We know your makeup and skin care items won’t last forever, but for how long are they good? They do have an expiration date. While it won’t kill you to use them after this date, they may lose effectiveness or could harm you (more chance to be exposed to bacteria). This article has previously appeared in dermstore.com.

Want to know specifically how long your coveted items last? Here, dermatologists Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD tell all.

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  1. Sunscreen

Though you don’t need us to remind you that wearing sunscreen is important every single day (and not only in the hottest heat wave of summertime), most people won’t go through a big bottle of sunscreen quickly. Especially if you’re only wearing a thin layer each time you apply, you might hold onto your SPF for many seasons. Dr. Shainhouse advises that if you open a bottle, be careful and pay attention.

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Shelf life: Around two years, depending on quality of care. “Sunscreens tend to have a long shelf life, and should be effective for about two years after opening,” Dr. Shainhouse says. “However, exposure to heat, when bottles are left in the sun, can cause the active sunscreen agent and vehicle ingredients to break down faster, and can also change the consistency of the lotion.”

EWG sunscreen top rated 2018 from Amazon

  1. Shampoo

 

Even if you opt for a more luxe brand of shampoo, most companies offer oversized bottles that over time are more cost-effective than spending money on a new bottle of hair wash every month. (And if you have longer hair, maybe even sooner than that.) But if you’re worried about its performance weakening over time, rest easy. Unlike most beauty products, shampoo lasts a long time.

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Shelf life: You can keep these for a while, just make sure they’re tightly sealed and kept in a clean shower. “Closed shampoo bottles will last for many years on the shelf. Open ones can last for a couple of years, too, so long as they are closed tightly and don’t get diluted down with shower water, or contaminated with mildew,” Dr. Shainhouse notes. She also adds that a gel shampoo will last much longer than a creamy one.

Find natural, sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoos at Sephora

 

  1. Soaps and Cleansers

 

If you’ve made the swap to bar soap from your shower gel, you’ll know that a bar of soap will last for quite a long time. But is it okay to use for months upon months? Whichever way you choose to cleanse your body, you have full permission to take your time.

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Shelf life: You can keep these for a while, just make sure they’re tightly sealed and kept in a clean shower. “Closed shampoo bottles will last for many years on the shelf. Open ones can last for a couple of years, too, so long as they are closed tightly and don’t get diluted down with shower water, or contaminated with mildew,” Dr. Shainhouse notes. She also adds that a gel shampoo will last much longer than a creamy one.

Beauty cleansers at Barneys New York

 

  1. Moisturizers

 

By now, it’s part of your daily routine to wake up, wash your face, turn on the coffee pot and apply your moisturizer. Most people become pretty loyal to their trusted moisturizer and you should be equally as dedicated to making sure your old faithful is still going strong.

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Shelf life: Dr. Shainhouse says that a good moisturizer will last up to a year, and that as long as it looks and feels as it did when you first popped open the bottle, you’re good to go.

Best selling cleansers at Space NK USA

 

  1. Serums

 

These mighty but powerful drops on your face make a big difference in the texture, complexion and youth of your cells. While recommended by most dermatologists, especially as we age, serums don’t last as long as we would like them to, especially if they’re opened. It’s not that they necessarily go bad, it’s that they lose the good stuff that makes us shell out the extra cash for them from the get-go.

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Shelf life: About a year, according to Dr. Shainhouse. “While the active ingredients might lose some of their stability, like vitamin C, or potency over time, if the product looks unaffected, it is not harmful to use for at least a year,” she says.

3-step skincare quiz from Cult Beauty to find your perfect match

 

  1. Foundation

 

It’s as if makeup companies are in cahoots with one another, getting you completely dependent on one shade of foundation and then discontinuing it, right when you need a refill. “Don’t save the end of the bottle of the ‘best color’ for years, because the product will most definitely begin to break down and clump or separate over time,” Dr. Shainhouse says. So how long can you keep it?

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Shelf life: Dr. Shainhouse says you have about a year to hold onto your prized liquid foundation before it’s time to break up with it. However, if you have a sponge-style foundation or a cream-base one that requires you to re-dip your fingers or sponge blenders into it, cut yourself off at six months. Why? “Because they are more easily contaminated with acne, causing bacteria or yeast,” she explains.

Best selling foundations from Ulta

 

  1. Blush

 

Though not everyone is pro-blush (you might be more in the bronze or highlighter camp), this beauty product tends to last a while, making you look brighter and sometimes, even younger.

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Shelf life: Dr. Shainhouse says that powder blushes will last a few years if they aren’t broken, while a gel-stick or a cream blush might dry out faster with consistent use. No matter what type you use, make sure you clean your brushes frequently to prevent breakouts.

Designer Blush at barneys

 

  1. Mascara

 

Even if you don’t wear any other makeup, you probably still rely on mascara to make your eyes look brighter. However, this popular product doesn’t last as long as many of its cosmetic friends.

 

Shelf life: If you use it every single day (or most days), your mascara should only last three to six months, Dr. Shainhouse says.

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How to know when it’s bad: There are some dangers with mascara, simply because of how it’s applied. “This is a product that screams ‘double dipping’ and it is applied to an ‘open area’ that comes in contact with body fluids, so it is prone to breeding bacteria and yeast in the tube,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. “If the product starts to smell off, becomes thick and clumpy or changes color, throw it out. If you used it while you had a cold or pink eye, throw it out.”

Best mascara and mascara kit from Nordstrom

 

  1. Lipstick and Lip Pencils

 

Some ladies don’t feel like their best self until they have some color on their pucker and if that’s you, you probably have a signature shade. While it probably won’t last you a full year, lipstick can make it up to 365 days, if kept properly.

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Shelf life: “If you use the same stick daily, get a new one every six to 12 months,” Dr. Shainhouse says.

Shop for best lipstick, lip gloss & lip liner at Space NK USA

  1. Nail Polish

 

Raise your hand if you still have a nail polish you bought when you were in high school that you just can’t get rid of. (Guilty.) Though you might have sentimental attachment to one of your first beauty products, Dr. Shainhouse says it’s time to let it go.

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Shelf life: “Nail polishes tend to get thick, dry and sticky after a year or so,” she says. Though she adds that you can try to thin them out by adding acetone. But if they start going bitter, let them go.

50 All Time Best Sellers in Nail Polish from Amazon

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