Do makeup products expire?

Do makeup products expire?

We all have that one foundation or mascara knocking around our makeup bags that we seem to have had for years. All very well and good, but the chances of them being out of date are pretty high. Yep, makeup has a use-by date! Here is a run-down of the dates that products expire by.


Foundation- 6-12 months 

It’s a tricky one with foundation, what I mean by this is that if you are anything like me, you probably have several foundations. I get darker as the year gets warmer so change up my foundation accordingly, which generally means I have foundations for much longer than a year… (gulp) But to save myself from applying the expired product on my face, I have a good examination of the collection as the seasons change. Here are a few things to look out for when checking your foundation.

  • Has the colour of the product changed?
  • Has it been in direct sunlight for a considerate amount of time?
  • Has it developed a funny or bad odour?
  • Are there any signs of mould?

If there is a ‘no’ for all these then you are safe to use the product for a couple of months past its use-by date, at your discretion of course. 

Concealers- 6-12 months 

You’ll find that concealers have a similar date to a foundation. The only difference would be that with some concealers, particularly the ones with a doe-foot applicator. Seeing as some concealers are used to cover any blemishes and spots, it’s of no surprise that the applicator can pick up some bacteria along the way. With the transfer of said bacteria from your face back into the tube usually results in the product becoming contaminated and can then expire quicker.

To avoid this from happening, apply some of the product on the back of a clean hand and use a clean brush to cover the area or blemish.

Lipstick- 2 year

Lipstick is one product that seems to age the best out of the bunch. Having said that, it is still a good idea to store your lipsticks in the good spot, that is away from direct sunlight and heat. Yes, lipstick may have the longest shelf life, but comes in regular contact with your mouth, and let’s face it, mouths are germ-ridden no matter how often you floss.

Cleaning your lipstick off after every application would be the best at keeping it hygienic, but understandably, not everyone has that time!

To keep your lippies looking and working their best, give them a quick spritz with a little alcohol to keep them hygienic every month, remembering to keep an eye out for any discolouration, change in colour and smell as this would mean it was time to toss them.

Mascara 3-6 months

The thing with mascara is that it is the one product that can spread infection the quickest. With the wand contaminating the product in the tube, creating a hive of bacteria. This is most certainly, why you will see professional makeup artists using separate, disposable mascara wands for each eye. Sticking to the expiration date to mascara I would personally consider the most important.  To ensure you get the full 6 months out of your mascaras, try your best not to pump the wand into the tube. It’s a habit many of us have, but in doing this you are pushing air into the case and drying out the mascara quicker!

Powder-based products (blusher, eye shadows etc) 1-2 years

You’ll find that powder formula last longer than cream or liquid products. To be honest they are pretty low maintenance out of all the makeup products out there. Store them in a drawer or on your vanity will be a good starting spot. If the formula changes in any way, begins to smell or consistency changes then it’s time for it to go.

If you have particularly oily skin, you may find that powder products, such as blush can develop a hard film on the top, altering the colour. Avoid this by dabbing your makeup brushes off on some tissue to remove any oil residue making its way from your cheeks the product. 

Cream formulas (cream blushers etc) - 1 year

Much like foundations, you need to make sure you have stored these products away from sunlight and stop them from over-heating to prevent the formula, colour, texture from changing or developing any unsettling odour. Cream blushers apply better using your fingers, which leads to you spread germs. Always wash your hands before using a cream-based product, or give it a spray of alcohol once a week to keep germs at bay!

Natural products 3-6 months

I understand I have given a rough idea of the life expectancy of natural products, but they are very difficult to store for longer than 6 months, especially when extra care isn’t taken with them! Natural products mean you have not got any preservatives in them like other cosmetics. The best place to keep these products are in the fridge, but be warned, even storing them there won’t stop them ‘going off’ sooner. If you are wanting to try natural products, it’s best to get them in smaller sizes so you have the change to use up all the product before it expires.


So, there you have it, a little guide to the expiration dates on makeup products, I can hear you all running off grabbing your makeup bags and having a clear-out as we speak! If you have any trouble trying to figure out if a product, that seems to be looking good, smelling good and applying well is close to it best before date, another tip is to check out the back of the packaging, you will see a symbol of a little jar with the lid coming off and a number in the middle. This tells you the number of months you have to use the product once it’s open before it expires.

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