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How Do You Know When Your Makeup Products Have Expired?

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makeup Via Pixabay

We throw out spoiled milk and rotten veggies. We wouldn’t consume a bacteria-infested, expired product and put it into our bodies. So why would we put something like that on our skin?

Our aim here is to get you to look and feel your best, from the inside out and stay that way.

Similar to food products, makeup and skin care products will have expiration dates on the packaging. Usually, there is a symbol of a jar with an open lid, with a number and or a letter. An open lid means the expiration date applies once the product is opened or the seal is removed.

“M” is for month and “Y” is for year. “12M” means the product will last for up to 12 months after it is opened. A helpful tip is to keep your products out of the sunlight because sunlight can spoil your products faster.

The consistency of some types of makeup like powders and lotions change over time. The molecules in these products can break down into other substances and can cause your skin to have an adverse reaction. An adverse reaction can lead to dermatitis, bumps, rashes, swelling and or blisters.

Looking out for expiration dates is a must.

In addition, storing your makeup at an appropriate temperature keeps it bacteria-free. Moisture leads to the growth of bacteria, so makeup should be ideally stored in a dry area. Disinfecting your applicators with soapy water or isopropyl alcohol is also necessary to avoid infection.

However, if you do not see an expiration date, simply follow these guidelines to figure out when it’s time to refresh your make-up caboodle.

1) Mascara: good for 2-3 months

Throw it out if it gets clumpy or if it smells funny.

2) Liquid foundation and concealer: good for 6-12 months

If the liquid has separated into layers or the color has lightened, it is time to buy a new bottle or tube.

3) Lipstick: good for two years, and Lip gloss: good for one year

Dry lipstick or extra sticky gloss is an indication that the product has most likely expired.

4) Powder eye shadow and blush: good for two years

If the powder is dry and flaky, it is probably near the expiration date. Be sure to clean your makeup brushes on a regular basis as well.

5) Lotion: good for two years

A change in color or scent is an indication that the product has expired. A bottle with a pump is less prone to airborne bacteria and will last longer than jars.


Newnan Dermatology. Our top 10 makeup hygiene tips. December 2 2015.

Seventeen. Makeup 101: how long your fave products really last! December 1 2015.

Women’s Health. What happens to your dace when you use expired makeup. December 1 2015.

Reviewed December 2, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.