How Long Can You Keep Lipstick, Foundation and All of Your Other Makeup Products?

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Like any other product, makeup and skincare products have their very own use-by date. It can be easy to forget this, given many beauty products look much the same even years after opening. And, who doesn’t have a lipstick sitting in their beauty stash that is probably years old? We’re even guilty of this one!

To make sure your products are as healthy for use as possible — given you’re putting them in near your eyes, mouth and on your skin — it’s important to take note of how long each product is meant to last. To do this, take note of the Period After Opening (PAO) number on the bottom or side of the packaging.

The PAO is usually featured within a triangle symbol and this tells you how many months the product should last after it has been opened. So, if a product says ’12M’, it can be used for 12 months after it was first opened. To find out how long lipsticks, foundations, concealers and blush products last, see below:

Lipstick and Lipgloss

Throw out after: Six months to one year

Lipgloss products should be replaced roughly every six months as they are an easy breeding ground for germs due to the constant double dipping. Regular lippies can last around a year. You can tell they are deteriorating when the texture changes and it feels bitsy on your lips. If any lip products come into contact with cold sores, chuck them in the bin straight away.


Throw out after: One year

You’ll know when your liquid foundation is off as the consistency, smell and texture will begin to change. Power foundations don’t contain oil so they generally last a little longer.


Throw out after: Three months

Mascara is arguably the most important product to replace regularly as it can easily lead to eye infections if bacteria is present. You can generally tell when mascara needs to be chucked as it becomes clumpy. Try to avoid pumping the wand as it traps bacteria and air in the tube while also drying the product out.


Throw out after: One to two years

Powder shadows usually last around two years and they usually become crumbly when it’s time to ditch them. Cream eyeshadows last about a year and can start to smell funny when they’ve turned. It’s important to use clean eyeshadow brushes when applying to avoid bacteria being transferred onto your eyes or into your eyeshadow palette.


Throw out after: One to two years

Powder blushes don’t contain any oil or water so they’ll generally last about two years. If the power begins to crack and crumble it’s probably time to say goodbye. Cream blushes are good for about a year. When the oil in the blush begins to separate, it’s time for a new one!


Throw out after: One year (ish)

Concealers can last well over a year if you keep them well sealed. This will prevent them from drying out and lessen the chance of bacteria entering the tube. Always use clean fingers or brushes when applying concealer from a pot to avoid cross-contamination.


Throw out after: Three months to six months

It’s best to regularly change your makeup sponge to avoid transferring germs from the sponge to your face. When you do use your sponge, allow it to dry completely between uses so it doesn’t get moldy and encourage bacteria to grow.

Makeup brushes

Throw out after: One to five years

Brushes have the longest lifespan when it comes to makeup products and there’s no strict rule about when exactly you need to ditch the brush as it comes down to the quality. It’s time to buy a new brush when your current one starts to shed bristles and no longer deposits product evenly.

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