Skip to main content

MAC Cosmetics Expiration Dates

I'm a software engineer that enjoys writing about cosmetics and skincare.

MAC Pigments

MAC Pigments

Contrary to popular belief, makeup does expire. MAC cosmetics are no exception. The majority of cosmetics expire in one year. However, there are certain cosmetics that expire in a few short months and certain cosmetics that last a lot longer than one year.

The reason cosmetics have expiration dates is that over time bacteria builds up in them and when used they can cause infections, acne, and other nasty afflictions. A good way to extend the life of your makeup is by continuously and properly cleaning your makeup brushes. However, mascara brushes can't and shouldn't be cleaned, which is why mascara has the shortest shelf life of any cosmetics.

The Problem With Makeup Expiration Dates

The problem with makeup expiration dates is that most people don't know or don't realize that they are using an expired cosmetic till it's too late (ouch an eye infection!). Many MAC cosmetics (along with many other brands of makeup) do, however, list an expiration date on some of their products. If a particular MAC item has an expiration date on it there will be a tiny cylinder on the back, side, or packaging of the product with a number inside it, such as "24M," which simply means the product should expire in two years.

How to Estimate Shelf Life

If your MAC items do not have an expiration date on them or you simply can't find the expiration date, don't worry! I have included a list of (it's impossible to give precise numbers) general shelf life estimates for each general MAC item:

  • Lipsticks and Lipglosses: 1 year with regular usage.
  • Pigments: These can last for 5+ years depending on how you use them. I recommend not using them straight out of the jars (so that bacteria doesn't get trapped in the main jars).
  • Mascara: 3 to 4 months. When applying mascara don't pump the brush, if you do the air along with bacteria will be pushed down into the tube which will not only pollute the mascara, but also dry it out. Also, remember never to share your mascara!
  • Eyeshadows: 1 to 2 years. Creams expire much faster than powders.
  • Blush: 1 to 2 years.
  • Foundation: Liquid foundation and foundation with SPF in it usually only lasts a year. Powder foundation lasts 1 to 2 years.
  • Lip Pencils: Up to 3 years.
  • Eyeliner: Liquid eyeliners last 6 months to a year. Pencil eyeliners can last up to three years.
  • Concealer: 1 year.
  • Nail Polish: Nail polishes can last a long time (5+ years). Even if they get too thick you can always buy some paint thinner, thin them out and keep using them.

As you can see from the list above, powder products last much longer than cream products, so if you love buying makeup, but don't currently have a money tree in your backyard, definitely focus on buying more powder products and not as many cream products.

Things to Keep in Mind

Please keep a couple of things in mind when using these shelf life estimates. If at any time a cosmetic item you are using begins to smell or look weird/discolored definitely discontinue use of it immediately. Also make sure to keep your makeup in a cool, dry place during the summer!

Note: Expiration dates only apply to cosmetics that have been opened and exposed to air. Those still in their packaging and closed are protected from contaminants that may be harmful to the user over time. This means that unopened cosmetics may still be fine to use 5+ years after buying them!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 perpetuallysunny


Meem on July 11, 2020:

When does Mac setting spray+primer one expires?? I bought that in 2019

Swathy on March 26, 2019:

When does mac compact powder expires

Zyra P. Gamboa on March 19, 2018:

Hi! I bought 2 weeks ago a mac lipstick in Rustans and i found out that the manufacturing date was january 2016 but they did not pud the expiration date. Are these products are still allowed to be consumed by the public? Thank you

Jeniffer Hernandez on April 03, 2017:

I have some of macs lipsticks only used once in 1.5 years are they expired?

The Front Ro on September 14, 2016:


Tomy on May 21, 2014:

Im from sri lanka and i bought mac cosmotic produts.but non of them mentioned expiry or manufactured date.and also i hope to use them occasionly(normally i dnt use makeups)how long i can use them?ex.mascara i used one time for as u mentioned earlier i also can use it 3mnths or more than that.plz answer me

amylela from Malaysia on April 11, 2011:

i had bought MAC mascara but rarely use it and i found it dried few months later. Thanks for very useful information. Useful hub!

Latisha on December 16, 2010:

MAC is fantastic!

btw, I'm using website to calculate expire date for MAC makeup. it's easy, all you need is lot number printed on the packaging.

Kim on July 12, 2010:

My daughter-in-law introduced me to MAC makeup and I absolutely love it! She recently passed down to me a Lipgelee--Gilded Kiss. Said it was at least one year old. Is it okay to use or do I need to discard it? Still almost a full tube.