How Long Can You Really Use That Tube of Mascara?
Finally figure out when to toss your makeup.
As you’ve likely already discovered, makeup often turns funky before you can use it all up.
The product that goes bad in the shortest amount of time is mascara since bacteria breeds quickly and each use pumps drying air into the tube. Toss after two to three months—or even sooner if you notice it’s getting clumpy or smells weird, says Menzer.
“I know how much people want to make these bottles last. However, they're cream-based and get contaminated with bacteria from your fingers, brushes, and sponges,” says Menzer. Average shelf life can vary from eight to 12 months. Let go when the formula begins to separate.
Pay attention to the texture of the product, advises Menzer. If it begins to get a dry, hardened surface or turns flaky, that’s when it’s time to get a new one—typically from six months to a year after you’ve first used it. Powders will begin performing poorly and not look as good on your skin.
Concealer tends to be a product we go through the slowest since it only takes a teeny bit to cover up most imperfections. When the color begins to change, you’ll want to part with it. For powders and sticks, that can be up to two years, while liquids typically go after one year.
Eye Shadow, Blush, and Bronzer
In powder form, these heavy hitters can last up to three years. Get a new one when the pigment fades or doesn’t apply as well as before. Liquid and cream versions have a much shorter shelf life and can typically last up to a year, says Menzer.
“Pencils are regularly sharpened, so in my opinion, [they] never go bad since the bacteria is shaved away,” says Menzer. However, liquid eyeliners last between six to 12 months or until the formula dries out or starts clumping up.
If you’re stocking up on your favorite shade (we’ve been there, done that!), it can last up to three years if unopened immediately. Once opened, it’s time to toss if it starts to smell or taste funny and strong.
Glosses don’t last as long as lipstick formulas and have a shelf life between six to 12 months, depending how clean you keep the applicator. Once it gets extra tacky or sticky, it’s time to give it the heave-ho.