolouring or changes in its consistency. If you notice a change it may be time to go shopping!For water based foundations, you can use them for up to 12 months.

Concealer = up to 12 months
With your concealers, due to their habit of drying out, you tend to get about 12 months out of them. Again, if you’re using an applicator to apply, avoid using the same applicator twice in the product. Take what you think you will need, and put it on the back of your hand to apply. (Try doing this with all the products you use).

CHANEL15piecemakeupbrushsetPowders and Blushes = 2 years
Powders can last a good two years. However, if you’re a fan of creme blush, then try keeping it for about one year. Both of these rules apply to bronzers also, in their powder and creme forms. With any ‘liquid’ product, it will tend to age quicker than others.

NOTE: Ensure your brushes are clean each time you use your powders, blushes and bronzers! You will not only be preventing any possible nasties, but you’ll also be ensuring that the colour you’re putting on is the colour that you want and not a mixture of the last few weeks! Clean with a brush cleaner in between uses, then hand wash with a shampoo and warm water every so often. This will also keep the shape of your brushes.

Lipstick and Lip Liners = 2-3 years
With lipsticks I always like to use a brush when applying. This is because you not only get a much better, more precise application, but it’s also a lot more hygienic. As makeup artists, we tend to grab what we need on a palette using a spatula, this enables us to also blend different colours. There’s such variation in views about how long you should keep a lipstick, but roughly two years is a good guide.

With lip liners, again ensure you sharpen them each use, so they can see you through for about three years.
Just remember that these time periods are only a guide. Each product and brand is different, so if you’re keeping an eye out for discolouration, texture and consistency and you aren’t sure, it might be time to discard the item. Who doesn’t love shopping for new products anyway?

And don’t forget, if you have any questions about anything Makeup or Beauty, email me at  [email protected].

xx Ant