Keep It Or Bin it? The Real Deal About Make-Up Expiry Dates

Dunno if it's time to chuck that eyeliner? We found out.

Used make-up and brushes in trays of opened vanity case, close-up

Still using that liquid eyeliner from last summer? Nooooooooo. It doesn’t matter that you can cat-eye yourself in your sleep with it. Throw. It. Out. Unlike our food, we can’t freeze our make-up (#imagine). And we really shouldn’t be saving that eye-wateringly expensive mascara for special occasions only (I’ve got the guilts). Once we’ve ripped off the plastic, time starts a-ticking, and depending on the product formulation (a general rule is, more moisture = shorter life span), there’s a specific use by date that needs to be obeyed.

6M, 12M, 18M denotes the number of months a product will stay fresh for.

Most makeup products come with a little symbol on the packaging, something along the lines of 6M, 12M, 18M; this denotes the number of months it will stay fresh for, but it is a guideline. If it smells weird, looks different or has a funky consistency then it’s probably gone off – bin it. Using clean brushes and applicators will definitely help your products last longer, so give them a wash regularly using baby shampoo.

Here’s our guide to painting (hygienically) with numbers:

Mascara: 2-3 months

This is the one product STELLAR goes all big sister on because every time you open the tube to apply mascara, bacteria gets in, and it’s then transferred into your eyes. #Ewww Also, if it’s cakey or flaky, fun’s over.

Eyeliner: 1-2 years

Sharpen pencils between uses to remove the old stuff and reveal fresh new product underneath. However if they’re grubby, dirty pencils, please don’t use them on your delicate peepers.

Liquid/felt-tip liners: 4-5 months

Definitely not suitable for sharesies with friends as you can’t remove the top layer. Replace the lid tightly after each use and as soon as it starts to dry out it’s time to buy a new one.

Gel/cream liners: 4-5 months

The most hygienic way to use these would be to scoop some out onto a palette to prevent ‘double dipping’ and apply with a clean brush.

Lipstick: 1 year

These are generally pretty long lasting, but if you get a cold sore it’s your cue to replace. Concerned about your stick’s cleanliness? Cut the tip off to reveal fresh untouched lippie below!

Lipgloss: 6 months-1 year

If your gloss has a wand applicator it should be replaced at six months, tops. Tube glosses will last longer, up to one year, especially if you apply to your (clean) finger, and then to your lips.

Lip liners: 1-2 years

Just like pencil eyeliners, these have a pretty lengthy life once pared frequently. Should you suffer a cold sore, get yours to the nearest bin sharpish.

Concealer: 1 year-18 months

Using a clean brush or applicator is essential for stick and cream concealers. Liquid concealers in tubes can last up to 18 months. Snap that lid back on tight.

Cream blush: 1 year

Using clean brushes to apply will ensure longevity of your blush.

Liquid foundation: 1 year-18 months

If it has a pump for application we say 18 months, if there’s no pump, bin after 12 months.

Face powder: 18-24 months

Clean brushes and sponges are the key to keeping face powders clean. And with pressed powder you can literally scrape off the top layer to freshen it up! #toptip

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