Will Your Makeup Expire?


Even though you may want to get all the use you can out of your purchase, using makeup that has passed its expiration date is dangerous.

Most women have used expired makeup. In surveys where these expired-yet-still-used cosmetics were collected and tested, the vast majority of it, nearly all of it, was found to have high levels of contamination of disease-causing microorganisms.

This can easily lead to:

  • rashes
  • acne
  • eye infections
  • sties

Expired makeup can also be dry and crumbly, lose color and vibrancy, or generally not perform optimally.

How Long Does It Last?

Expiration dates on most cosmetics are for unopened products. If it is unopened, completely sealed, and stored in a cool and dry place, some products can last up to 3 years. After that, its preservatives will have broken down, and it is likely no longer safe to use.

Creamier products made with oils and butter can go rancid in less time.

And products that are made “naturally” without preservatives do not last very long, and bacteria, fungi, and mold can grow quickly in them.

Many products, but not all, have a Period After Opening label, which indicates the number of months the product is likely to stay safe and effective. However, if not stored correctly, it can become contaminated or lose its effectiveness even sooner.

Each product can be slightly different depending on the ingredients used, but in general:

  • Mascara : 3–6 months
  • Eyeliner : 3–6 months
  • Lip gloss: 12–18 months
  • Foundation & concealer : 12–18 months
  • Creams: 12–18 months
  • Powders: 12–18 months
  • Lipstick: 18–24 months

Materials that are frequently exposed to the air or your hands can go bad even sooner.

Tips to Keep In Mind

When it comes to using expired makeup, it is rarely worth the risk. Always err on the side of caution.

If it smells bad, has changed color, has a funky consistency, this could be a sign of contamination and can cause an infection if you continue to use it.

  • Pay attention to the labels on each cosmetic and skincare product you use. Even if you bought them simultaneously, they might not expire at the same time.
  • Close lids entirely and store products in a cool, dry place to prevent a product from going bad.
  • Be extra careful with makeup that does not have preservatives.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying your makeup.
  • Avoid sharing your cosmetics, tools, and brushes.
  • Clean your brushes frequently and thoroughly.
  • Do not try to revive dry makeup with water or saliva, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

If you notice a product is suddenly causing irritation, or if you develop signs of an infection, discontinue using that product immediately. Throw out any makeups you used that may have contact with other contaminated products or your contaminated skin.

If you are unsure if it is still good, throw it away. Your health is more important.