Make the most of your make-up: A guide to the shelf-life of cosmetics

Step into any woman's bathroom or bedroom and the story is usually the same – shelves and drawers filled with cosmetics that have been collected over a long period of time.

Whether it's a well-loved, but rarely used perfume, or an unusual shade of lipstick that we haven't quite plucked up the courage to wear but can't bear to throw out, we ladies love to hoard our beauty products.

But how long is too long? We know they're not going to last forever, but when should we replace our make-up?


Check our guide to see the expiration dates of your top toiletries.

Perfume – Perfume should only be kept for about two years. If you want yours to last longer, resist the urge to have it on display and keep in a dark and cool place

Mascara and liquid eyeliner – Only three to four months. And it's important you try to stick to this timeline to avoid contamination and infections

Lipstick/gloss – Lipsticks and glosses should be fine for two to three years

Eye/lip pencils – Three to five years. Sharpen them before each use to help preserve them and keep them clean

Nail polish – Your nail varnishes and polishes can be kept for one year

Foundation – This will last about two years. Chances are if you haven't used it in that time, you never will!

Concealer – Up to 12 months

Hairstyling products – Three to five years. Most hairstyling products contain alcohol which will help them last longer

Shampoo/conditioner/shower gel – Two to three years

Bath oil – You can keep bath oils for about one year

Body lotion – If its in a pump bottle, body lotion should last up to three years

Cream/gel cleansers – One year

Deodorant – Two years

Shaving cream/gel – Two years

Suncream – Check packaging for an expiration date

You should also make sure you wash make-up brushes every two to three months in a mild detergent. And wash your sponges on a weekly basis, discarding every month.

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