Discover the beauty of freshness with our makeup expiration date chart! Know when it’s time to say goodbye to your old favorites 😉
I’m pretty sure even as I write this; you have one makeup item in your bag that’s been toiling for years. Maybe it’s your favorite liner that you’ve been using for God knows why five years or a lipstick that never seems to end.
It can be comforting — to get attached to a makeup product, especially if no immediate side effects are seen. However, with time, all makeup expires and calls for replacement.
On that note, I’m going to talk about the expiration date for makeup and skincare essentials in this blog. By the end, you’ll be aware of when to replace cosmetics, how to find makeup expiry, and what to do with expired makeup.
But before that, let’s first find out why you need to replace your makeup.
What Happens When You Use Expired Makeup?
Sell-by date or the expiration date is the time limit after which a product turns ineffective and in some cases, even harmful. Your makeup is no exception.
I remember getting pimples near my eye a couple of days after using eyeliner, every single time. At first, I thought my skin was reacting to that particular brand. But it took me weeks to realize I was using an expired eyeliner.
Once past the expiration date, you might not notice the side effects right away. However, within a month or two, you will become aware of the inefficacy of the product. It may give off a pungent odor, become flaky, or change color/texture.
People with sensitive skin types may encounter irritation and inflammation as the expiration date approaches. You can also get blisters, bumps, rashes, and swelling if expired makeup sits on your skin for even an hour.
The reason why makeup expires is that it contains preservatives, oils, and fats, which can lose their properties over time and become spoiled. As a result, instead of having well-protected skin, you might end up with bacterial infections by using, let’s say, an expired sunscreen.
How Long Does Unopened Makeup Last?
Expiration dates generally refer to the entire shelf life of any sealed product. So, if you haven’t taken off the seal from your makeup item yet, there’s a solid chance it’s gonna last till the mentioned expiry date.
Cosmetic products (makeup and skincare) usually have an expiration date of 2-3 years. Beyond this point, the product might stop functioning at all, gradually decrease its efficiency, or even pose a harmful threat to the user.
However, even this safe period of 2-3 years is conditional.
You must have come across instructions like “store in a cool and dry place.” So, if your makeup is sealed but in humid and wet surroundings, it will go bad before even reaching its expiration date.
These dates are mentioned either using the abbreviation “EXP” or “use before” followed by the date.
What About Opened Makeup?
Whenever we talk about open makeup, we generally refer to PAO (Period After Opening) instead of the expiration date.
In simple words, if your makeup is sealed and stored the right way, it will last until the expiry date. But if you’ve started using it, you must look out for the PAO.
You can easily find PAO on any cosmetic product. It’s specified using a jar symbol with an open lid and a number written on the jar followed by the letter “M” (which stands for “month”). So, if there’s 24M written on the jar symbol, the PAO is 24 months or 2 years.
One thing to watch out for is how close your PAO and expiration date are. Let’s say your expiration date is 01/01/2026, and PAO is 12 months.
Now, if you’re opening your makeup for the first time 4 months before the expiration date, the PAO is not going to work because the shelf life is already nearing its end. You can use it for these remaining 4 months at max. But after that, you’ll have to discard it.
General makeup expiration chart After Opening (PAO)
Given below is a list of some basic makeup products along with their general PAO dates:
|Makeup Sponge||3 months|
|Liquid Eyeliner||3 months|
|Foundation||6 months to 1 year|
|Eye Shadow||1 year|
|Nail Polish||1 year|
|Liquid Lipstick||1 year|
|Lip Gloss||1 year|
|Cream Blush||1 year|
|Eye Liner Pencil||2 years|
|Powder Blush||2 years|
|Lip Balm||1 to 5 years|
Shelf Life Of Skincare Products
Besides your makeup essentials, even skincare items like face masks, serums, lotions, etc., are prone to expiration. Let’s take a quick look at how long these daily-use products last:
|Face Masks||3 months – 1 year|
|Face Serum||6 months – 1 year|
|Sunscreen||6 months – 2 years|
|Face Wash||1 year|
|Body Oil||1 year|
|Eye Cream||1 year|
|Body Wash||1-2.5 years|
|Body Lotion||2 years|
|Face Cream||2 years|
|Hair Gel & Hairspray||2-3 years|
Signs Your Makeup Has Expired
At times, we mindlessly throw away the packaging which has the expiration date printed on it. Or don’t follow the necessary instructions to keep the product safe, clean, and fresh.
