How long does one lipstick last?

04 Apr.,2024


Be honest, when it comes to make-up expiry dates, are you as clued up as you should be?

Is it really okay that you've held on to the same lipstick for years on the off chance you might require a bright orange lip? Pencil eyeliners surely don't actually have to be chucked until you've sharpened them to within an inch of their lives? And what's wrong with keeping an old-faithful blusher forever?

We totally get it. If you've invested in the best mascara, or treated yourself to the best foundation, you want to hold on to them until you've used every last drop. But keeping old products past their prime could expose you to harmful toxins, causing some troublesome health problems as a result. If it's never crossed your mind before, it's okay, we're not judging. The truth is, make-up expiry dates are confusing and not always glaringly obvious.

Luckily, as a team of beauty editors who have absorbed all of the necessary info from the skin and make-up artists we work with every day, we've got it sussed. To help make expiry dates easier to understand, we've pulled together a need-to-know guide on when it's time to bin your beauty buys. Here at Marie Claire UK, we are all about preventing things going to waste, so we've even included what signs to look out for, so that you're not throwing away make-up too early either, when in reality it's probably fine to use. Keep scrolling for your comprehensive guide to make-up expiry dates – from powder and concealer, to mascara and lipstick...

When does foundation and concealer expire?

When to toss

Even the best concealers and foundations in the biz have expiry dates—and it's really important to keep on top of them. If you're used to spending big on your skincare, know that slapping on expired foundation and concealer could be working against your investment. Kimberley Hulme, Head of Clinic at Face the Future, says, "Using expired products for an extended period of time can actually start to reverse all the hard work you will have done by investing in the right skincare products to begin with."

On top of that, if your foundation is formulated with skincare ingredients, those ingredients could become ineffective if they've expired. So, by keeping on top of this, you are helping to ensure that you skin is getting as much benefit as possible from the products you are using, explains Hulme.

The lifecycle of your foundation and concealer will depend on its ingredients. A water-based product will last up to 12 months, while oil-based foundations will make it to 18 months because oil is a natural preservative.

Expiry signs

As explained above, some products might last longer than others, so what expiry signs should you look out for? Things like smell and consistency are always ones to keep an eye on. When the oils rise to the top and the consistency thickens, this means that your foundation will create an uneven, streaky and inconsistent finish, and it's probably time to replace it.

How to protect

You can prevent your foundation from separating by stashing it somewhere cool and regularly shaking the liquid to mix the oils, purified water and make-up particles together. Keep your application tools clean too and avoid touching your foundation as much as possible to keep bacteria at bay. 

When does blusher, bronzer and face powder expire?

When to toss

Do make-up expiry dates apply to powder? Definitely yes, and the recommended time to keep it is 18 months. Powder products don’t contain water, so it's harder to make bacteria grow. Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson advises to look out for the ones with botanical extracts such as aloe, green tea extract and chamomile. Wilson explains that oils will cling to the bristles of your brush and transfer to your product when applying powder over liquid or cream face products, which causes a dull grey film on the product.

Expiry signs

Again, always keep an eye on things such as the consistency or smell. Also, if you've noticed a hard rim on your powder, this could be due to minerals in your blush mixing with oils from your skin overtime, and it might be time to say goodbye.

How to protect

Always close your compact or twist the lid shut after use to avoid oxidation, which can change the colour of powders. Also, avoid using an emollient or greasy concealer before you apply. Plus, make sure your brush is always clean before each use to limit the amount of oil that ends up in your powder. Allow to dry and it’s good as new.

When does mascara expire?

When to toss

Make-up expiry dates are arguably most important to keep in mind when it comes to mascara. Three months with everyday use and six months with occasional use. Wet environments harbour bacteria, which is why our most-loved beauty product has such a short expiration period. Bacteria also naturally exist on our eyelashes and these germs are transferred from our eyes to our wands and into the mascara tube. 

Sharon Copeland, optician at Feel Good Contacts says, "You should ensure your mascara isn’t older than six months, or you could be putting your eyes at risk of (pink eye), irritation or a stye."

Expiry signs

If it smells funky, it's gone off, but trust us, just toss it after three to six months. It might be heartbreaking to see your make-up expire, but getting rid of that mascara now is better for you in the long run. Ideally, you want to hear a popping sound when you take your wand out of the tube. If you don't hear that, chances are too much air has managed to get into the tube.

How to protect

To help make mascara last longer, don’t pump the wand, as it pushes air into the tube, causing it to dry out. Instead, draw it out and twist against the tube’s interior to pick up product. If your mascara dries up, revive with a few drops of baby oil.

When does eyeliner expire?

