Your No-Nonsense Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates

Everyone Is Guilty of Keeping Beauty Products that Are Way Past Their Expiration Date
by Nicole Blanco Ramos Makeup-Expiration-Story-Vanity-MEGAstyle-MEGAstyleph-Opener The struggle of every woman who loves cosmetics is real: When you spend hard-earned money on quality makeup, it’s difficult to just let go of them—even when it’s absolutely time to. Your makeup from a year ago seems harmless sitting on your counter but using expired products (something most women are guilty of doing today) could lead to some serious consequences. Reformulation alone is a risky deal; since the composition of makeup changes over time, the molecules in these products can potentially break down into something harmful causing skin redness, bumps, swelling rashes, and in worse cases, blisters. Bacteria builds up in makeup over time too, so using expired makeup could lead to breakouts, styes and infections. You wouldn’t eat expired food, would you? So why apply expired products right on your face? Now is as good a time as any for a makeup counter overhaul. We put together a no-nonsense guide to makeup expiration dates just for you plus tips on how to keep track of your products’ shelf life. Scroll away!  


Pictured: Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara

Expiration: 3–6 months Signs: Becomes dry and clumpy, doesn’t glide on smoothly, has a gasoline-like smell Saves: Avoid pumping the mascara wand into the container in between applications. This brings in bacteria and dries out the formula faster. Also, sharing mascara is an absolute no-no.  


Pictured: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+™, Clarins Truly Matte Hydra-Matte Lotion

Expiration: 2 years Signs: A change in color, texture or scent (although expired lotion will not damage your skin, it will no longer do its job) Saves: Opt for a moisturizer or lotion that comes with a pump dispenser. This type of packaging protects the product from airborne bacteria. This way, you product lasts longer. Meanwhile, unopened bottles should be good for another three years. More: The more active ingredients a lotion contains (like SPF) and the more bacteria introduced (as when you put your fingers into a jar), the less stable the lotion will be and the more quickly it will expire.

Liquid and Cream

Pictured: Chanel Mat Lumière Long-Lasting Soft Matte Foundation, NARS The Multiply in Copacobana

Expiration: 6–12 months Signs: A change in color, produces a harsh smell, separates into layers

Saves: Unopened, they can last for a couple of years, but once the seal is broken, start counting down. Keep these products out of moist environments (such as the bathroom) and away from heat or sunlight. UV rays can destroy the preservatives in the product making it spoil faster.

Makeup-Expiration-Story-Powder-Products-MEGAstyle-MEGAstylephPictured: Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Rose Pétale

Expiration: 2 years Signs: The formula doesn’t glide onto the applicator or pad easily, doesn’t budge from the compact Saves: Invest in a cosmetic sanitizer and makeup brush shampoo. Clean your makeup tools regularly to prevent both bacteria growth and breakouts. Avoid sharing makeup brushes.


Pictured: NARS Satin Lip Pencils

Expiration: 1 year

Signs: Looks dried out and becomes hard to apply, crumbles when used Saves: Pencil products such as lip liner, brow pencil and illuminating/highlighting pencil are a godsend. Since they require sharpening every now and then, they’re a lot more sanitary and don’t become a breeding ground for bacteria.Makeup-Expiration-Story-Eyeliner-MEGAstyle-MEGAstyleph

Pictured: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Expiration: 3–6 months Signs: You need to be most vigilant when it comes to eyeliners because these come in such close contact with your lash line (and can affect your conjunctiva). When it comes to eyeliner, you shouldn’t even wait for signs of discomfort, irritation or an off-putting smell before you make your move. Saves: Clean makeup brushes before and after using them. When applying your product, dab any excess on a clean piece of tissue instead of the back of your hand or your wrist.


Pictured: NARS Yeux Irresistible Eyeshadow Palette

Expiration: 3–6 months Signs: The formula doesn’t glide onto the applicator or pad easily, doesn’t budge from the compact

Saves: There’s a higher risk of transferring bacteria on to the product and then back to the eyes when it comes to eyeshadow. This goes for whether you use a brush or your fingertip. Foiling your eyeshadow isn’t recommended unless you use a makeup mixing palette.


Expiration: 1–2 years Signs: A change in texture and smell Saves: Store your lipstick in comfortable temperature. Cold places will dry it out while warm temperatures will make it melt.


Pictured: Stila Stay All Day® Liquid Lipstick

Expiration: 1–2 years Signs: Has a thicker consistency or turns sticky Saves: Avoid sharing your lip gloss, double dipping and lip gloss that come in containers that require you to apply the product using your fingertips. Makeup-Expiration-Story-Perfume-MEGAstyle-MEGAstyleph

Pictured: Ari by Ariana Grande, Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Chloe Rosé Eau de Toilette

  Expiration: 3–5 years Signs: Smells more acidic or harsher than its original scent (while color is a good indicator, most perfumes that have darkened over time just lose their top notes, but can still be used) Saves: Keep air out of the bottle as much as possible, avoid transferring perfume into an atomizer spray and always store your perfume in a cool, dry place with very little light. More: If a certain perfume has a lot of naturals, like citrus or other fast-evaporating ingredients, it’s more likely to turn bad much faster than a fragrance with lots of musky or woody elements. Unopened, perfume can be kept for up to five years.     Connect with! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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