In such cases, it may seem hard to keep track of whether your makeup has expired or not. But with the following indicators (according to each makeup type), you can easily find it out!
If your mascara suddenly seems clumpy after being in a good state for quite a time and smells gasoline-like, it’s time to replace it.
Liquid eyeliners are similar to mascara when it comes to going bad. For pencil ones, if the tip is starting to get white deposition that’s hard to remove, change it.
A foundation with an unpleasant odor and changing color/texture is a BAD foundation. Plus, if you can see a layer of oil at the top or water at the bottom of the foundation, stop using the product immediately.
- Lip Gloss & Lipstick
A lip gloss/stick that cannot spread evenly and leaves behind tiny lumps of it isn’t really in good shape. A change in color is another sign you need to replace your lip makeup.
While powder concealers don’t go off that easily, liquid ones are a real turn-off. Especially if you can see your concealer change color and texture, i.e., it becomes thick and gel-like.
- Nail Polish
Although I don’t need to tell you, your nail polish has expired because all of us have faced it at least once in our lives. But just for the record, replace it if the lumps within the product do not dissolve even after adding nail polish thinner.
What To Do With Expired Makeup?
If it’s been long since your makeup has expired or it smells weird and has become oily/watery, dump it. There’s absolutely no way to reuse it without harming yourself, and it needs immediate replacement.
However, if it has recently expired, seems in good condition, and you’re having second thoughts, jump to the next section!
FAQs you might want answers to 😉
Can I use makeup from 3 years ago?
Makeup has a shelf life as all the preservatives in your makeup do break one day, and using old products can irritate your skin, cause breakouts, and even lead to infections. Most makeup will go bad after 3-4 years.
It’s best to check the label on each product for an expiration date. Most brands recommend replacing opened items after 12 months and unopened products every four years, but individual formulas may vary.
For example, eye makeup such as mascara and liquid eyeliner has a relatively short shelf life of 3-6 months due to the risk of bacterial contamination. Powdered products like eyeshadows and blushes can last for 2 years or more. Lipsticks and lip glosses have a shelf life of 1-2 years.
Is it OK to use expired makeup?
No, using expired products can be risky – not only can they cause skin irritation or breakouts, but they can also increase your risk of skin infection.
How To Reuse Expired Makeup?
1. Turn Your Eye Makeup Into Gorgeous Nail Polish!
Take your favorite eye shadow color out of the palette and crush it into fine particles. Add it to clear nail polish, and there you have it — your first-ever customized nail paint!
2. Dump Your Mascara, But Keep The Wand!
If your mascara is no longer useful and needs a reality check, you’re most welcome to throw it away. BUT NOT THE WAND.
You can clean the spoolie thoroughly with warm water and mild soap before reusing it as a standalone brush. Be it shaping your eyebrows, setting standing-out hair strands, or giving your lips a gentle scrub. You name it. Your brand-new versatile brush has got it all!
3. Lip Balms As Skin Softeners
Whether you’re fed up with your current lip balm that works well or you’re unable to use it because it has expired. Whatever the reason, you can still reuse it on the heels of your feet to keep them moisturized, soft and uncracked. Or on your cuticles to nourish them.
4. Get Thick, Long Lashes With Expired Powder
Dab on some powder between different coats of your mascara on your lashes to mimic thick lashes effortlessly.
Turn old and expired nail polishes into normal paints to give a personal touch-up to mugs, plates, planters, pen stands/holders, etc.
Conclusion on the expiration date for makeup & skincare
It’s alright to use expired makeup for a couple of weeks longer if your favorite product is sold out or you don’t have time to find a replacement immediately. But don’t prolong the purchase, or else you’ll end up damaging your skin.
Some products may begin to break down and rot way before the mentioned expiration/PAO date. This is likely due to negligence and not taking proper care of your makeup essentials.
Thus, ensure you follow the storage guidelines properly to keep your makeup and skincare products in working condition. Track your expiration and PAO dates to avoid getting an allergic reaction. In case you do face it, see a doctor as soon as possible and avoid wearing makeup for some time.
And don’t forget to reuse (or even recycle) your expired makeup to explore your crafty side and create DIY cosmetics in no time!
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