When In Doubt, Throw It Out: Makeup Has Expiration Dates

When In Doubt, Throw It Out: Makeup Has Expiration Dates
Guest Post
You know that perfect shade of lipstick you bought two years ago on vacation in Paris? The one that you save for special occasions? It may pack more of a punch than you realize. Old cosmetics present a major risk of infection. The risk is even worse if you share cosmetics or if you can’t resist trying out the latest shades at your local department store makeup counter. Although it may be difficult to part with some of your favorite cosmetics, your health may be at risk if you continue to use them.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out: Makeup Has Expiration Dates

Eye Makeup

Eye makeup holds the greatest potential for infection and has the shortest shelf life of all cosmetics. Some dermatologists recommend replacing eye makeup after only three months. Liquids and creams, especially mascara, can potentially cause serious eye infections. Styes – inflamed oil glands at the edge of the eyelid – along with itchy, red eyelids and swelling around the eyes are some of the less serious potential problems that can occur with eye makeup that has passed its safe shelf life date. Contact lens wearers are at special risk of infection from using contaminated eye makeup.

Natural Cosmetics

So called natural cosmetics often have a shorter shelf life than conventionally manufactured cosmetics. This is because many natural cosmetics are plant-based, which makes them especially susceptible to bacteria. An oatmeal bath soap soak is not nearly so relaxing when you discover you’re sharing your tub with mealworms that have been feasting off the soap you’re using.

Creams and Lotions

Many dermatologists advise that creams and lotions begin to go bad after about six to twelve months. If lotions and creams are in pump bottles, they may remain good longer because you’re less likely to dip your finger into the bottle. However, moisturizers in jars that you apply with your hands may be ready for the trash bin after six months, because every time you dip your hand into the cream, you’re potentially contaminating it.

Powders and Lip Colors

Powder makeup and lipstick in a barrel may be safe to use for about twelve to eighteen months. Lip gloss may also be good for about eighteen months. However, if you’ve used your hands to apply the cosmetics, that will shorten the shelf life.

Preventing Infection

Besides discarding old cosmetics, keeping cosmetics clean and away from water will help ensure that they are safe to use. Never share cosmetics with anyone. Your BFF may be like a sister, but you don’t want to pick up a cold sore on your lip from trying out her hot new lipstick shade. Trying out sample cosmetics at department stores is also a risky bet. If you must sample a new shade, do so with a clean cotton swab, not your hand.

Be especially careful with eye makeup. Do not apply eyeliner on your inner eyelids. If your mascara dries out, toss it. Don’t attempt to extend its usefulness by running it under the tap to rewet the brush. Resist the temptation to make your lipstick or blush do double duty as eye shadow. Even though you’re using it on your own face, bacteria from your cheek or lip may cause an infection through a small tear in your eyelid.

About the Author:

Richard Harrelson is an independent eye health researcher with many years experience in the cosmetics industry. His articles mainly appear in health blogs. Learn how to order contact lenses online.

Editor: I would like to add an usual safe period for a couple of things.

Liquid Make-up= 12-15 months
Wet & dry powder foundation= 24 months
Pressed powder= 36 months
Concealer= 9 months
Eye Base= 24 months
Eye Liner pencils= 36 months
Powder blush= 36 months
Lipstick= 24 months
Lip gloss= 24 months
Lip liner pencils= 36 months
Powder eye shadow= 36 months
Mascara= 6 months
Liquid eyeliner= 9 months

If you ever notice that an odor developed or the consistency has changed, throw it away. Never add water or mix cosmetics to attempt to “fix” them.

Image from Google

What period do you follow ?

  • coralcrue

    great post, will follow it when it’s time to dump 🙂

  • Aarthi

    Very essential post for me… :p

  • v informative post Bhumi 🙂
    will bookmark the page fr reference

  • Sharmistha Guha Chowdhury

    dats a really eye opening post.. thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  • bhumika_t

    Glad it helped 🙂

  • bhumika_t

    Me too 😀

  • bhumika_t

    Glad u liked Vish 🙂

  • bhumika_t

    Pleasure 🙂

  • renji

    m bookmarking this page 🙂 nice tips….I usually throw the pdts which have expired..normally..especially mascaras

  • bhumika_t

    Ya they are a good guide…

  • Shikha

    Agreed… makeup which expire is strict NO..

  • safa maryam syed

    Loved this post! But just thinking of all the product wastage ?! I guess its better to be safe than sorry!
    *off I go to clean out my product bin*

  • jyoti

    I am looking at my makeup collection and I am off to throw away some of the expired ones. eek. 😛 thank you for this post 🙂

  • bhumika_t


  • bhumika_t

    Ya much better to be safe,,

  • bhumika_t

    Glad it helped 🙂

  • Leannemariexo

    What a great informative post! Every so often I have a clear out of things that are expired. I still have so much in my collection though. Currently on a mission to use a lot more products already in there rather than buying new! Rediscovering some old favourites!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. xx