How Long Can You Keep Your Makeup?


We have all heard of it, read about it and even saw it on the Tyra show. Like all other things, cosmetics do go bad and if you keep on using stale makeup, you are just sending yourself on the way to breakouts and skin irritation.

So how can you find out if your makeup has gone bad? The first thing you should do is to check the expiry date on the product if there is one. Then, chuck anything if:

1) it smells funny
2) the texture has changed or separated
3) the color has changed
4) it is older than 3 years

Otherwise, you can follow the generalized shelf life of products below. Remember, liquid/cream products do not last as long as powder ones because they contain more emulsions, which are less stable and will break down over time.

Face Products

Foundation – up to 2 years
Concealer – up to 2 years
Pressed Powder – 2 years
Loose Powder – up to 3 years
Powder Blush/Bronzer – 2 years
Cream Blush – 12 to 18 months

Eye Products

Mascara – up to 3 months
Powder eyeshadow – 2 years
Cream eyeshadow – 12 to 18 months
Pencil eyeliner – 2 to 3 years
Liquid/Gel eyeliner – 12 to 18 months

Lip Products

Lipstick – 2 years
Lip gloss – 12 to 18 months
Lip liner – 2 to 3 years

How To Make Your Makeup Last Longer

*Always store your makeup in a dry, cool place and away from direct sunlight.

* Use a clean brush/sponge/fingers for application to prevent contamination.

* Never share your makeup with other people.

* If possible, choose a product that comes in a tube or pump dispenser. This way, the product will not be exposed to air as easily and the risk of contamination will be reduced.

Ways to Revive your Makeup
By reviving, I do not mean digging up makeup that are years old and trying to use them like they are new. I am only referring to makeup that have been sitting in your drawer but still in usable condition.

* For pencil eyeliners and lip liners, the easiest thing you can do is to sharpen them.

* For dried-out gel eyeliners, simply scrap off the top layer or add a teeny bit of water. (Note: this should NEVER be done to mascaras)

* For powder products, scrape off the top layer and spray with rubbing alcohol.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. Wow. Thanks for the post. I just threw out a lot of old make up. Ha. (:

    BTW. Since Homecoming is coming up for most high school students (who loves your blog btw) i was wondering if you can post tutorials for homecoming makeup. (: thanks sweetie <3

  2. Thank you so much for posting this!! I’m glad you took the time to write everything out. Your blog is so effin’ helpful!

  3. Can you do a celebrity breakdown for Nicole Scherzinger in P. Diddy’s “Come to Me” video? She looked so great. I would love to know how to recreate her look.

  4. How about mineral makeup? I read that you can keep them forever as long as they have not been contaminated with water or any liquid. Thanks

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