When to toss

So you've splurged on one of the best eyeliners that money can buy. Just how long can I get out of it, you ask? Luckily, eyeliners tend to last that bit longer than complexion make-up staples like foundation, and can last anywhere from three months to three years. Again, it's all to do with the formula.

The best liquid eyeliner will have the same bacteria-prone formula and packaging as mascara, whereas a pencil eyeliner will have greater lasting power because as you sharpen them you remove bacteria that you pick up from using it on your eyes.

Expiry signs

If a white film that can’t be sharpened off develops on your eyeliner, replace it with a new one.

How to protect

Limit germs in liquid eyeliner by cleaning the tip after each use. If you use a pencil, ensure to regularly sanitise your sharpener with cotton wool and rubbing alcohol to stop bacteria from dwelling on the razor and ending up on your eyeliner. (Shudder.)

When do lipstick and lipgloss expire?

When to toss

A make-up look just isn't finished without a swipe of one of the best lipsticks.

Lipstick doesn't hold much bacteria, so it can last between 12 - 18 months. Although lipstick and gloss are packed with preservatives such as parabens, essential oils and vitamins to ward off germs, these naturally start to break down after a year.

Expiry signs

Any beading of moisture, funky smells or chalky texture means it's time to toss. Also keep an eye out for darkening or patching in the colour of the lipstick in the bullet. 

How to protect

Store your summer hue in the fridge. Keeping lipstick and gloss away from heat slows the breakdown of ingredients. Also, don’t apply lipstick straight after eating - it cultivates bacteria.

Do make-up brushes expire?

When to toss

The best make-up brushes really are an investment that will go the distance, and the ones worth splurging on can last a long time if well cared for. But there are still some signature signs of expiry to watch out for.

Expiry signs

When the bristles start falling out, that’s when you know it’s time to replace it. Similarly, once your brush starts producing subpar application results, it's probably time to start considering new investments.

How to protect

Brushes should be washed at least once every two weeks, and try to spot-clean your eye brushes after each use to avoid infections. All you need is warm water, mild soap and a dash of olive oil; give your brush a swirl (the olive oil breaks down the oil in make-up), rinse thoroughly, and voilà – good as new.

Make-up expiry tips:

  • If your product looks or smells funny, chuck it out.
  • Wash your hands every single time you go to apply or reapply your make-up. Avoiding getting any bacteria into any of the formulas will make them last longer.
  • If you've had a cold sore, get rid of any lip products that would have come into contact with it.
  • Write the date you bought a product on some masking tape and stick it on to remind you when you should throw it out.
  • Wash your make-up bag regularly. We are all guilty of letting it get into a state, but cleaning it on the reg will keep bacteria at bay.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's probably time to toss some of those makeup products you've been holding on to. All makeup products have an expiration date and, while it may be hard to hear, their shelf life is much, much shorter than you think. It might be tough throwing away that favorite foundation or that blush you only bring out for special occasions or that eyeshadow palette you've been clinging to since high school, but makeup expiration dates are no joke. Cosmetics can trap bacteria, which means replacing them regularly is necessary to try to avoid skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes.

According to makeup artist Ashely Rebecca, "Skin irritations such as rashes, bumps, and burning sensations can occur when using expired products. If you use mascara or eyeliner that’s past its expiration date, you can experience swelling, itchiness, or redness. It’s always best to see a dermatologist immediately if you experience any kind of reaction."

But here's a caveat: Unlike the contents of your fridge, the use-by date on your makeup products relies on the first day you use them, not the purchase date. "If you’re ever stuck wondering, all products have a small symbol that look like a jar with a number/letter on the inside, ex: 12M. This means, usually, that a product has a 12-month shelf life upon opening," says celebrity makeup artist Britty Whitfield. "For makeup, I always follow what the time frame is in the symbol. The worst possible thing would be to use an old, oxidized foundation."

So how do you know when to toss that foundation or mascara? Separation or changes in texture along with foul smells are dead giveaways the product has gone bad.

While it's crucial to look out for those telltale signs, it's still helpful to get a general idea of how long each product is meant to last. Keep reading to learn the makeup expiration dates for every kind of cosmetic, from blush to eyeliner and beyond.

Meet the Expert

  • Margarita Lolis, MD, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist specialized in cosmetic and medical dermatology.
  • Ashely Rebecca is a celebrity and editorial makeup artist based in New York City.
  • Britty Whitfield is a celebrity makeup artist and esthetician based in New York City.

