The beauty product expiration dates you need to know


Still using the same eyeshadow palette since high school? Well, if you needed an excuse to buy more makeup, this is it. Aside from your products losing their efficacy, if you don’t pay attention to beauty product expiration dates you run the risk of skin irritations, dermatitis, allergic reactions and infection.

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If you can’t bear the thought of parting with those palettes that you’ve been holding onto for years, there might still be hope. Here’s everything you need to know about beauty product expiration dates – including which ones you really need to follow.

How to tell when your beauty products are expired

Most of your beauty products will expire eventually, but how soon depends on factors such as preservatives, ingredients, antioxidants, packaging and where you store your products. And if you love natural beauty products, you need to be extra cautious as they expire far quicker than other products due to the lack of preservatives. Firstly, you can check the expiry date by looking for either the pot logo with how many months until it expires on it, or look for the exact month and year printed on the packaging (it looks similar to the one you would find on grocery products).

No date, no problem

But what if your product doesn’t have an expiry date on it? Some products won’t have expiry dates on them depending on where they were manufactured. If you can’t find a label, here’s a general guide:

Toss 2 years after opening

  • All powder products

Toss 12 months after opening

  • Lipstick
  • Lip gloss
  • Perfumes

Toss 6 months after opening

  • Moisturisers
  • Foundation
  • Oils
  • Serums
  • Sunscreen

Toss 3 months after opening

  • Mascara
  • Liquid eyeliner

If you’re still unsure, toss any unopened products after three years and any opened products after six months.

Colour, consistency and smell

You can also test your products to see if they’re expired by looking for the three major giveaways: Colour, consistency and smell. The first thing to look for is changes in the colour of the product For example, perfume tends to go quite yellow once it’s expired. Next, check for changes in its consistency. You should be able to notice that the formula has started to separate or gone gluggy. These signs are not good. Lastly, the biggest indicator is smell. A quick whiff of an expired product is a dead giveaway as it will smell toxic or rancid.

How long have you been holding on to your oldest beauty product?

Share your thoughts

Comments 98

  1. I am stricter with liquid products but I have a lot of powder products (eyeshadow, blush) that are years old. All my make-up are stored in a drawer away from light, moisture and heat. They seem so be fine.

  2. Eeek perfume 12 months. I certainly have some that are way longer than that! Did recently throw out some mascara and some moisturiser that had separated and that scent smelt a bit rancid. I have to strategically place items in places that I know I will use more often. I have a go to makeup kit that I rotate around and it has all my essentials for the day. This year I’ve been forced into using up stocks before buying more. Priceline currently has 50% off makeup and I have to tell myself what do I really need?!

  3. Have they seen the price of products here in Australia? Haha I’m the same I would have no makeup at all. I think as long as there is no change in color or texture I will continue using my products.

  4. Oh boy, have I got a lot of powdered products that I am definitely still keeping after reading this article. I wouldn’t recommend my friends try this but for myself I know I’m willing to take the risk to make my eyeshadows last just that little bit longer!

  5. Well it pays to buy in smaller containers but then you use more packaging, I often forget how long I have had them especially if they have been sitting in the cupboard. If they are not opened I think it is fine to keep them a little longer. Not all products have an expiry date, best before date or even when it was packaged.

  6. Nooooooo it feels like such a waste to throw out some products that I’ve barely used but I have lots to get rid off. Just shows I have way too much makeup. Also the last thing I’d want is my skin to flare up and have a reaction to an expired product. Check packaging people and do what’s best for your skin.

  7. So so helpful. I learnt so much in this article and didn’t realise how soon some products should be discarded.

    And to be fair, a lot of the products I’ve purchased don’t actually have an expiration date on them. So this was actually super helpful

  8. What a good idea. When I checked mine couldnt find any dates and of course I cant really remember how long ago it might have been. This seems like a habit that would be good to develop. Not worth risking health for the sake of using up old products.

  9. Sorry, but this is consumerism gone mad! Perfume can last for many years if stored properly -even after it’s been opened – and I’m sure that applies to other make up as well. I’d probably be careful with things I put on my lips or eyes, but hand cream? Why would that be an infection risk. I think automatically throwing things out on a random date is wasteful.

  10. Perfume does not expire unless exposed into the sun.
    we would finish our expensive perfumes in a year unless you are a heavy user or you just own one!
    i am a professional perfume retailer and this is true advice.

  11. I find I make sure I have used all the product now prior to buying a new one instead of being tempted to purchase new ones and have several different moisturisers etc and not only have I saved money but nothing has expired since I have started to do this.

  12. Kind of do that but still get sucked in. Also do the same with fabric buying, Tell myself I already have plenty but when I see something I like the will power goes out the window!

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