Product Refresh

Time to update your makeup and skincare collections. Here’s how long to keep your products.

Toss after:

3 to 6 Months


Excessively pumping the mascara wand into the tube can trap air and potential germs, so moderation is key. Avoid harming eyes by replacing mascaras regularly. Never share mascaras, as it promotes cross-contamination.
Expert Tip: New, unopened mascara can be stored for up to two years. When using your mascara and it becomes tacky or hardens, it’s time say goodbye.

Liquid Eyeliner

Similar to mascara, liquid eyeliner should be replaced more frequently, because it’s used on the sensitive eye area and can transfer potential germs.
Expert Tip: Don’t add water to prolong the life of your liner. Doing so can create a favorable environment for bacteria.

SPF Skincare

Protective sunscreens and skincare infused with SPF can contain a high water content. Once a product reaches its expiration, the formula starts to distribute unevenly and no longer shields your skin.
Expert Tip: Prolong the life of your products by storing away from direct sunlight between uses, preferably in a cool, dry place.
Toss after:

6 Months to 1 Year

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundations that contain oils tend to break down faster than powder formulas. Pumps may have a longer lifespan due to their ability to protect the contents of the bottle.
Expert Tip: If you have an open-top foundation, gently drip the formula onto the back of your hand, avoiding contact with skin before you apply.

Face Moisturizer

Constant contact with your hands can cause the delicate environment of your moisturizer to degrade more quickly.
Expert Tip: Wash hands before applying your moisturizer or try using a plastic wand.


Toners have a high concentration of water, which makes them susceptible to contaminants. Apply directly to a cotton pad or spray directly onto skin to avoid contact.
Expert Tip: Avoid adding water to prolong the life of your toner, because it promotes contamination.


Serums are often packaged in dark or tinted bottles to protect their active ingredients and typically last longer than some other products.
Expert Tip: Keep firmly closed and avoid the dropper tip coming into contact with skin. Store in a cool, dry place.


Eventually, cleansers can lose their effectiveness and leave behind residual makeup or impurities. Using a product past its prime can result in irritation or breakouts.
Expert Tip: Always tightly close the cap to prevent dilution. Do not add water, as this might promote contamination.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Products with a high water content typically have a shorter life than ones that don’t. Shampoo and conditioner last longer if excess moisture is prevented from entering the bottles.
Expert Tip: Tighten the cap closed after every use. Do not dilute shampoo or conditioner, as this might provide an ideal environment for germs.

Body Lotion

You can splurge on body lotions, because they last awhile. If your body lotion begins to separate, you should go ahead and replace it with a new one.
Expert Tip: Wash hands and avoid direct contact with the bottle top. Remember to keep the lid closed and store in a cool, dry place.


Cream-based beauty products—like eyeshadow, blush and foundation—contain oil or butter, which can cause them to break down faster than powder-based products. To prolong their life, store them in a dark, dry place.
Expert Tip: No matter how long you’ve had your creams, if you notice a change in their texture, color or consistency, it’s definitely time to replace.
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Toss after:

2 Years

Nail Polish

Investing in a good nail polish is worth it, because it’s a product that lasts for some time. The polish should glide on smoothly, so if it becomes sticky or stringy, it’s time to replace.
Expert Tip: Avoid humidity and warm temperatures, so consider storing nail polish somewhere other than the bathroom.

Powder Eyeshadow

Like face powders, eye shadows are less prone to contamination because of their low water content. After some aging, they will start to look packed down and become difficult to apply.
Expert Tip: Clean brushes regularly to avoid cross-contamination.

Lipstick & Lip Gloss

The water content of these products can cause them to dry out as the water evaporates. Creamy lipsticks can lose their smooth texture and apply unevenly.
Expert Tip: If the lipstick or lip gloss becomes dry, it’s time to toss it.
Toss after:

3 Years

Face Powder

Face powders have a longer shelf life because they don’t contain large amounts of water. After some time, the trace amounts of water can evaporate, and the powder can be more difficult to blend.
Expert Tip: Use a clean brush to apply powder. Keep lid sealed and avoid storing in warm places.

Eye & Lip Pencils

Since pencils only contain trace amounts of water and are constantly being sharpened to expose new, clean surfaces, they need to be replaced less frequently.
Expert Tip: Sharpen before application and replace lid after use. Occasionally clean your sharpener with rubbing alcohol.
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Special Case Scenario:

Makeup Brushes

If bristles feel harsh, start to shed or don’t return to their natural shape after cleansing, then it’s time to replace.
Expert Tip: Clean twice a month and after every use for heavier foundation formulas or intense makeup shades.

What does it all mean?

  • Manufacture Date If other information is not present, knowing when the product was manufactured can be helpful. Unused cosmetics can also lose their freshness and change in consistency. This date will help you determine if a product is past its prime.
  • Refer to Box or Insert If products are small or the manufacturer chooses not to print on the product container, you can usually find valuable information on the box or the product insert.
  • Expiration Date If a product has natural ingredients, there will be an expiration date on the package that is valid, even if the product has not been opened.
  • PAO Symbol PAO (Period After Opening) This indicates how long you can use the product after opening it or breaking the seal. It is required of all cosmetic products with a shelf life of 30 months or more to feature this symbol.
  • BBE Symbol Best Before End Date (BBE) Any cosmetic product that has a lifespan of less than 30 months has a “Best Before End of” date, symbolized by an hourglass or egg timer.
  • No Label Look for physical indicators like change in smell, color or consistency.