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OMG!! Do You Check Your Makeup Expiration Dates?!

20 March, 2018 - 08:54pm by - First Lady | 14 Comments

by BR Natalie

All beauty products will have an expiration date indicated by a small symbol like the one pictured above. It shows the number of months after opening that your product is at it's best for.  

Now if you read my Haul of Horrors article, you might be thinking "Why after opening? What about a batch code?"

A batch code will help you determine how long your unopened products are good for.  Once opened you need to follow the number in the symbol.  Exposure to air, germies and the environment affect the formula and cause the product to lose some of its fabulous qualities. 

You might be surprised at how short a life span some products actually have, particularly if you opt for paraben or preservative free, or for products with active ingredients.

Here's a general guide for the products most of us use regularly.

  • Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel - about 3 years, although these are probably the things we use up the most! Paraben-free options will last for a shorter period, generally up to a year.
  • Mascara and Liquid Eyeliner – 3 to 4 months. It's recommended you're particularly conscientious of this expiration period to prevent contamination and infections.
  • Pencils (Eye and Lip) - 3 to 5 years. Sharpening them before each use is a way to keep them clean.
  • Body lotion - Two to three years. Pumps last longer as there's less exposure to air.
  • Anti-aging and acne treatments – 3 to 12 months. Ingredients in these products are generally 'active' and therefore easily oxidised.  If it changes colour before its open-life-span, it's time for the bin.
  • Lipstick – 2 years. if it has gone dry it's probably gone bad.
  • Lip Gloss – 1 year. Is your lip gloss extra sticky? Time to ditch it!
  • Foundation - It depends on the type; liquid foundation should last around a year – if it separates or appears lighter then it's time to go shopping!
  • Powders – About 2 years. Want to get the most from your eyeshadows blush, powder foundations, eyeshadows? Clean your brushes to limit contamination, and don't share them with others! 
  • Perfume – 2 years. Store it in a cool, dark place and you'll get the most out of it. 
  • Nail polish – 1 year. If it's gloopy or won't mix after a quick shake it's time to say bye-bye.
  • Hair Styling products – 3 to 5 years. Most contain some form of alcohol which acts as a preservative.
  • Sunscreen – This will be printed with an expiration date; follow it strictly.


Unopened Products. - Generally unopened products have a shelf life of around 3 years.  Perfumes and nail polishes stored correctly will last longer.  You'll want to stick to the shelf life, so if you open a product that's 2 years 9 months old and it has an opened life span of 6 months.  Bad news.  You only have 3 months to use it!

Do you dare check the dates on your products?  Go on - we double dare you!  Find that wee little date symbol and work out if you're using a beyond-best product!

How many are destined for that makeup bag in the sky?  Are you going to be a good beauty-lover and throw them out?  Or are you going to keep on using them?

And hey - if you end up chucking some out, that means you get to buy more right?!


Do You Check Your Makeup Expiration Dates?!

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31st August, 2021

Perfume lasts longer if stored well

2nd April, 2018

Feeling a bit guilty right about now... I always check my skincare expiry dates but never for my makeup. Maybe I'll try to make more of an effort from now on!

25th March, 2018

I love using several different products so I have about 4 opened mascaras and several shampoos and conditioners because I like to rotate around each time. I have thrown a few of my mascaras out though I could tell they were too old. I have a collection of eye liners too a foundation I have is probabbly older than a year its one I only use on special occassions. I think pallets would be hard to throw out if you are a collector

24th March, 2018

Ok I'm very guilty, I've never considered checking the makeup expiry dates

21st March, 2018

How about the Beauty Gurus and their drawers full of makeup, 200 lipsticks etc that they declutter and donate!

21st March, 2018

The only ones I've been really judicious about sticking to are the mascara, anti-ageing treatments and sunscreen. I think my acne treatment was opened over a year ago but the Mario Badescue drying lotion has a lot of alcohol in the bottle to keep the pink stuff at the bottom good.

21st March, 2018

I try to be more aware of expiry dates after the Haul of Horror article. But in saying that I will totally keep using a product if it is only a couple of months past expiry.

21st March, 2018

I do look at dates and will not purchase anything close to its end date. I have an app on my phone for when there are only batch numbers. Such a handy tool.

21st March, 2018

Holding my 'hoarding mascara' head in shame and slinking out of the room....

21st March, 2018

Great article this one an definitely one that I am going to save for later!! I already follow all expiration dates and have themlabelled on almost all beauty/cosmetic products I own. So much easier to keep track of what needs to be used sooner rather than later.

I did my huge clean out last year and I felt sad getting rid of products but I always perk up when it means that I can purchase and review new products!!

21st March, 2018

I have been good at using up products and giving them away. With mascara I am careful and only buy travel size now. So much easier to use it all up in 3 months.

20th March, 2018

I’m powering through my products faster than I used too lol I need that app . I’m not good with expiry dates. I have heaps I’ve held on too lol Especially mascara.. I need help

20th March, 2018

Erm..I'm still not that good...

20th March, 2018

Two fold comment. I have an app for this, and its great. I can check most batch numbers, on my phone and get notifications too as to which products are coming to the end of their lives. Wouldn't be without Beautykeeper (Also saves me from buying the same makeup twice.... because thats happened. twice. Both times with blush)

Secondly, this is harder with online shopping - you cant check your batch numbers. I recently purchased a Guerlain Meteorites compact from a website, lets call it, En Zed Sailing Away or something, and it was already three months past expiry. I was kind of sore about this, but the price was too good to be true. So, in true scottish fashion, I'm using that compact every, single, damn, day to get my $60 worth out of it before it starts going weird or whatever it'll do when it goes off. Lesson learned.

First Lady
20th March, 2018

Best Store-In-Disguise name ever. SO hard when buying online. I bought a 'brand new and fresh' bronzer. It was ten years old. The packaging belonged in a museum and was not the packaging on the product listing. So. Annoying.

21st March, 2018

That seems like a cool app I have never heard of it before.

21st March, 2018

I had a search for the App but couldn't find it... I would have been so irate about the compact, ain't that the truth though, too good to be true!

21st March, 2018

There is an app for this stuff?!!?! Amazing!

21st March, 2018

The app is in the Apple store called 'Beauty Keeper' and its published by Konstantin Ivanov (That might be easier to find?) and I paid $2.99 to remove all limits as you're limited to the number of items you can check.

21st March, 2018

I would've known if it was expired since I rarely check my makeup although I try to check my skincare. I couldn't bring myself to chuck it out though so would've put it in the project pan immediately.

21st March, 2018

Thanks for clarifying the app.

21st March, 2018

I too have found that travel size is perfect for the 3 month use dead line. I always wonder why they make items with a lot of product but "short" use by dates. It can get really wasteful.

20th March, 2018

Oh wow that is annoying. I get really angry when eggs or yogurt are only a week away from expiry when I've just bought them, so anything expensive would make me incensed. Lucky I don't check!


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