Did you know that just like food, beauty products also have an expiry date? And that it’s just as important to keep an eye on the makeup expiration dates of EVERY product in your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet.
You’re already aware that eating foods that have expired are bad for your health. Well, if you’re still using makeup and beauty products that are past their expiry date, this will also have a negative effect on your health!
So how can you tell when your makeup products expire? How do you even find these dates? Read on to find out all you need to know in this Definitive Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates.
I recently went on a bit of a decluttering binge of my entire apartment, including my makeup bag and bathroom. You know those days where you JUST can’t handle one more second of looking at all of the clothes, makeup, food, bank statements etc that you’ve been meaning to clear out for ages?
But every time you go to do it, you know it will take you a long time to get through it all! So you continue to put up with the mess and the fact that it will take an AGE to actually find what you were looking for in the first place!
Whilst that’s okay in general and doesn’t technically damage your health (except for getting on your nerves that is), the same can’t be said for makeup and beauty products.
Holding on to products that have been sitting in your makeup bag or bathroom for too long is not just causing clutter. It could, in fact, cause you some serious skin problems, like irritations and infections. Let alone other health issues!
You may have only used a product once. But as soon as you open it, air hits the formula and the ingredients begin to oxidise and degrade. Heat and humidity play a big part in speeding up the shelf life of a product.
So this is why it’s not a good idea to store your makeup products in your bathroom. It can cause yeast and mould to contaminate your products. So it’s best to store your products in a cool, dry place.
FINDING MAKEUP EXPIRATION DATES ON YOUR PRODUCTS
The first step is to find the makeup expiration dates of your makeup products. So now you’re probably thinking, well Noleen, how do I find the expiration date of each product?
The problem here is, that you won’t actually find one! Unfortunately, makeup and beauty products are not regulated in the same way foods are. So unlike food, in most cases, you won’t find an actual use by date on your makeup products.
However, what you will find is an open jar symbol with a number such as 3M, 12M, 24M, and so on. I bet you’ve seen these before, but you most likely never paid any attention to them, as you didn’t realise what they meant.
This symbol is actually referred to as the PAO symbol, which stands for Period After Opening. It refers to the number of months from when you first opened your product.
So for example, if you see the open jar symbol with 3M written on it, this means that the Makeup Expiration Date is 3 months from the day you first opened your product.
But What If I Don’t Remember When I First Opened My Products?
Great question! And don’t worry if you’re unsure as to when you first opened the product. These tips will also be a good indication if it’s time to spring clean your makeup bag and throw them out:
Be Aware of Changes in Smell & Consistency
Two of the most important things to be aware of are smell and consistency. When a product starts to smell bad, you’ll know that something is not right.
The same applies if it’s consistency changes. For example, when a liquid foundation is thicker than usual. Then it’s definitely time to throw it out! Even if it hasn’t reached its full makeup expiration date.
If in doubt, throw them out!
If you really can’t remember when you first opened them, then it’s best to just throw them out! It’s better to be safe than sorry rather than keep a product that could cause you some serious infections, skin irritations or health problems.
MAKEUP EXPIRATION DATES GUIDE
I’ve compiled a list for you below of the general expiration periods of each type of product. This will give you a good indication of how long you can hold on to your products, and when it’s time to throw them out. I’ll start with the shortest makeup expiration dates and work upwards.
The products to be most cautious of are water-based products. Mascara, liquid eyeliners and gel eyeliners come into this category. As these are all products for the eye area, these are the ones that you DO NOT want to take any chances with!
If you use these products once they’re past their use-by date, you’re leaving yourself open to eye infections. So definitely not the gorgeous glamorous eye look that you’re going for!
You generally know these products are ready for the bin as they’ll have dried out. However, don’t wait only until this happens.
Even if you’ve only used your mascara or eyeliner a few times within a 3-6 month period, you’ll still need to throw it out once this period is up. As I said, it’s really NOT worth risking this one!
Liquid and cream face products are products that fall into this category. Liquid foundations, liquid concealer and cream foundation are some examples.
Consistency and smell will be great indicators here if you’re unsure as to when you first opened your product. For example, if your foundation has separated. Or if the oil has risen to the top. Perhaps the consistency has thickened.
These are all good indicators that it’s past its use-by date.
Do your skin a favour by throwing it out and buying yourself a new one. Otherwise, you run the risk of breakouts, skin irritations, or even worse – infections.
