Lifting the lid on makeup expiry dates

Got an eyeliner hiding at the back of your makeup drawer that has been there since the nineties? It’s time to pay attention to makeup expiry dates to learn when to ditch beauty products that could harm your skin. Sarah Simpson tells you what to bin and what to keep.

makeup expiry dates

How do you know when something has expired?
Products have a great way of telling you they have expired or shouldn’t be used; smelling different from how they used to, separating (unless it is an oil formulation which naturally seperates), a change in consistency, and of course, if it results in a skin reaction. All of these are dead giveaways that it’s time to bid the product farewell.

What happens if you use expired products?
Although it’s highly unlikely you will go blind if you use out-of-date mascara, there are real health concerns using makeup that has expired. Irritation would be the number one side effect. The area you have applied makeup to may become itchy, may sting or could react with a rash or redness. If this happens, it’s best to avoid using the product again. If you stop using it and your reaction clears up, that will confirm the prodcut was the cause. Another tip is to steer clear of sharing your makeup – this takes away any chance of cross-contamination from someone else.


makeup expiry datesMASCARA – 4 months
This is the shortest-lasting product mainly due to the fact that every time you pull the wand out, you are exposing it to bacteria. Try to replace your mascara every four months to avoid possible eye irritation. An extra tip to get more mileage from your mascara is to try and avoid pumping the wand in and out as this draws air into the tube, making your mascara dry out even further.

TIP: Wipe the opening of your bottles and tubes weekly to ensure they stay clean and sanitary.
makeup expiry datesFOUNDATION – 6 to 12 months
Once again, with bottles of foundation that require you have to contact with the product (i.e. no pump mechanism), it’s beter to err on the side of caution and stick to replacing it once or twice a year. If you notice it smells different and the texture has changed, it’s also time to bin it. Powder foundation has slightly more mileage due to the lack of oil content, so you may be able to stretch it out to 18 months.

TIP: Clean your makeup brushes once every month to ensure these tools are germ-free.
makeup expiry datesLIPSTICK – 18 to 24 months
For lippy lovers who like lots of shade and different brands, this can be tough to hear, but because this product has so much contact with your lips on a daily basis, it’s important to keep on top of the expiry date. A great tip is to wipe your lippy clean after each use to help sanitise it. Although it might seem like a good idea to keep a lippy in the car, heat and lipstick aren’t friends. Keeping them cool at all times will help longevity.
eyeliner2EYELINERS – 2 years
Luckily for eyeliners, the fact they are sharpened constantly helps to keep bacteria at bay, so you wil easily get a two-year lifespan from these.

TIP: Sharpen your pencils regularly to not only keep them clean, but to avoid them snagging at your skin.
makeup expiry datesNAIL POLISH – 1 to 2 years
Once is starts to seperate and get gluggy – and a quick shake up doesn’t help – it’s time to say goodbye.

TIP: Nail polishes will last longer if you keep them in the fridge.
skinSKINCARE – 6 to 12 months
The great thing about skincare is that most of the products have a shelf-life guide on the back of the jar or bottle. Next time you’re using it, turn the bottle around and look for the ‘open jar’ symbol and a number with a letter inside (e.g. 6M for six months). This is telling you how long you can use the product once you have opened it.The great thing is that if you are using your skincare correctly, you will normally have gone through it well and truly before the expiry deadline. Things to watch out for are masks and occasional skincare which you may not use as often, and have long since expired in the back of your bathroom cupboard.

TIP: Keep lids tightly closed on all products when not in use.