This Is What Happens To Make Up When It Expires

This Is What Happens To Make Up When It Expires

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Ever think why your products aren’t working as good as they used to when you first bought them? Is there a crusty makeup item in your bag that’s been with you for years and years? So much that you cannot see the writing, yeah, its probably expired! If you’ve been holding on to your right ‘old’ makeup, be warned because you might risk the delicate skin on your body!

Can makeup expire?

Yes, all makeup has a specific shelf life (which is the length of time a product can be stored without going bad) that tells its expiration date. Once it’s past its expiration date, the components start breaking down, from oils in the product going rancid to the preservatives, making it smell and perform funky.

What effects can using expired makeup have on my skin?

Using expired makeup can pose great problems for your skin and will not yield promised results. Buyers who have sensitive skin ought to be mindful of expired cosmetics. The older makeup gets, the less it performs and the more it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Expired makeup can cause infection, irritation, dermatitis, or an allergic reaction if you repeatedly use it. It alters the longevity of the product. 

Your cosmetics ingredients will consume and oxidize after some time, which means the effects you desire from the products won’t last as long as applied.

Risk factors for individual products:

Expired Lipstick

Expired lipsticks can cause painful sores on the lips, mess with the delicate skin texture, and some may even darken up your lips’ natural color.

Expired Makeup Primers

Using expired primers may alter the finish and longevity of your foundation. People often use primers to increase their foundation’s longevity to blend seamlessly onto the skin and cater to problem areas such as oily and dry skin and large pores. Using a primer that’s expired will defeat the purpose of using it in the first place.

Expired Foundations and Powders

Expired foundations and powders can give you rashes, bumps, and even acne. Since the foundation and powder go directly onto the skin, the corroding chemicals might penetrate deep into your pores and clog it, which results in acne and pesty black and whiteheads. It may also generate an allergic reaction, which may cause a rash or multiple rashes on the skin. Worn down ingredients might irritate the skin as well, forming tiny bumps adding to the texture.

Expired Cream Products

Expired cream products with oils going rancid make for a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and clog pores.

Expired Eye Makeup

Expired liners, mascara, and eye pencils pose a significant risk to the eyes and the delicate area around them, causing it to become puffy, infected, red, or swollen.

How to check when my makeup expires?

All makeup items come printed with an image, which shows a number followed by the letter M, which stands for ‘months.’ The location of the symbol on the item itself, however, if you find the logo is missing, it may have been on the original packaging, so make sure you inspect the packaging before discarding it.

Does the expiry start right after the product is manufactured?

No, the expiration window starts once you open the item, even if it’s for a millisecond. As soon as you open the product, the jar symbol’s expiration starts, so it is called the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol. So make sure you remember the exact month when you open your products to make sure that you’re discarding them in time without putting yourself at risk.

Is the expiry date merely a suggestion?

Yes and also, no, hear us out! Once a product reaches its expiry, you can continue using it for maybe another week or two. But remember that the product will not perform as it used to. It would help if you also kept in mind that the makeup product components will now start to break down, and it never ends well. So make sure you only use your makeup product a few days past the expiration date: don’t turn weeks into months, please!

Why are the expiry windows different for organic makeup and regular makeup?

You may have spotted that the labels on your natural/organic makeup item hints of shorter shelf life in general with a window between 3 to 6 months. Truly certified organic makeup means the ingredients included are clean and without pesticides, fertilizers, parabens, chemical preservatives, or genetically modified organisms, which means that they’ll go bad more quickly than conventional products. So make sure to use the natural makeup as fast as you can before it hits its expiration date.

Do makeup sponges expire too?

Yes, just like makeup, your makeup tools expire too! Keeping your instruments perfect and clean will help guarantee that they last longer, yet they won’t keep going forever like everything else throughout everyday life.

Makeup sponges used wet may have mold and bacteria growing on them if they’re stored damp. Thankfully, a molding sponge is more comfortable to spot with a naked eye. Carefully inspect your sponges for any black or dark green spots, which can potentially be mold growing on the sponge. Once you spot the black dots, its time to kiss that sponge goodbye because no amount of washing will get rid of mold. Ensure you let your sponges air dry before you toss them into your makeup bag.

In general you should replace your makeup sponge every month.

Do makeup brushes expire too?

When it comes to makeup brushes, they don’t come with an expiration date, yet many brushes go bad. Here’s how you can check if your brush needs replacing:

Check the shape:
Brushes are carefully tapered, rounded, flattened, or angled a sure way to specify their use, and their shape can disclose to you a great deal about them. It’s easy for brushes to dry out of shape when you wash them; however, if you find that the brush doesn’t come back to its original condition after a few more washes, it’s time to toss it away. The brush no longer fills its need and saving it, having it lay around is just going to produce a mess and assemble microbes.

When it no longer blends the same:
The purpose of a brush is to blend in your makeup seamlessly. If you notice that a brush used to apply product flawlessly is now applying the product unevenly to the skin, its time to replace it!

They start feeling harsh on the skin:
Makeup brushes, be it natural or synthetic hair, should always be soft if you find that a particular brush has started feeling harsher and scratchy on the skin, times up!

They smell funky:
When you wash your brushes, they should only smell like the cleaning agent you used to clean them. If you feel like your brushes have been smelling a little funky and off, toss them away!

