How to Know When It's Time to Toss Your Beauty Products

Photo Credit: Into the Gloss

Photo Credit: Into the Gloss

By: Becca Glasser-Baker

Have you ever found the perfect shade of lipstick, or the best face cream, and you’ve had it forever and just can’t bring yourself to get rid of? We're sorry to say, but it may be time to let it go. As much as you love it, if it’s expired, it’s not only beyond gross, but also not safe to use. Just like you wouldn’t eat moldy bread, you really shouldn’t use expired makeup. 

Here’s why you should toss out your ancient beauty products: when a product is expired, the formula is no longer working which can cause you some serious skin issues, like acne (ewww!), and when a formula breaks down, it makes the product ineffective. How will you know? Sometimes, it will smell funny or be discolored. Super ewww!

So now that we know why we shouldn’t be using expired makeup, let’s talk about how long you should really be keeping your products. 

All products have ingredient and expiration information on them. Usually, there is a symbol located on the back of the products that looks like a tub with a number in the middle. This number indicates how many months you have from when you open it until its time to toss it. Some other products give an exact date when they expire, just like food. If says nothing, don’t worry! Here’s some rules of thumb to follow. 

Skincare products

Cleanser – 1 year 

Toner – 1 year 

Moisturizer – 1 year 

Sunscreen – 1 to 2 years 


Primer – 6 months to 1 year 

Foundation – 1 year 

Concealer – 6 months to 1 year 

Blush – 1 year 

Bronzer – 1 year 

Highlighter – 1 year 


Eyeshadow – 2 years

Eyeliner – liquid: 3 to 6 months / pencil: 1 year

Eyelashes – 2 to 3 uses 

Mascara – 6 months 

Eyebrow pencil – 2 years 


Lipliner – 1 year

Liquid lipstick – 1 year 

Lipstick – 1 to 2 years 

Lip gloss – 1 year 

Lip balm – 1 year

These are estimates so please note that some products vary in expiration date. Be sure to check the back of your product to see when it expires. If your product starts to smell weird, look weird or apply weird, forget numbers and just toss it.


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