I am currently renovating some rooms in my house, and my next project is my bathroom. As
a recovering product/makeup junkie, as I was cleaning out the many skin care, hair care,
and cosmetic products I had accumulated over the past 4 years, I was starting to feel a little
overwhelmed! I mean, what was good? What should I keep? What should I pitch? Some of
the makeup I had was from my makeup artist days, and were well over 4 years old. Obviously I
threw out anything with an expiration. But what about everything else? So I decided to do some
research. I knew if I was having this problem, that many of my patients were as well.
After looking into things, I came up with a general list of shelf life for most skin care and
*Mascara, Eyeshadow, and Eyeliner - 2-3 months. These products are most important to
replace regularly, as they are applied so closely to your eyes. Mascara wands can easily breed
bacteria, which can transfer to your eyes. It will have a gasoline-like smell when it goes bad.
Eyeliner and eyeshadow that are past the usage point can cause red, itchy eyes, and even
*Liquid Foundation - 6-12 months. When left in hot or moist environments, bacteria can grow.
Also, avoid dipping your fingers directly into the bottle, as your fingers can carry bacteria and
germs as well. Instead, pour a little on the back of your hand, or use a sponge. However, use a
new sponge every time you apply.
*Powders/Powder Blush - 2 years. There is hardly any water in a powder so the risk of
contaminating with bacteria is low. However, blush brushes should be cleaned
antibacterial cleanser, or your regular face wash.
*Lipstick/Lipgloss - 1 year. As long as the lipstick/gloss is not left in direct heat, or left
unopened for a long period of time, you can go up to one year before replacing this product.
*Facial Cleansers - 6-12 months. After this time, the active ingredients in the wash can break
down and become less effective, especially if left in a hot shower.
*Moisturizers - 6 to 12 months after being opened/ 2 years if unopened. Facial moisturizers
that have added ingredients -- like antioxidants or vitamins A, C, or E -- expire more quickly
because they're sensitive to light and heat (if left in your bathroom). If you notice a change in
color, consistency, or smell, throw the products out.
*Retinols/Trets - Most of these products will have an expiration date, but in case you can’t find
one, 6 months. The Vitamin A can break down over time, making the product less effective.
*Vitamin C - 6-8 months. After you open a Vitamin C product, oxygen will get to it and the
product will oxidize, or turn dark. This is normal, and will not affect the effectiveness. However,
after 6-8 months, you may notice the the Vitamin C is very dark and may have an odd smell. At
that point, it will need replaced.
*Eye Creams - 6 months. Active ingredients can break down after too long in eye creams.
Also, try to avoid dipping fingers directly into eye cream, as you can transfer more bacteria.
*- All sunscreens are now required to have an expiration date on the bottle.
Sunscreen expiration dates are 3 years after the manufacturing date, but if you try to use an
SPF from last year and it’s watery or smells odd, buy a new bottle.
After going through all of my own products, I ended up throwing away a majority of the products.
My husband was thrilled...at least until my next trip to the makeup store to replace everything I