Does Makeup Expire? (A Helpful Guide & Chart)

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Does Makeup Expire? Here’s what you need to know

Some of us just do a little touch-up here and there and then are those who do a full glam face on the regular. 

There are people who wear makeup as part of their profession, like makeup artists, and of course, there are people like me totally obsessed with makeup who has a huge makeup collection.

Due to the cost of the makeup products, some of us may not consider throwing anything out until we have used every last bit of the products.  Others may come across a great sale and stockpile enough products to last a decade.  Some people may have a full makeup drawer that they never sort through.  

Regardless of which categories you fall into, there are several questions that you should be asking yourself about your favorite makeup products. 

Can makeup expire? Does the makeup expire if you open it?  What about if you don’t open it?

If it does expire, where do you find the expiration date in makeup? 

What if you choose to use expired makeup?  Is it really that bad? 

These are all questions that we are going to explore and find the answers to.

makeup products that expire

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Does makeup expire if opened?

You might be unaware of this but makeup does, in fact, expire once opened. 

There are different factors that affect the shelf life of each makeup, including whether it is classified as natural makeup and what type of makeup it is, i.e. face, lip, eye, etc.

Makeup expiration dates for opened products can be anywhere from a few months up to two years.  

Despite having expiration dates, there can be times when your opened product can go bad before it is expected to. 

Things to watch out for include changes in texture, changes in how the product is working, changes in the smell of the product, and changes in the color of the product. 

If any of these changes have occurred, it is best to just go ahead and throw away the makeup in question.

How makeup is cared for can also affect its shelf life. 

If it is not kept in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight, it will most likely not last until the end of its expiration date.

This is especially true for cream- and oil-based makeups, which are known to separate in high temperatures.  

Does makeup expire if unopened?

All makeup expires eventually, even if unopened. 

It is important to remember when you purchase a product because typically it will not last more than 2 to 3 years unopened. 

There are certain products that will not last even that long unopened because of their ingredients. 

Natural makeup products do not have the preservatives that traditional makeup products have so they break down more quickly and may, in fact, only last a few months even though they are still sealed. 

Oils can go rancid so products that are oil-based may turn earlier than the average 2 to 3 years as well.  

If makeup is not stored in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight and heat, there is a strong chance that it can go bad even if it is still sealed, especially if it is oil-based like foundation. 

If makeup is kept in the bathroom, the steam from the shower can affect its longevity.

Regardless of what type of makeup it is, all preservatives eventually break down, whether it is natural makeup or traditional makeup. 

Because of this, no makeup that is unopened should be kept for more than three years.

TIP:  If you are unsure about the makeup when you open it, you can do the smell, texture, and color test.  This test checks all three characteristics to see if the makeup measures up.  If the makeup fails any of the characteristics of the test, it should be discarded.

How do you know if makeup is expired?

Every makeup has a specific expiration date if opened.  It’s important if you use and purchase makeup that you become familiar with the expiration dates of all the products that you use. 

The expiration date is in a code format called the Period After Opening or PAO

What is “the Period After Opening” or PAO?

It includes a picture of an open jar with a number and the letter M inside it. 

What it means is how many months you have to use the product once you have opened it. 

For example, if the makeup has an open jar with 24M inside it, then it can safely be used for 24 months after opening it. 

In order to use this expiration date, you have to be aware of what month the product was opened.  

Again, there are indicators to watch out for that the makeup has expired before the PAO symbol indicates it should. 

You should watch out for changes in texture, odor, efficacy, and color. 

If any of these changes occur, then you should err on the side of caution and discard the makeup in question.  An example would be if your powder blush becomes packed down and hard to use, then it would be time to discard it.

While no one wants to waste money, it’s best to not hold onto expired products for various reasons.  

Where is the expiration date on makeup?

makeup expiration date in lipstick
Makeup expiration date in a lipstick

BTW I highly recommend this lipstick from Maybelline, it’s my go-to lipstick, it’s matte but hydrating at the same time, leaving my lips just perfect!

The expiration date is in different locations for each type of makeup. 

It’s important to know where the location is so that you can be aware of when your product expires.  If you have makeup with no PAO on the physical product, then it was located on the original outer packaging that was discarded when the product was opened.

Where is the expiration date on eyeshadow palettes?

expiration date in eyeshadow palette

The expiration date on eyeshadow palettes is located on the bottom of the palette case.  It is underneath the list of ingredients.

Where is the expiration date on the foundation?

The expiration date on a foundation is located on the back of the bottle at the bottom of the ingredients. Some brands, like L’oreal Infallible Pro-Glow, have an actual expiration date stamped onto the back of the product

makeup expiration date in foundation

Where is the expiration date on mascara?

The expiration date on mascara is located on the bottom of the tube as well as on the bottom of the back of the original packaging it comes in.

Where is the expiration date on concealers?

The expiration date on concealers is located on the bottom of the back of most brands. If it is not on the physical product, then it was on the outer packaging, which has most likely been thrown away.

What happens if you use expired makeup?

Using expired makeup is not as harmless as it sounds. 

Over time makeup starts to allow the formation of bacteria due to the breakdown of its preservatives.  This bacteria can cause skin irritation, breakouts, and rashes.  Skin and eye infections can even occur.  Staph infection is even a possibility.  

Expired eye makeup can be particularly dangerous and can cause redness, irritation, and infection.  Eyeliners are the biggest cause of this. 

Side effects from expired eyeliners can be avoided if they are thrown out when they lose color or dry out.

Mold is another concern with expired makeup.  Mold grows in the moisture that builds up in the makeup containers.  The mold then becomes an irritant, causing breakouts and other irritations.

Expired makeup also tends to dry out.  You should never add water or saliva to any makeup to rehydrate it as this will cause bacteria to flourish.  Using this rehydrated makeup would cause infection or other irritations. 

Additionally, the chemical format of the makeup starts to break down over time. 

Once a makeup expires, it no longer holds up like it is supposed to.  For example, an expired foundation will no longer evenly cover the face and the length of time the application lasts is diminished. 

When makeup expires, the ingredients begin to separate in oil-based products and cause the oil to float to the top.  What this means is that you will be putting more oil than makeup directly onto your pores, causing blockages that will in turn cause acne.

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Makeup Expiration Chart

This chart can be used as a basic guide to the shelf life of opened makeup based on type.  It can be used to give you an idea of how long each type of product will last. 

Each expiration date is an average for that category.  Keep in mind that you should always look for the PAO on your makeup and follow that expiration date regardless of what this chart says.

ProductExpiration Date
Concealer12 months
Foundation12 months
Lipstick24 months
Mascara3 months
Eyeliner24 months
Liquid Eyeliner3 months
Blush24 months
Eyeshadow12 months
Bronzer24 months

Conclusion on Makeup Expiration date

it is important to know when makeup expires so that we can protect ourselves.  

While it is not out of the ordinary for you to use the same makeup for years, it is not safe or healthy. 

It is important to find the PAO on your products and follow the guideline that is set by this code.  This will protect you from bacteria, mold, and other irritants.

Additionally, expired products will not perform as well as newer products.  Coverage will not be as good and application times will not be as long.

It might be time for a good overhaul of your makeup drawer.  While it is a difficult concept to throw away what appears to still be usable makeup, if it is expired, you should throw it away to keep your skin healthy.


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Does Makeup Expire? (A Helpful Guide & Chart)

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