Cosmetic Expiry Chart and How to Extend Makeup Shelf Life

Updated on January 6, 2020
P FOR PEONY profile image

Having worked in the beauty industry, Peony's interest in skincare peaked. She loves discussing about K-beauty and science-based skincare.

Can you tell which of these have passed their shelf-life?
Can you tell which of these have passed their shelf-life? | Source

Since our cosmetics and skincare products are applied directly onto skin, it's important to make sure that they stay fresh and devoid of nasties and bacteria that could cause infections, skin inflammation or acne breakouts.

Many of us check to know when the things in our pantry will expire because we don't want to suffer from a tummy ache or food poisoning. But most of us tend to overlook the significance of knowing when our makeup expires! So while we check for the expiration of the food in our cabinets, less of us actually take note of the manufacturing or expiry dates on our cosmetic and skincare products (maybe only when we first purchase the item). Maybe not a tummy ache, but expired cosmetics could potentially cause a lot of psychological and physical pain.

Cosmetic Expiry Chart:

½ year
Liquid foundation
1 year
Cream foundation
1 year
Compact foundation
1 - 1½ years
1 year
2 years
Blush & bronzer
1 year
Cream blush
1 - 1½ years
Powder eyeshadow
2 years
Cream eyeshadow
1 - 1½ years
Pencil Eyeliner
1 - 2 years
Liquid eyeliner
3 - 6 months
Gel Eyeliner
1 year
3 months
1 - 2 years
Lip liner
1 - 2 years
Lip gloss
1 year
This chart is a guide, if you have never sanitized your makeup, it is going to degenerate faster! * MFG - Manufacturing date

How to Know If My Makeup Has Gone Bad

Three steps to quickly identify if your makeup has gone past its use-by is to smell, look and feel.

  1. Smell. Try to make it a point to check the smell of your cosmetics or skincare once you’ve opened them. If your product is starting to give off a funky odor or smells distinctly different than how it was initially, it’s a good idea to toss it.
  2. Look. There could be changes appearance wise to your cosmetics when they have gone bad, such as a difference in color, appearing cloudy, patchy or caked. Product separation (usually seen in liquids where a layer or oil starts to form on the surface, giving the look of 2 different layers of products) can occur when you’ve not been using your cosmetic for awhile. Most of the time a good shake will mix it all up, however, products tend to take awhile to separate, which could imply that you’ve probably left it out for far too long.
  3. Feel. Chemical reactions can cause the texture of your cosmetics to change considerably. Touch and check the consistency of your makeup; if it was a thick lotion before and runny now or have chunky bits, it could be spoiled.

It’s also important to note that cosmetics can go bad even if it hasn’t gone past its expiry date, improper storage such as placing it under a sunny area can exacerbate the process.

Place new cotton pads, swabs and tools in a compartment by themselves and not with all your makeup in a makeup and skincare organizer. This ensures that they are clean and not dusted with powders or smeared with liquids.

Extend the Life of Your Cosmetics

How To Properly Store Makeup

Cosmetics and skincare products should be kept in cool, dry places and out of direct sunlight. The heat from the sun could melt cream products like lipsticks, dry up liquid products such as toners, and the UV (ultraviolet rays) can break down the chemical bonds and preservatives in your makeup, causing them to turn bad faster.

Avoid keeping them in places with high humidity (like the bathroom). Moisture is a bacteria breeding ground, added warmth from the steam of your shower creates a haven for them. If in doubt, look at the directions included in the label, certain skincare products are better suited in the fridge because of the volatile ingredients contained (vitamin c is a good example, it’s a wonderful pigmentation lighting ingredient but degenerates and oxidizes fairly quickly if not kept in a dark, opaque bottle and in the fridge).

Repacking Makeup: Depot and Decant

You could depot or decant your lotions and creams into a container that eases dispensing. For example, for moisturizing creams that come in a pot, you can transfer them into a squeeze bottle with a flip-top cap or into a pump dispenser. This removes the chance of contamination from fiddling around it with your fingers. It is mess-free, fuss-free and hygienic.

Storing serums and oil products in dark-colored glass bottles is a good house-keeping practice. This protects the contents from oxidizing, UV rays and a barrier to the continuous fluctuations in temperature.

How To Keep Makeup Hygienic

For the sake of convenience, many of us will dip our fingers into our cosmetics for direct application, especially with things like eye shadows, moisturizers, cream blushers etc.

However, the oils from our fingers could contaminate our makeup and cause bacteria to build-up!

The best way is to use clean disposable or washable applicators like: cotton pads, cotton swabs, brushes, sponges, and spatulas.

A light sharpen with every use keeps your lip liners, eyebrow and eyeliner pencils from dirt build-up on the surface.

Used brushes, time for a dip!
Used brushes, time for a dip! | Source

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

  1. Under warm running water, hold your brush with the tip facing down.
  2. Once it is soaked, add some mild detergent—baby shampoo is great—and lather it up! If you have a makeup brush washing mat, use that! It's washes the dirt, grime and makeup off your brushes effortlessly.
  3. Rinse out all the shampoo thoroughly, if the water is still dirty, shampoo again and repeat till you get a clean rinse.
  4. Gently pat your brush on a paper towel to remove excess water and hang till completely dried, again, with the tip facing down.

* Brushes should be washed every other week, depending on how often they are used.

Tips to Avoid Bacteria Contamination in Makeup

  • Avoid sharing makeup that comes in direct contact with your skin (concealers, mascaras, lipsticks etc.) with others. Honestly, avoid sharing makeup, period.
  • Maintain good hygiene when using your products. Wash your hands clean before application.
  • Use the correct applicators when applying makeup to avoid dipping the same tool in everything, eliminating cross-contamination.
  • Do not be afraid to bin your expired makeup. If you feel that it is going to be such a waste, use them for arts and crafts projects, not on your face!

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.

© 2012 Peony


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    • P FOR PEONY profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @ Modern Lady - That's what I'm guilty of as well, sometimes it's really hard to part with them! I guess the best thing is to buy in smaller quantities.. (Is that possible though? God bless consumerism!)

    • P FOR PEONY profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @ Efficient Admin - Thanks for reading!

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 

      8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Makeup expiration is overlooked way too much! It's amazing the risk we put ourselves in with old products. Your chart is a great reference. I've been trying to be better about tossing old makeup, but it's hard when you know how much you've spent on it!

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Michelle Dee 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Great information. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.


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