Shelf life and storage of cosmetics

Most care products are long lasting when properly stored. Cosmetics that have a shelf life of less than 30 months must be covered by a best before date. However, this will not apply once the product has been opened. Therefore, since March, all cosmetics have been labeled with a new symbol, an open cream pot, for more than ten years. The symbol indicates a number of months during which the opened product can be safely used.


Whether a product has become unusable can usually be determined at first glance: if the color or odor changes or components of a cream have separated, it should be disposed of.

A general advice is to keep cosmetics in dry and cool places. But it does not have to be the fridge, because the cold also causes problems with emulsions (fat and water separate), powders start to crumble and lipsticks lose their color.


Below you will find guidelines for how long cosmetic products such as self-tanner, mascaras and Co. are safe to use after opening:

  • Eye creams are only stable for up to four months, as they contain very few preservatives to protect the eye area.
  • Mascaras can be used for about three to six months after onset, but should be replaced after conjunctivitis necessarily. Liquid eyeliners can be used for up to eight months.
  • Self-tanning should be used after half a year at the latest, otherwise they lose their tanning effect.
  • Creams and masks, whether for the face or the body, are stable for about a year from opening. If oil and water separate, they should be disposed of.
  • Foundations last for about a year. With them, the closure should be cleaned from time to time.
  • Nail polishes last about a year in the opened vial. After that they slowly become tough and are difficult to pass.
  • Perfume lasts for one to two years in cool and dark storage. As soon as the color of the fragrance changes, the fragrance composition is no longer that of the original fragrance.
  • Cleaning products can be used carefree for up to 2 years. For alcoholic tonic for up to 3 years.
  • Lipsticks keep well closed for up to 3 years, as well as lip gloss. Sun exposure is poison for lipsticks.
  • Powders in pressed form can be used for up to five years. However, brushes or sponges should be cleaned or replaced regularly.
  • Deodorants have the longest shelf life. They can be used until they dry out.
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