Shocking Facts About Beauty Product Expiration Dates

By on 08/12/2015
makeup-expiration label

makeup expiration datesBe honest… if you were to dump out your makeup bag right now, would you know how old each item is?

Even more important, do you know the damage you could be causing yourself by using expired makeup and other beauty products?

It’s a little known fact that no matter how expensive or high quality your products are, they all have beauty product expiration dates… and it’s probably sooner than you think!

Just because your mascara still seems the same and applies the same, it doesn’t mean it’s still as safe and effective as it was when you first purchased it!

In fact, mascara and other liquid eye-make up products have a shelf life of only 3 months! After that time the product will start to separate and become less functional, meaning it won’t thicken your lashes as much, or last as long, and is more likely to smudge and run. Additionally, the risk of eye irritation and redness greatly increases because the molecular structure of the product changes and can cause reactions with your delicate eye skin.

Here is a list of beauty product expiration times:


3 Months:

Liquid eye products like eye liner and mascara, which break down quickly and can irritate the delicate skin of the eyes.

6 Months:

Foundation – liquid and powder. Foundation easily becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria is harmful in 2 ways: it breaks down the foundation making it less functional, and it causes breakouts and irritation on your skin.

Facial Creams – Most facial creams contain many sensitive active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and other glycolic ingredients. These are very delicate substances that breakdown relatively quickly and will not only lose effectiveness (meaning you aren’t getting your full anti-aging or other skin care goals met), they can also become skin irritants over time.

moldy face cream

(Pro Tip: If you buy a cream or serum that is stored in a pump and kept away from sunlight or extreme heat, you can likely go almost a year before the product will expire as it is protected from outside elements like air, light and heat.)

1 Year:

Lipstick – Think about this one. Lipstick is applied daily to your lips… meaning it is exposed to all the bacteria in your mouth, as well as any viruses you may have… EVERY DAY. While engineered to not be friendly to bacteria, lipstick isn’t perfect and after about a year your chances are good of it containing bacteria that are affecting the quality of your lipstick. Additionally, if you are sick, it is a very good idea to skip the lipstick until the bug has passed, which can prevent you from re-infecting yourself.

Nail Polish – Within a year, your once lovely nail polish will start to get clumpy, gooey and hard to apply. Time to toss it. If you notice your polish breaks down sooner than a year, you may want to change where you are storing it. Light and extreme temperatures can quickly affect its quality.

Shampoo – One year is the timeline for when shampoo’s chemical structure will start to break down, rendering it ineffective, goopy, oily or even smelly. While you may be thinking, “Hey! I use an entire bottle of shampoo way before a year’s time!” What about those backup bottles you have under the sink? Or the “hand me down” bottles you passed on to the guest bathroom when you found something better for yourself? Once open and exposed to air and water, contamination has begun and your shampoo will turn into “shamp-eeeww” within a year. That is probably not something you want to offer your guests!

2 Years:

Perfume and other fragrances – If properly stored (away from sunlight and extreme heat) your fragrances will last about 2 years. After this time the dreaded chemical breakdown begins and the product can change in color, scent, longevity and even start causing irritation where applied to skin.

So, what is the best way to manage your beauty product freshness?

Here are 2 suggestions, one high tech and one low:

  • For the phone-dependent ladies out there, simply get in the habit of setting reminders in your phone. The day you buy a new product set a reminder for 3 months, 6 months, or whatever is appropriate from that date to replace that exact product. Not so hard, right?
  • For those who prefer the “old school” approach, simply label each product with a small sticker that has the month and year of expiration. Just be sure to use a permanent marker and stick the label somewhere where the sticker wont get rubbed blank or fall off. The bottom of the product is usually label

If these systems seems a little silly to you, just please remember that one of the best “secrets” to keeping your skin youthful, bright and blemish free is to keep it free of toxins, irritants and other harsh environmental conditions… and the earlier you start protecting your skin the better off you will be! Makeup has been lab tested to be safe for application on your face… but only until it expires! After that point all guarantees are off and as the chemical structure of your beauty products being to break down, you are putting your face at serious risk.




About modernhealthproject

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna

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