Elnora Turner / Byrdie 



Charlotte Tilbury

Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation


Shelf Life: Six months to one year

Maintenance Tips: Keep your foundation germ-free for longer by keeping your fingers away from the neck of the bottle. Instead, gently drip the formula onto the back of your hand before you apply. "Products, where you dip your finger to apply on the skin, are more susceptible to bacterial contamination," says Margarita Lolis, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "Lotions with a pump are generally safer and less likely to be contaminated. Products with less preservatives, such as those made for sensitive, have less preservatives and bacteria are more likely to grow." If you notice your foundation starting to separate, it’s definitely time to toss it.

Liquid Highlight


High Beam Liquid Highlighter


Shelf Life: Six months to one year

Maintenance Tips: While not as long-lasting as their powder counterparts, the liquid highlighter can last up to one year. Store in a cool, dry place and opt for a disposable applicator when applicable to maximize its shelf life.


Tarte Cosmetics

Shape Tape Concealer


Shelf Life: Six months to one year

Maintenance Tips: Similar to foundation, concealer can last up to a year. Keep the product out of direct sunlight, avoid touching the application with your fingers, and when you notice separation, it's time to toss.

Blush and Powder

MAC Cosmetics

Powder Blush


Shelf Life: Two years

Maintenance Tips: The longest-lasting color cosmetics you’ll ever buy, powder-formula blushes last around two full years. "Ideally, from personal experience, powders can be extended for longer periods of time if you’re actively and regularly cleaning your brushes. Otherwise, you’re putting old makeup, germs, and skin cells into that powder product every time when your tools are dirty," says Whitfield. Always, always keep your brushes clean!

Cream Blush and Multiple Sticks


Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm


Shelf Life: 12 to 18 months

Maintenance Tips: Toss cream blush and “multiple” sticks (as in, products you can use on your cheeks and lips) if you notice a change in texture.

Byrdie Tip

Always use clean hands when applying any product to help keep the tubes and pots germ-free.


Lipstick, Liner, and Gloss




Shelf Life: One year

Maintenance Tips: It’s time to toss your favorite lip products when you notice a change in their texture—whether that means they dry out or they get goopy. Make your favorite red last longer by keeping it in a cool, dry place (not in your hot car).


Brow Pencil and Kohl Eyeliner


Le Crayon Khôl Smoky Eyeliner


Shelf Life: One year

Maintenance Tips: Pencils can last longer than most eye products since they’re constantly being sharpened. Keep your liners away from your steamy bathroom to extend their life.



Volum' Express the Falsies Mascara


Shelf Life: Three months

Maintenance Tips: Replacing your mascara regularly is crucial for avoiding eye infections. Switch out every three months (or sooner if you notice the formula getting clumpy or starting to smell funny, signaling it’s gone bad). And, of course, don’t ever share mascara, as it can cause cross contamination.

Liquid Eyeliner


Line and Define Skinny Liquid Eyeliner


Shelf Life: Three to four months

Maintenance Tips: Just like mascara, don’t share your liquid eyeliner—germs are your biggest enemy with this type of beauty product.

Byrdie Tip

The more moisture the product has—or the closer it comes to your eyes—the shorter its life span.

Eye Shadow

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Eyeshadow Single


Shelf Life: Three to six months

Maintenance Tips: While powder shadows can last as long as powder blushes (about two years), they should be replaced more often since they’re used around your eyes.

Gel Eyeliner

Stila Cosmetics

Smudge Pot


Shelf Life: Two months

Maintenance Tips: Unfortunately, a pot of gel eyeliner should only be used for a few months since it easily traps bacteria.



No. 5 Eau de Parfum


Shelf Life: Three to five years

Maintenance Tips: Fragrance is the longest-lasting product in your beauty routine—by far! Max out your perfume’s shelf life by keeping your scents out of direct sunlight. (Some brands, like Le Labo, even suggest storing them in the fridge.)

Nail Polish


Nail Lacquer


Shelf Life: One to two years

Maintenance Tips: Heat and direct sunlight will make your polish separate and become discolored faster, so store your lacquers upright in a cool, dry place. There are also tricks to help you extend the life of polish that has gone goopy.

Makeup Sponge


Original Beautyblender


Shelf Life: One to two months

Maintenance Tips: While this may not be a makeup product per se, it's an integral part of a makeup routine that many don't realize does have an expiration date. Unlike brushes, makeup sponges build up bacteria quickly—even with regular washes and care. (The Beautyblender website recommends daily washes for an ultimate lifecycle of three to six months, but our estimates are more generalized.)

How long does one lipstick last?

How Long Does Makeup Last? Here's When to Throw Away Products

Want more information on Hyaluronic Acid Breast Filler, Silk Mono-phasic Dermal Filler, Bi-phasic Dermal Filler? Feel free to contact us.