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How To Check Expiration Dates Of Makeup Products

July 23, 2019

Do you ever check for the expiration date on your makeup products? When was the last time you went through your makeup kit and threw some products out? Years ago? Never? haha, don’t be sad. I’m not here to judge. I am guilty, most of us are guilty of this.

Makeup lovers tend to hoard products and find it hard to let them go. That mascara you’re using might have expired. Stop using it. Our excuse sometimes is ‘it still smells good’ or ‘it still looks okay’ (even if it really doesn’t).

Makeup products aren’t meant to last forever. The actually expire! Lipsticks expire, foundations expire, eyeshadow palettes expire too.  Yes, you may not see an actual expiry date but you’ll see the signs. Also, there are standard number of months recommended that you should not use your makeup after, most products have this on their bodies but were mostly too ‘busy’ to check them.

Want to know how to tell if your makeup product has expired? How to check the expiration date on makeup products? When is it time to let that powder, foundation and lipstick go? You’re at the right place. Keep reading.

How Can You Check The Expiry Date Of A Makeup Product?

This is really easy, only that most of us don’t take note of it. There is a tiny symbol usually on all makeup products that tells you the validity period of the product after it has been opened.

The symbol is like an open jar symbol with the number of months indicated on the jar. It is also known as the “Period After Opening” (PAO)



We spend a lot of money on these products and letting them go can be hard but the truth is, expiry dates are there for a purpose, old makeup loses efficiency and not just that, it can do more harm than good to your skin.


When Does Foundation Expire?

The shelf life of a foundation is between 6- 2 years. Depending on the ingredients and the packaging. Water-based foundation lasts up to a year while oil-based ones can be used for up to 18 months.

Foundations in bottles with pump can last 1-2 years but those kept in a pot that gets exposed every time you want to apply should ideally be used for 6 months or not more than a year.

Signs Of Expired Foundation

  • Oil begins to rise to the top
  • Foundation begins to separate
  • Foul smell
  • Foundation consistency gets thicker than before
  • Inconsistency in formula/failure to lay well on top of the skin

Let’s say your foundation hasn’t expired yet it starts to break down, you can make your foundation last longer by applying with a clean brush, storing in a cool place and shaking the bottle often to keep the content together.

If it doesn’t break down even at expiration, it’s not advisable to continue using it because the chemical ingredients and preservatives would no longer be effective and the possibility of germ growth is increased.

When Do Lipsticks Expire?

Lipsticks and lipglosses are actually longlasting especially because they are filled with preservatives like essential oils, parabens and vitamins which reduces the incidence of the growth of germs in the lipsticks. They last for about 12-18 months, some even longer. I have a lipstick from Covergirl that has 36 months as the validity period. When cleaning your kit, always check for expired lipsticks and dispose them.

Signs Of Expired lipstick / When o Dispose Your Lipstick

  • Foul smell
  • Discolouration
  • Mould development
  • Dryness
  • Chalky texture
  • Crumbling of lipsticks.

You can make your lipsticks last longer by storing in a cool and dry place. Also, do not apply your lipstick just after you’ve eaten, it doing that can increase the risk of bacterial growth on your lipstick.

When Does Mascara Expire?

If you use mascara every day, 3 months is a good time to toss it and get a new one. If you use it occasionally, then 6 months is good. Wet environments harbour bacteria, it’s no surprise our dear beauty product has s short life span. Bacteria present on the eyelashes can easily be transferred to the mascara wand and then into the tube. You really want to be careful with mascaras because they can come in contact with your eyes if contaminated, can cause irritation or infection

Signs Of Expired Mascara / When You Should Dispose Your Mascara

  • Foul smell is the major indicator of expired lipstick
  • Just dispose it when it’s expired.

You can make your mascara last longer by preventing air from getting into the tube as this can dry it up. in case it’s dry and not yet expired, you can revive it by putting in few drops of baby oil.

When Does Eyeshadow/Powder/Blush Expire?

Powder products would generally last longer than wet ones. this is because it’s more difficult for bacteria to grow on powder products. They would last for two years or more with proper storage or maintenance. What happens most times with them is after a long time they begin to get hard and lose pigmentation or effectiveness.

Signs Of Expired Eyeshadow/Powder/Blush Expire

  • Hardness
  • Foul smell
  • Faded pigmentation.

To make your powder products last longer, prevent water from getting into them, store in a cool and dry place, apply with a clean dry brush and close them tightly to prevent them from getting oxidised, which can change the colour of the products. Check these products regularly and know when to toss them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Should You Store Your Makeup In The Bathroom?

Proper storage is important to increase the shelf life of your makeup products. Storing your makeup products in the bathroom is not a good option because of the dampness and humid steam from showers. This can increase the propagation of mould especially with products that have already passed the ‘Period After Opening’ date.

In conclusion, makeup products don’t last forever. Go through your makeup kit and toss out those that need to go.

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Till next time,


I'm Mimiejay, I blog about what I blog about.💜