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How long to keep your eyeshadows

How long should you keep eyeshadows for? Whether they are just the single ones or the whole palette?  Is it bad to keep for years and years???

Best Answer

Hi, ntailor. Below is some specific makeup expiration information pertaining to face makeup, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick and lipliner as recommended by professionals in the makeup industry.

Eyeliner and Eyeshadow

Toss-it time:  Liquid eyeliners, 3 months; cream eye shadows, 6 months; pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows, 2 years
Note:  As they do with mascara, bacteria tend to flourish in liquid-eyeliner tubes, and the product dries out.  Pencil eyeliners have a longer shelf life because you can create a fresh, clean surface each time you sharpen them.  (Just be sure to regularly sanitize your sharpener with rubbing alcohol.)  Powder shadows, like pressed powders, are less prone to contamination because they, too, lack water (if you wet them, toss after 6 months).  But aging eye shadows have performance issues:  They get packed down, making it harder to pick up pigment with your brush.

Lipstick and Lipliner

Toss-it time: Lipstick and gloss, 2 years; lipliner, 2 years or more
Note:  Lipsticks’ water content makes them potential mini reservoirs of bacteria and they also dry out with age.  Aged lipsticks sometimes no longer look creamy on your lips.  Long-wearing formulas may have an even shorter life span since they often contain ingredients that evaporate more quickly than creamier formulas.  Pencil lipliners, like eyeliners, may last a little longer since putting them through a sharpener removes the old surface.

Face Makeup
Toss-it time:  6 months for liquids; 2 years for powders
Note:  You increase the odds of bacterial growth—and, hence, of breakouts or irritation—when you repeatedly dip your brushes and fingers into liquid foundation.  Also, as it ages, foundation can go on unevenly, creating a streaky, inconsistent finish.  Oils rise to the top, and the consistency thickens.  Powders present less of a problem because bacteria can’t grow where there’s no water.  However, over time, powders with botanical ingredients like aloe or jojoba can become harder to blend and are more likely to crumble, as their trace amounts of water evaporate.


Toss-it time:  3 months
Note:  Professionals say a mascara tube is a dark, wet environment, therefore creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Preservatives in a mascara only work for so long.  Three-month-old mascara can become chalky and powdery, and any lengthening or thickening fibers can separate from the fluid, so the mascara stops going on in a smooth, even coat.  To avoid hastening the ruin of your mascara, never pump the wand—that pushes air into the tube, causing it to dry out faster.  Instead, slowly draw out and twist the brush to scrape the tube’s interior and pick up product.  (I personally keep my mascara up to 6 months as long as it has not changed in consistency and has not developed an odor.)

All makeup expires, but as a general rule, so long as it isn't discolored, doesn't smell strange, hasn't separated and it hasn't changed texture, it should be all right to use.  Most lip products are safe to use for around two years after opening them, but if it's been longer than that it might be better to throw it away . . . With most cosmetic products, there is an icon on the label that looks like an open jar and it will have a "6M", "12M", "24M", etc., which means how many months you can expect it to remain usable after it's been opened.  Sunscreens are designed to remain stable and at original strength for up to three years.  But, like I mentioned before, if a product develops an unpleasant odor or changes color then it may have “gone bad” and should be tossed no matter what the label says.

Hope this helps!
Have a great day!
tenngal Smiley Happy


Answers: 3

Thanks for the tips tenngal!


Ntailor, I definitely agree. Most products will have little cup signs that have a number in them. That displays the amount of months you can keep the item before it will be time to dispose of it. They look like this:


expiration cup.gif


With eyeshadows and palettes, 36 months tends to be the standard time. I suggest that every month or two you wipe your single shadows and colors in the palettes down with a tissue or napkin to remove buildup or residues or oils that may have settled on the top of your shadow.  I hope this can help! Smiley Happy

Luv&Lipgloss, Diana
  • Liquid foundation: 1 year
  • Oil-free foundations: 1 year
  • Moisturizing foundations: 18 months
  • Face Powders: 18 months - 2 years
  • Stick concealers: 18 months
  • Liquid concealers: 1 year
  • Cream Blushes: 1 year
  • Powder Blushes: 2 years
  • Lip gloss: 6 months
  • Lipstick: 1 year
  • Lip Liners: 2 years. Sharpen before each use - bacteria!
  • Mascara: 3 months - bacteria!
  • Liquid eyeliner: 3 months - bacteria!
  • Eye pencils: 2 years. Sharpen before each use - bacteria!
  • Gel Eye Liners - 2 months - bacteria!
  • Liquid Eye Shadows: 12 months
  • Creme Eye Shadows: 6 months
  • Powder Eye Shadows: 2 years - if you wet them, 6 months
  • Nail Polish: When it starts to seperate
[ Edited ]
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When I toss things:


After 2 years, though usually a LOT sooner:  powder products, eye pencils


After 1 year:  lipsticks, lip glosses, liquids/creams in tubes or with pumps 


After 6 months:  cream/liquid products that aren't in tubes/have pumps, liquid/pen eyeliners


After 3 months:  lash products


However, if the RAO (replace after opening) icon printed on the product says to toss something earlier, then I'll go by that instead.

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