How often should I reapply my makeup?

Makeup Expiration Dates

So you typically go for the good stuff, hoping it will last longer and wear longer. But what happens when good products go bad? Unlike food, which is clearly marked with an expiration date -- and clearly offensive to the senses once it has expired -- makeup doesn't really have a definite date by which it absolutely expires. Although many products come with an "expiration date" somewhere on the package, this is typically just a benchmark rather than a hard-and-fast date. This is because many outside factors affect a cosmetic's shelf life. If you keep your makeup in tightly closed containers in a cool environment, and if you use a clean brush instead of your fingers to apply the product, your makeup may last long past the suggested date. However, if you expose your makeup to heat (by, say, leaving your makeup bag in a hot car) and dip your fingers into it, the product could go bad long before the date printed on the container [source: WebMD].

Storage and care are crucial to preserving your makeup. After all, if you're spending money on these products, you don't want to waste it by letting your makeup spoil. So how can you get the most out of your makeup? The number-one rule: Don't share makeup products. The more people there are that touch/use a product, the greater the likelihood that bacteria will grow in it. Keep containers closed tightly in cool, dry places away from direct sunlight or extreme temperature, since this can spoil the preservatives. Also, never add liquids like mineral oil or water to products unless instructed to do so by the manufacturer [source: Gelfrand]. Generally, if a product changes consistency (for instance, if foundation separates significantly or if mascara starts to harden or become clumpy), or if it changes odor, it's time to toss it.

If you take care of your makeup products, take care of your skin, and take your time in your makeup application, you won't have to worry about your makeup staying put. To read more about makeup and health- and beauty-related topics, browse the links below.

Related Articles


  • Begoun, Paula. "Touching Up." Paula's Choice. (Aug. 24, 2009)
  • Clark, Susan P. "Sunscreen and Your Makeup Routine." WebMD. (Aug. 21, 2009)
  • Elle. "Carmindy's Beauty Sins." June 05, 2008 (Aug. 21, 2009)
  • FDA. "Tattoos & Permanent Makeup." June 23, 2008. (Sept. 2, 2009)
  • Gelfrand, Jonathan L., ed. "Tips to Protect Yourself from Cosmetic and Make-up Dangers." WebMD. September 10, 2008 (August 24, 2009)
  • Haines, Cynthia Dennison, ed. "Permanent Makeup: Cosmetic Tattooing." WebMD. July 01, 2005 (August 26, 2009)
  • Marie Claire. "Has Your Makeup Expired?" (Aug. 24, 2009)
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  • Mason, Linda. "Makeup Tips for Facing the Holidays: A Live Chat with Linda Mason, author of Makeup: The Art of Beauty." WebMD. (Aug. 21, 2009)
  • Reader's Digest Canada. "Complete Guide to Makeup Essentials." (Aug. 24, 2009)
  • WebMD. "How to Read a Label." (Aug. 24, 2009)