When I first heard whispers of how long beauty products are supposed to last I was super disappointed. Like others my age and older, we are low-key cosmetic hoarders. That one lipstick that we actually love, the mascara that we keep going back to, and the eyeliner that we won’t go anywhere without – all of these products are our holy grail – but what if they can actually cause us harm?
Related: Makeup Products That I Completely Emptied
Like other products, beauty & cosmetics have expiration dates. While they aren’t plastered on the outside of the packaging like a loaf of bread – they are serious nonetheless. One of the things that I realized when I started investigating the cosmetics industry after my horrific lip allergy in 2018, is that the cosmetics industry is pretty much self-regulated and has been for almost a century.
The only government oversight of cosmetics companies comes under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which was passed in 1938. The act is focused mainly on regulating adulterated or misbranded products, or products that are falsely packaged.
However, labeling products as natural or organic does not qualify as misbranding and the 1938 act also does not require the FDA to recall potentially dangerous items or monitor the ingredients used in products. Yikes.
Related: 4 Ways To Get Your Skin Summer Ready
Here’s how long of a shelf life your products actually have – after you open them:
- Mascara – 3 Months
- Eyeliner Liquid – 2-3 Months
- Foundation – 6-12 Months
- Concealer – 12 Months
- Eyeliner Pencil – 12 Months
- Blush, Eye Shadow, Powder – 12-18 Months
- Lip Gloss – 18 Months
- Bronzer – 24 Months
- Lipstick – 24 Months
- Pencil Eyeliner – 24 Months
- Eye Shadow – 24 Months
- Face Powder – 24 Months
According to Healthline, “The expiration dates you see printed on makeup or on the packaging are guidelines for after the product has been opened. It can be hard to find out when sealed, unopened makeup expires since it’s not stamped on the packaging. Generally, if properly stored in a cool, dry place, most unopened and completely sealed makeup should last for 2 to 3 years.”
All preservatives in makeup do break down over time, even if the product is unopened, so you should never keep any product for more than 3 years.
Related: What To Do With $150 At Sephora
MAKE YOUR NEXT TRIP TO THE NAIL SALON EASY
Every time you touch your makeup or skin-care products you actually transfer germs to them — and, subsequently, to your face. One more tidbit before you go – Heat and humidity, which promote the growth of mold and yeast, are our worst nightmare. That’s one reason the bathroom, though convenient, isn’t the ideal spot to store cosmetics. You’re welcome.