Cosmetic Products’ Shelf Life

Cosmetic products are usually formulated and tested for a shelf life of 1 - 3 years. This can vary widely depending on the ingredients used, and with hygiene and storage, your favorite cosmetics may not be lasting as long as you think.

Makeup is an art. It can be used for fun, to enhance your look, or conceal blemishes you want to hide. Are you using makeup to put harmful bacteria on your skin? We didn’t think so! We’re here to help you keep your Makeup routine hygienic and kind to your skin.

Here are our top tips, to ensure you get the full use out of your makeup:

  • 1. Mascara, and Eye Makeup Care
  • Image credit: Mihai Stefan Photography /

    Image credit: Mihai Stefan Photography /

    We love mascara, and eye makeup. It helps make our eyes pop and it really can complete a look. Do you know what we don’t love? Eye infections! Avoid eye irritation by keeping your eye makeup closed properly when not in use, avoiding any nasty bacteria from growing in your products.

    Did you know: Experts recommend changing products that come into contact with your eyes every three months, and regularly cleaning makeup brushes that you use on your eyes.


    2. Avoid Sharing Makeup

    Image credit: Vinicius Wiesehofer /

    Image credit: Vinicius Wiesehofer /

    We get it, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s you’re getting ready for a night out and you’ve forgotten your mascara or your friend has been boasting about a new beauty product that you just have to try. Think of swapping cosmetics, as swapping germs and skin problems. Friends share everything with each other, but really bacteria shouldn’t be one of them.

    Did you know: Eyes are especially prone to infections, as the skin around the eye is thinner and more sensitive. Sharing makeup products can result in unwanted infection like styes, conjunctivitis, acne, cold sores, and even warts.


    3. Avoid Using In-Store Cosmetic Product Testers

    Image credit: Linda Prebreza /

    Image credit: Linda Prebreza /

    "Testers" commonly found at department store cosmetic counters are even more likely to become contaminated than the same products in an individual's home. We know how tempting it is to try that new red lipstick on before you buy it just in case it’s not for you, we’ve all been there, but trust us it’s not worth it. If you feel you must test a cosmetic before purchasing it, apply it with a new, unused applicator, such as a fresh cotton swab.

    Did you know: Microbiologists have revealed that in store cosmetics testers could in fact be contributing to the spread of harmful diseases such as herpes and salmonella. Lipstick testers can carry saliva droplets from multiple people and these droplets are known to be capable of carrying the herpes virus.


    4. Wash Your Hands

    Image credit: Burst / Pexels.comImage credit: Burst /

    It is important to avoid contaminating the products during normal use and so hands should be clean before putting fingers into products. We go to great lengths to keep our makeup brushes clean before using them on our face but how many of us understand the importance of simply washing our hands before applying makeup to our faces? We carry natural oils in our hands which can easily transfer bacteria on to our face and our products if not careful, so by being extra careful and washing our hands before putting makeup on or touching our cosmetics products we can massively prevent the transfer of bacteria. So just wash your hands before applying makeup, after all no one wants pink eye right?

    Did you know: If you don’t have hot water and soap nearby, hand sanitizer will do the trick!


    5. Correctly storing Your Makeup

    Image credit: Bryan Schneider /

    Image credit: Bryan Schneider /

    It’s time to switch up how you store your makeup, which will benefit you and your makeup for the better. Storing makeup products correctly will help to keep them safe and fit for their purpose for a much longer time, this includes them not being subjected to extreme temperatures. To ensure the maximum durability of cosmetic products, they should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and with the lids firmly closed. If a product has not been stored properly, for example it has been left with the lid off for long periods of time, the product may ‘go off’ before either the best before date or the period after opening has passed. It is easy to spot this as these products may be discoloured, smell different or look unusual (lumpy rather than smooth for example). If this is the case, the product should not be used as they will certainly be unpleasant, might not do their job properly or could be a risk to someone whose skin is not healthy (cut or sunburnt skin for example).

    Did you know: When travelling it’s best to keep your cosmetics in your hand luggage to avoid exposing the to extreme temperatures in the hold. Also, when storing brushes at home keep them standing up in a jar bristles up.


    6. Clean Your Makeup Brushes and Sponges

    Image credit: /

    Image credit: /

    We all know what it’s like, we’re busy people we don’t have enough time to wash our brushes, after all does it really matter? YES! Although your brushes may not look that dirty to you but microscopically they could be carrying lots of different bacteria, oil and dirt. This will harm and irritate your skin, causing a breakout of blemishes on your skin or eye infections to name a few. Cleaning them is super easy - just run them under hot water with makeup brush cleaner or a cleansing shampoo, baby shampoo works best, and leave them to dry overnight.

    Did you know: Using those dinky little spatulas and nozzles caps which come with the products will help you to stop contaminating the ingredients with less-than-spotless fingers. You should clean the spatulas often with hot water, then dry them on cotton wool.


    7. Natural Cosmetic Products

    Image credit: /

    Image credit: /

    Among other cosmetics that are likely to have an unusually short shelf life are certain "all natural" products that may contain plant-derived substances conducive to microbial growth. When opened, oxygen interacts with the formulas and they immediately begin to degrade. It also is important for consumers and manufacturers to consider the increased risk of contamination in products that contain non-traditional preservatives, or no preservatives at all. Make sure you read the product correcting to ensure you’re not increasing your risk of infection by keeping a product past its shelf life.

    Did you know: Natural mascaras have a shelf life of around 6 months, however 3-4 months is a better time frame, whereas foundations can last a bit longer if safe sanitation is practiced.


    8. Pump products

    Image credit: Bryan Schneider /

    Image credit: Bryan Schneider /

    Ever wondered if there was a way of designing makeup packaging which could increase the shelf life? Well don’t worry someone has already done that for you! Look out for pump-action products, they’re more airtight than the usual makeup bottle so it stops air and bacteria getting into the product. This is especially important for natural cosmetic products as they contain less to no preservatives to make them last longer.

    Did you know: Airtight pump products can increase the shelf life of products by up to 15%.


    • Keiwan

      Thanks for sharing good advice. I also offering skin care products. For more information please visit our website:

    • Keirstin Hemphill

      Really truly wished more people knew all this great advice! Expirations matter ladies and gents!

    • Arlinda Felder

      I never noticed the exp label on any of my makeup. In fact I never even thought about the fact that it would expire lol

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