How Do You Know If Your Makeup Is Expired?


StyleList reports that 66% of women use expired makeup.

Our question here at The Gloss is:  how do you know if it’s expired?

Where on the packaging does it have an expiration date?  I worked at a makeup store for two years and have rarely noticed an expiration date on most products.  More often, I saw expiration dates on face washes and lotions.  Because I worked at a makeup store, I have a ton of high-end, really expensive makeup, that was both given to me and that I spent my paycheck on, and I would certainly not throw it out just because of an arbitrary date. I know old makeup harbors bacteria and clogs pores, yada yada yada, but a lot of my makeup is two years old and still works just as well as if it was new. I probably have about 40 different eyeshadows, most of which I’ve never worn, but am saving for various rare occasions, such as white-trash parties, Jersey Shore parties, 80′s parties, Halloween, etc.  You never know when you’ll want a bright blue or electric green color.  They last me forever because I really only wear eyeshadow at night, if I’m going out.

I found a website that lists when makeup usually expires, and I have to admit, I’m guilty of a lot of these beauty sins. But I clean my makeup brushes regularly!  And I throw out sponges about every two weeks!  The website says bronzer expires after about two years.  I’ve had a huge thing of dark, nighttime-appropriate bronzer for about two years and it shows no signs of declining, and I’m only halfway through.  If I was Snooki and used it every day then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but for me, it seems like a waste to throw out just because of an arbitrary date. And isn’t it “greener” to use what one has, rather than purchase the same exact product again? Mascara’s shelf life is about three months, but I’ve kept good mascaras a few months past that.  My test is when they start to dry up and flake off, it’s time to throw out. The site also says that powder can be kept up to two years.  Well, I have a guilty little secret; I’ve had different Bare Escentuals products since the beginning of college that I still use today.  Bare Escentuals powders last forever.  Then again, I switch off between various liquid foundations and powdered ones, so maybe my makeup just lasts longer because I have so much crap of it.  I also have so many unopened “backups” (concealers, foundation primers, eye shadow primers, lip glosses, etc.) that I’ve gotten as gratis, and I don’t know if the same rule applies to unopened products.  I have to imagine it doesn’t, as I can tell you firsthand that the makeup store I worked at kept some of the same products that didn’t sell well on the shelf for years. It was the same thing for the powdered eye shadows and foundations that were used as samples for makeovers.

I could lie and say I’ll make a concerted effort to throw out makeup that is past its expiration date, but I know I won’t.  I usually judge if makeup is past its prime based on the way it looks and smells.  Though it’s sometimes difficult to tell, especially with powders, most people know if what they’re using has seen better days or if it’s still usable, based on its appearance and the way it performs.

But what about you?  Do you notice expiration dates on your makeup?  Do you throw things out because of the date, or do you only throw things out when they noticeably go bad?

Share This Post:
    • Ellen W.

      I don’t have a time length for it but lip stains are too old when they numb your lips. (Seriously, this happened to me. Creepy as hell.)

      • Hannah Rose Siegel

        Sounds creepy!

    • Somnilee

      Mascara when it starts smelling like fish.

    • Amy

      I throw stuff out when it’s noticeably bad or I know it’s gotten contaminated somehow, like I accidentally dropped the mascara wand into the trash.

    • Hannah Rose Siegel

      Although I’m not grossed out by older makeup, what really grosses me out is sharing makeup brushes, especially face makeup brushes, for some reason.

    • nolalola27

      I only wear eye pencil eye liner & concealer as-needed, so I have a pretty good handle on it. Both run out before I’d think they’ve gone bad.

    • Lucille Lo Sapio/Beyond Babedom

      So funny! Just posted my own admission about being unable to throw out makeup. I do some acting, so I always use that as a justification, but most of the lipstick, especially, is just plain ugly. But, you never know. . .

    • Esther

      I throw it away when it’s gone bad. I take seriously the thing about expired makeup and cosmetics products but I usually end up the product before its expiration date.
      However some brands put 6 months others 12 in a product that has mostly the same ingredients, so I advise to trust common sense