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

November 22, 2012
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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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