Lipsticks and lipglosses also fall into this time frame. Make sure to ALWAYS keep lids on lipsticks and glosses when not in use.
If you notice the consistency change in your lip products, or if they start to smell, throw them out immediately.
Bear in mind that you’re basically ‘eating’ the products that go on your lips. So they’re very easily digested into your system. You wouldn’t eat food that’s expired. So make sure makeup products that have expired too.
Powder products have a longer shelf life than liquid products. This is because they’re less susceptible to bacteria, as they don’t contain water. Hence the bacteria can’t grow in them.
Powder-based makeup products such as eyeshadow, blusher and mineral foundation all fall into this category.
When powder products are past their use-by dates, they’re more likely to crumble. This is because the trace amounts of water contained in them begins to evaporate.
Another side effect of this is that they tend to dry out. This makes it hard to pick up the product on your makeup brush.
Lip pencils and eye pencils, such as eyeliner and eyebrow pencils, also have longer makeup expiration dates.
Make sure to sharpen them after EVERY use which will help to prevent bacteria and will keep them nice and clean.
Tips to help your products last longer
Now that you know the makeup expiration dates of each product type. So here are a few tips to ensure your makeup products actually last as long as they should.
1. ALWAYS keep lids on
When your products are not in use (eg: sitting in your makeup bag), it’s important to always keep the lids on them.
Otherwise, not only will they dry out more quickly, but they’ll also be susceptible to bacteria.
This applies to everything from foundations, moisturisers, lipsticks and even pencils such as lip and eye pencils.
2. DON’T pump mascara
This just pushes air into the tube and causes the product to dry out faster. Instead, slowly draw out the wand whilst twisting the brush from side to side.
And if you find it hard to choose a mascara, these tips here will help you choose the best mascara for your eye shape.
3. DON’T store your products in your bathroom
Or anywhere where it’s warm and damp. It’s best to store your products in a cool, dry place.
Keep your makeup products in your makeup bag. And make sure not to leave them in direct sunlight or on a window sill, for example.
4. Keep a record of your products
Now that you know what to look out for, you’ll want to keep track of any new products you buy.
A good way to do this is to buy yourself some labels, write down the date you first opened it, and attach it to the product. This is particularly handy for products with longer makeup expiration dates.
5. USE your products!
Stop saving your gorgeous products for a ‘special occasion’.
Why not make EVERY DAY a special occasion and go ahead and treat yourself by using those beautiful products.
You don’t have to use every single product every day. But make sure to use at least a couple of them and mix it up each day.
It will make you feel SO FABULOUS and amazing. And you’ll wonder why you weren’t treating yourself so well before. 🙂
Make sure to check out the Cosmetics Europe website. It’s such a great resource with lots of helpful information about the safety rules and regulations for beauty products and the beauty industry in general.
Now that you’ve started, you might as well keep going as you’re on a roll here! 🙂 And it’s important to ensure ALL the beauty products sitting in your bathroom are okay to use too.
Don’t worry, as I’ve made it easy for you with the (totally FREE!!) Shelf Life of Beauty Products Guide. In it, I’ve given you the PAO dates of ALL types of beauty products.
This includes things like shower gels, moisturisers and even sponges! Actually, these can contain really nasty bacteria! So be mindful of this one.
But don’t worry, the guide will tell you what to do and when to through them out. Just enter your details below and you’ll have your guide straight away so that you can get decluttering! 🙂
Do You Need More Help?
Spring Cleaning your makeup bag is just the first step.
Once you’ve established what needs to be thrown out, the next step is making sure that you buy products that you ACTUALLY use by buying products that SUIT YOU PERFECTLY.
This is one of the most important topics I go through with my clients in my private makeup coaching sessions.
If you’d like some help with your makeup bag, I’d love to help you.
I’ll create a customised routine for you that contains personalised product recommendations that are RIGHT for YOU.
So you’ll never have to waste money again throwing out products that you’ll never use, or only use a couple of times at most.
Remember, it’s better to have only a few products in your makeup bag that you actually use, rather than a ton of products that you’ll never use.
Now it’s over to you. Did you find this Definitive Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates helpful?
When was the last time you did a Spring Clean of your makeup bag and bathroom?
There’s no judgement here, I’d just love to hear from you. So let me know in the comments below. xo