They’re shedding a lot:
If you find that your brush has been shedding way more than usual and losing its shape, know the glue is coming loose, and it’s time for you to replace it with a new one.

Does and eyelash curler expire?

While we utilize an eyelash curler for a couple of moments, it comes in direct contact with the eye. If you leave it dirty for a long time, the rubber grips can start to deteriorate and sometimes may even rip your lashes out, ouch!

Make sure you change the rubber grips anytime you feel the slightest tug or difficulty getting the curler open and close. To the extent the remainder of the body is concerned, you can wipe it clean with rubbing alcohol to destroy any germs on the surface; for a deep cleanse, boiling water is a great option to help clean it thoroughly once a week.

What item expires the quickest? And why?

The eyes and the zone around them are among the most delicate parts of your face, which means you should deal with extra care and caution. Thus this is precisely why eye products expire the quickest. 

Your mascara plays a very crucial role in opening up your eye, but apply it in a hurry, and you’ll risk poking yourself in the eye with the wand. Old mascaras perform differently, as the formula tends to dry out with time, you will experience your mascara flaking off and giving you clumpy lashes. Old mascaras and eyeliners may even irritate sensitive eyes, resulting in lots of tears and redness. 

They also get contaminated very quickly, so make sure you never share your mascara, eyeliners, or eye pencils with anyone. Make it a habit to toss your mascara and liner away within three months because the longer you keep it, the more bacteria it will collect!

What are the average expiration windows for specific products?

Here’s the actual shelf-life of every cream, powder, and pencil you own, so you know when it’s an ideal opportunity to get yourself some new products.

Can makeup expire or go bad before its expiry window?

It can, given that you’re not storing your makeup items correctly in a cool, dry place that’s away from direct sunlight. In many cases, makeup can go bad early if it’s been sitting on the shelf for way too long, i.e., 2-3 years because that’s when the preservatives in the makeup start breaking down. You will also notice that natural makeup items tend to go bad quickly because manufacturers make them without preservatives.

Can I save an item from expiring?

Once opened, there’s no way you can fight back the expiry date. However, you can still multi-purpose a few things from your vanity like your mascara wands. Wash the mascara wand thoroughly and use it to comb through your brows and lashes to eliminate excess products. 

If you’re artsy, you can use your cream products and shimmer shadows to incorporate them into your paintings as well. Empty eye shadow palettes can turn into lip palettes after thoroughly cleaning and melting lipsticks into it. Empty setting spray bottles can be used to fill in with a DIY toner, rose water, or even with a DIY setting spray; the possibilities are endless!

What happens if I can't remember when I opened up my makeup product?

If you can’t remember how long it has been since you opened a particular makeup item, do a sniff test. Toss out anything that smells funky, has separated (unless that’s common for that specific product), or has changed color. Keep in mind that a product can still go sour or lose its potency without noticeable appearance changes, color, or smell. So it’s better that you try remembering it in the future to save yourself.

Can I stock unopened makeup for?

If you’re a hoarder or are picking up backups of your favorite makeup item, make sure you store the products with their seal still intact, do not store swatched or opened items. Store them appropriately in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight, and it will last you somewhere between 1-3 years. One thing to remember is that creamier products tend to go bad earlier than others, even when sealed.

The same goes for organic/natural makeup since they don’t have powerful preservatives, so invest in organic makeup only when you’ve run out or hit the expiry date on your first product. So avoid stocking up on creamy, oil-based, and natural products. 

How long can I stock unopened makeup for?

You can stock unopened and sealed makeup anywhere between 1-3 years. Do not store a makeup item for more than three years because all preservatives in your makeup break down over time, even if the product is unopened.

Can makeup be a carrier of any infections/skin conditions I've already witnessed?

Absolutely! If you’re not sanitary with your makeup, you can turn it into a breeding ground for bacteria and infection, which means that the infection will keep coming back. Your makeup will go wrong before its expiration date. To avoid this situation, make sure you always start with cleaning your hands and face.

It’s also advisable to scoop out any jar based products with a spatula rather than directly going in with your fingers as bacteria from your fingers can be transferred into the jar, risking the entire contents of it. 

Similarly, if you’re pumping out a product directly onto your face, the contact between your skin and the pump can risk contamination. To steer clear from this occurring, ensure you pump out the products on a clean and sanitized makeup palette or at the back of your hands.

If you’re using your eyeliner, eye kohl, or a mascara during an eye infection, an eye stye, eye injury, make sure to toss the items out because once used, they are contaminated. Using contaminated eye products can increase the chances of the infection coming back even more robust.

It is also advisable to wash your makeup tools once a week to avoid contaminating your makeup. People often tend to forget washing their makeup puffs, sponges, and brushes just because they look visibly clean.  If you suffer from active acne, washing your makeup brushes can bring about a big difference in your skin. So make sure you wash all your tools, including your powder puffs, blush brushes, and bronzer brushes.


We know it’s tempting to use every last bit of the makeup item that you’ve invested so much money into, but the risks involved in using every last bit of it after its expiration are just not worth it. So make sure you go through your makeup bag every six months and thoroughly inspect and respect the expiration date.


As the head artist of Farishta Beauty I was inspired by many young individuals who were just like me passionate about makeup.
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