Most cosmetics manufacturers don’t have to list expiration dates on packaging, so sometimes you may not be sure whether a product has gone bad or not.

Here are the freshness periods of seven of your favorite beauty products.

1. Mascara

Mascara has a shelf-life of two or three months once opened. If it clumps or smells strange, toss it out. And avoid sharing mascara with others; you'll spread germs. If you must share, use disposable applicators and don’t double-dip.

2. Liquid concealer and foundation

Liquid concealer and foundation lasts six to 12 months. Replace it if it has separated into layers or its color has changed. Keeping it out of the sun extends its shelf life (UV rays can destroy preservatives).

3. Lipstick and lip gloss

Lipstick lasts up to two years and lip gloss one. Lipstick that’s dry and lip gloss that’s extra sticky need to be tossed out.

4. Nail polish

Nail polish lasts one to two years. But if it’s extra goopy or has separated into layers and won’t blend after shaking, replace it. Use a nail polish thinner to extend its shelf life.


5. Powder, eyeshadow, and blush

All three last about two years. Expired powders tend to be drier and flakier than fresh ones. Invest in cosmetic sanitizer and brush shampoo: These can help prevent breakouts and bacteria.

6. Fragrances

Perfumes, colognes, eau de toilette — they last eight to ten years. Perfume whose odor has changed or whose color is lighter has expired. Store your fragrances in cool, dark places to make them last longer; bright lights tend to oxidize them, giving them a musty smell.

7. Lotions

Lotions usually last two years. A change in color or scent means your lotion has probably expired. Go for bottled lotion with a pump rather than one in a jar; bottled lotion is less prone to airborne bacteria and will last longer.

Freshen up with fresh makeup

Unlike packaged foods and drinks, cosmetics packaging doesn't feature a "sell by" date. Some manufacturers do include what's known as a PAO symbol. "PAO" stands for "period after opening," and the symbol contains a specific number of months.

Cosmetics with no PAO symbol can be harder to judge. But if you just stick to some simple guidelines and know the signs of staleness to look for, your own look will always stay fresh!


  1. "Makeup 101: How Long Your Fave Products Really Last!," Seventeen, December 12, 2012.
  2. "Save or Toss? The Truth About Makeup Expiration Dates," Byrdie, December 29, 2016.
  3. "The Complete Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates You REALLY Need to Know," Cosmopolitan, December 8, 2015.
  4. "The Makeup Expiration Dates You Need To Know," The Huffington Post, August 8, 2014.

beauty hacks | makeup expiration | expired beauty products | expired makeup

LBL Team

LBL Team

Team LA is comprised of a group of diverse and talented writers that offer unique viewpoints and expertise to help enrich readers’ lives. Whether it’s finding the perfect moisturizer for your skin type or figuring out how to navigate challenges in your life, we’ve got your back!