Does Makeup Expire? When You Should Toss it Out

How long has that tube of your favorite mascara been sitting on your vanity? Chances are, too long! Yes, even makeup and skincare products have a shelf life and it’s quite short compared to what I once believed.

Many cosmetic and skincare products are pricey so it can be tempting to use every last drop. This is why I tend to shell out more money on items I use daily than on those that I use on occasion.

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I had Estee Lauder’s Double Wear (pricey, yet amazing foundation) that has started to separate. I’ve only used about half the bottle in the past year, and although hard to do, it’s time to throw it out.

Sharing makeup expiration dates

All makeup eventually expires, usually within 2 years, so it’s a good idea to do regular inventory checks.

Keeping beauty products longer than recommenOnce a product is exposed to air, harmful bacteria starts to grow and can become a health issue. Skin irritation, clogged pores, infections, pink eye, and sty’s may result if you decided to overlook a product’s shelf life.

The best practice is to look over your makeup collection at the change of the season to either toss or use up before it expires. You spend good money on beauty products so you want them to work as they should and that means using them within their shelf life.

How to Check Expiration Date on Makeup

Most products’ shelf life starts as soon as the contents are exposed to air, or when it is opened. Unopened products haven’t been exposed to air so their shelf life is a bit longer.

If you look at the packaging, you’ll notice a picture of a jar with a number near it (EX 12M.) This indicates how many months that product is good for once it is opened. It’s called the Period After Opening (PAO.)

how to tell when your makeup expires.

Other factors may play a role in altering the general guidelines for skincare and cosmetic product’s shelf life. Humidity, sunlight, and warmer temperatures may contribute to accelerating product breakdown, or contribute to faster bacterial growth.

Pro Tip: Do not store cosmetics and skincare products inside your bathroom. The humidity from warm showers may create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Items that are not opened may have a longer shelf life. However, even the best preservatives do break down over time so you’re better off tossing it after 2 years.

Another thing to consider is the ingredients in your beauty products. Organic or natural cosmetics may lack preservatives and may expire sooner.

To help preserve your cosmetics, try storing in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. You may even invest in a makeup fridge to help extend the shelf life of your cosmetics or skincare products.

How Long Should You Keep Makeup?

Not all makeup is created equal so don’t treat it as such. Different formulations and application techniques will determine how long you should keep certain products.

For example, mascara should be tossed out around the 3 month mark. You want to play it safe around the delicate eye area because you could risk getting a sty or eye infection.

Products such as eyeliners and lip liners may last a bit longer because they require constant sharpening. Here’s a makeup expiration chart to help you stay on top of your inventory.

Print this Chart HERE

How To Extend Your Cosmetics’ Shelf Life

While you don’t want to get too used to surpassing the recommended shelf life, there are some ways to make your makeup last a bit longer. Here are some things to remember to ensure your cosmetics last as long as they should:

  • don’t share makeup with anyone
  • wash your hands before application
  • wash your makeup brushes and sponges regularly (at least once a week)
  • store cosmetics in cool, dry place away from direct sunlight

Aside from being a potential health risk, you’ll notice expired makeup smell, look, or feel different. Your pressed powders may be too compact to get any product. Your foundation may separate (actually happened to my Estee Lauder Double Wear), or you’ll notice a funky smell.

Pro Tip: As soon as you open a package, look at the chart and write the month and year that the product is set to expire. Then, once a month, review your inventory and toss what is old.

I hope these tips and suggestions are helpful. I know I need to be a bit more vigilant when it comes to my own makeup. Make sure you are sharing this information with a friend, or better yet, share this article on your social media, and don’t forget to tag me! I’d love to give you a shout out.

Hi there! So happy you're here. My name is Maria -- content creator, blogger, wife, mother of 2 and lover of all things fashion, beauty, and home. Take a look around...I think you'll like it here.

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