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Does Makeup Expire? Learn What's Safe to Use

Does Makeup Expire? Learn What's Safe to Use

Women sure do love a good mix of skincare and makeup to make them look good and feel good. While skincare products give them that youthful glow, cosmetics provide them that extra boost of confidence to go out and conquer the world. Even on regular days, a lipstick swipe and an eyebrow gel brush can make a big difference. But has it ever crossed your mind to ask the question – does makeup expire?

Does Makeup Expire?

It sure does. Many people would like to believe that makeup is still good while they still last. But the thing about it is that it may take a while for you to use up just one product. That is why the question, “Does makeup expire?”, frequently pops up in the conversation.

Like any other consumables, cosmetic products also have expiration dates and a recommended shelf life. Makeup may contain preservatives, antioxidants, and emulsified chemicals that allow the products to function properly. Over time, the quality of the product changes, which may make it unsuitable for use.

Cosmetics have the tendency to degrade at some point for a variety of reasons. Here are a few examples:

  • Testing and dipping your fingers into a product introduces germs, which is why some products add preservatives. Preservatives, on the other hand, can degrade with time, enabling bacteria and fungi to thrive.
  • Whenever you use an applicator, like a mascara wand, it is exposed to bacteria and fungi with use.
  • Emulsions, which are water-oil solutions, eventually separate.
  • Moisture, such as that in the bathroom, may facilitate the growth of germs and fungi.
  • When products dry out, they solidify and crack.
  • Changes in temperature, along with sun and air exposure, can cause color and texture changes. In turn, these cause the products to smell.

When any of these take place, it may then leave your skin feeling itchy and irritated. This may also cause some allergic reactions and breakouts due to the expired ingredients present in the makeup formula.

When Should You Replace Makeup?

Apart from asking does makeup expire, girls are also curious when these products should be replaced.

On some occasions, some brands indicate a PAO, or period after opening date, the label on the product packaging. It typically shows an open jar image with a number and a capital M on it, implying the expiration date of the given product. For example, 6M indicates that the product can be used within six months of opening. Another example: 12M indicates that the product can be used within 12 months of opening, and so on. Once you open a product, the clock begins to tick.

Each product has its own shelf-life period that you need to take into consideration. However, the general consideration for cosmetics’ PAO is a good year or a half (6-12M). Eye-area cosmetics have shorter shelf lives than other products, as these can lead to dangerous eye infections.

Mascara should be discarded two to four months after purchase, according to the manufacturer. This is due to the fact that every time a person applies mascara, there could be bacterial and fungal exposure.

Moreover, many “all-natural” beauty products may contain plant-derived chemicals, which may promote microbial development. Products with SPF (sun protection factor) also have the tendency to expire quicker.

Consumers should also consider the greater risk of using products with non-traditional preservatives or no preservatives at all.

Key Takeaways

While it can be hard to say goodbye to them even if they have gone past their shelf life, throwing away makeup will save you from so much more harm in the long run.

As a consumer, you should keep in mind that expiration dates are mere “rules of thumb,” and that proper storage and proper use are still important.

It is also not advisable to share your makeup brushes, makeup, and other products with other people for hygienic purposes. Does makeup expire? It sure does, but you may also consider throwing them out before their expiration, especially if they are causing breakouts and other skin issues.

Learn more about Skincare and Cleansing here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


6 Makeup Myths Debunked, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2018/april/makeup-myths Accessed November 25, 2021

Cosmetics, https://medlineplus.gov/cosmetics.html Accessed November 25, 2021 

Cosmetics shelf life F.A.Q., http://checkcosmetic.net/cosmetic-and-perfume-shelf-life-faq/ Accessed November 25, 2021

Expiring Products – Cosmetics, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/expiring-products-cosmetics Accessed November 25, 2021

Shelf Life and Expiration Dating of Cosmetics, https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-labeling/shelf-life-and-expiration-dating-cosmetics Accessed November 25, 2021

When Should You Toss Your Makeup, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/when-should-you-toss-your-makeup/ Accessed November 25, 2021

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated Dec 21, 2021
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza