The holidays are quickly approaching and so are those social events. You want to look your best and you want to make sure that the products you are applying have not expired. The last thing you want during this busy season is a reaction to a bad/expired product.


Do a quick check in your bathroom and I am sure you will find face cream you never use, the remnants of your favorite powder blush and that tube of lip stick you need to dig out with a lip brush to get anything out of.


Products that are unused or down to the last drop are just taking up shelf space and cluttering your make-up bag which you could be using for the fresh products you want to keep and have readily available.


Unopened products can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature. But once you bring home a product and open it, the clock starts running. Every time you touch the product, you are transferring germs to them and to your face. Heat and humidity play a roll in promoting the growth of mold and yeast as well.


Believe it or not, bathrooms are not the ideal spot to store cosmetics, although it tends to be the most convenient. A cool, dry linen closet is best.

Since labeling regulations in the United States do not require an expiration date on most cosmetics, here are some Quick Tips in deciding what to keep and what to toss:


Face Makeup – six months for liquids; two years for powders.


Mascara – three months.


Eyeliner and Eye Shadow – three months for liquid eyeliners; six months for cream eye shadows; two years for pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows.


Lipstick and Lipliner – two years for lipstick and gloss; two years or more for lipliner.


Nail Polish – one to two years depending on when the consistency turns gooey or stringy. Avoid storing them in the bathroom as they are especially sensitive to temperature extremes.


Skin Care Products include moisterizers, eye creams, cleansers, serums, peels, etc. Acne creams and other over-the-counter products that contain drugs are FDA regulated and usually carry expiration dates. However, cosmeceuticals (products claiming to have anti-aging and skin-changing benefits) are not regulated. Once they are opened, they should not be kept longer than 6 months. If in a pump bottle, they can last a year.


Sun Screen – six months.


Hair Products – one year.


Fragrance – two years or more. You will know because it tends to turn dark and has a stronger smell than when it’s fresh.

In summary, you should toss your mascara and liquid liner every season, toss your skin-care regimen, sunscreens and liquid foundations every six months, toss your hair products (except hair spray) once a year and toss your powder-based cosmetic (pressed powder and shadows), lipsticks and nail polishes every two years.


Your best bet is to date your products with a small sticker when you purchase and open them so you will not have to guess as to when they were purchased, guaranteeing they will always be safe to use.


Enjoy this wonderful holiday season!



Audrey Cupo is a full-time Professional Organizer and sole proprietor of A BETTER SPACE based in Bucks County, PA. She specializes in residential organizing and focuses her business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs get organized with her in-home services and her U Can Do It product line. To get your FREE “U Can Do It Room By Room Organizing Checklist”, go to