Photo credit: The Perfume Expert

Just like food and pharmaceuticals, makeup also has an expiration date too. Makeup that is expired can reek havoc on your skin, and many people don’t even know where to find when a makeup product will expire. If you have some makeup you think might even be questionable, keep on reading.

Makeup will eventually change in consistency and effectiveness overtime. For example once a product that has SPF in it has expired, the effectiveness of the sun protection can no longer be guaranteed. The same concept applies to makeup with any active ingredient in it. These products include acne fighting ones with ingredients like salicylic acid, as well as anti-aging products with ingredients like retinol.

Expired makeup can also harbor bacteria. This bacteria then get’s transferred to your face when applying the makeup and can cause something as minor as a skin irritation, or rash, to acne, pink eye, or other more serious infections. So makeup lovers, you’ve been warned.

To find an expiration period on a makeup product, look for a little symbol similar to a jar with an open lid. It will have a number inside next to an “M”. The “M” stands for months. See below for an example.


The example above is from the Becca under-eye primer. As you can see it has a “12M” meaning the product will be good for 12 months following removal of the initial seal and first use.

As a guide, mascara typically lasts 3-6 months, eyeliner is 6-12 months, foundation is 6-12 months, powder products last for 1-2 year, and lipsticks can last up to 2 years. For me personally, I go through my makeup every 6 months and toss out anything I know I have used longer than what is recommended, or that I haven’t used recently.

What’s the longest you have held onto a makeup product for? And what makeup product was it? Leave a comment below.


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