Dec 14, 2023

How long is long enough?

Should you really be concerned about the expiration dates of cosmetics? Well yes, yes you should.

All good things must come to an end…and so it goes with your skin care product

Any ‘moist’ product can quickly become bacteria friendly. A preservative-free product is especially suspect after only a short time. These should be used in short order or refrigerated. It is especially important to pay particular attention to the expiration date on any product that does not contain preservatives.

As a rule of thumb, even if within the labeled date, if you notice a change in color or development of an odor…toss it and don’t give it a second thought! No product is worth the risk of infection. (See our comment on preservatives on our ‘formulas’ page here.)

Always use judgment and certainly abide by expiration dates on containers, but here is a general guideline of what time frame you might expect to safely keep those products around…


Consider tossing after a year unless you are prone to acne. There is an underlying bacterial component to acne, just don’t risk making it worse. Of course, any change in smell, color, or texture is a red flag…toss it.


If a moist concealer, same as above. Expect it to be safe for approximately a year. If powder, a couple of years might be reasonable. Bacteria like moist environments, a powder concealer would not be their preferred habitat.

Blush, Bronzers, Eye Shadows

As stated above, with clean brushes (please wash these often) any products in powder form can be expected to be useful for a few years.

Lip Gloss

Expect to keep a year max unless you see signs of separation, color change or odor before then.

Lip Stick

Being a little less moist in consistency than gloss, you can usually expect to keep a lipstick for a couple of years unless it dries out or changes color.


This one is a bit of a different animal. Being used in close proximity of the eye necessitates being a bit more cautious. Replace it every 2 to 3 months and even sooner if you notice an odor. Never risk an eye infection.


Being thin and moist in consistency, liquid liners should be kept no longer than 6 months. Pencil liner can be kept for a couple of years, however. Be sure to sharpen regularly to keep it fresh and keeping it capped is also helpful.

Nail Polish

A couple of years unless you notice a change in color or an odor. Separation occurs, this is to be expected. Just give it a good shake.

Be safe. Be diligent. Paying attention to expiration dates on your skin care and cosmetic products will pay off in the end. If given a choice, consider those with safe and natural preservatives. Be aware of dates and pay close attention if you choose to go the preservative-free route.

To your safety...