Did You Know Your Cosmetics Have a Shelf Life?



woman applying blush

The shelf life of cosmetics, hmm... not something I gave much thought to. How about you? .

Do you have a favorite lipstick that is over 5 years old? Are you trying to use the last little bit of eyeshadow you bought how many years ago? Did you answer yes?

Our cosmetics were just not meant to last forever. Even though a container still contains quite a bit once it reaches a recent age as hard as it might be it should be thrown away. Most of our cosmetics are not designed to last more than 3 years.

If I like a something I want to use it until it's gone and even if I don't like it throwing it away just seems wasteful. I usually reason that I might change my mind later. So even though we might not want to it is important to follow some safeguards when using cosmetics.

These natural beauty tips will inform you how long you can safely keep your cosmetics. Remember companies are not required to put the shelf life of their products on the label.

Here is what the experts recommend. They are not only based on safety but on how long your cosmetics remain effective. After a while colors change and application may not be as smooth. Keep in mind that no matter when you bought your cosmetics if they smell bad get rid of them.

Improper storage can ruin them. Keep them cool and in a dark place.

  • Foundation
      Liquid: Water Based - 12 months/Oil Based - 18 months
      Powder and Pressed Powder - 12 months
  • Concealer- 12 months


  • Blush- 6 months


  • Eye Shadow- 12 to 14 months


  • Eyeliner
      Pencil - 2 years
      Liquid - 3 to 6 months
  • Mascara- 3 months


  • Lipstick- 2 to 3 years

  • Nail Color - 1 year


  • A Few Other Suggestions

    Most of these recommendations for shelf life make sense. I can understand the importance of not using old mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner or even concealer. It is way too easy to get an irritated or infected eye from old, bacteria laden eye makeup.

    Foundations, well, they just don't work as well after too long a time. And they can be easily contaminated by germs in the air and on our fingers. Many companies are switching to squeeze tubes which helps to keep bacteria away.

    Powder foundations and pressed powder present their own problems. If you are using a sponge for application, think about all the times you touch up your makeup during the day. Was your skin clean? Had you been out in city pollution? Were you a little sweaty when you wanted a quick touch up. Out comes the makeup sponge. If it's looking nasty, clean it if you can. If not just replace it. They are not meant to be kept very long anyway.

    Look at my other natural beauty tips for how to clean your makeup brushes if you use those to apply powders of any kind.

    Products we use on our lips should be used with more care. It's easy to have a lipstick more than 3 years especially if you own quite a few of them. So it is tempting to keep them longer than recommended.

    Keep in mind the following suggestions:

  • Lipsticks with SPF factor may lose their effectiveness after 3 years.


  • If you have a cold sore or other type of infection while using a lipstick consider throwing it away. At the very least wipe the whole lipstick throughly with a clean tissue.


  • makeup collection Nail polish does not seem to have any real safety problems other than some of the nasty ingredients that go in to some of them. (See natural nail polish for more info.) The problems come from improper storage. Too much heat can cause nail polish to separate and not putting the cap on tightly can cause it to dry out. Both of which can affect the quality and application.

    Blush is also one product if used with care would be a product that I would probably use beyond the suggested shelf life. Have you ever been able to use enough blush in 6 months to want to toss it? I haven't and I really haven't noticed a measurable problem with color change.

    If you've been using natural beauty products you are already doing the best thing for your skin. Just remember, all products especially natural ones which are made with fewer preservatives have a shelf life. As you are shopping make note of what the manufacturer suggests.



    Another Natural Beauty Tip

    One way to keep track of the shelf life of your cosmetics are to mark them when you buy them. I have found a paint pen to be handy. I can mark the date on the container very easily and it won't wear off.

    An even better solution is purchase an easy to use kit made by Once Opened. Simply mark the date when your product is opened on the labels provided and apply a laminate seal and your ready to stick right on your products. It's an easy to see way to keep track of what's opened when.

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    Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com



    I love your website!! It is so helpful in finding ways that I can be eco-friendly and yet still fashionable at the same time. Allison

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