You’re Probably Using Expired Makeup Every Day And Don’t Know It


When you’re getting ready for the day, you probably don’t think about when you actually bought your makeup products. But it’s time to take inventory because makeup does expire, and it expires a hell of a lot sooner than you think. In fact, you’ve likely used expired makeup within the last 24 hours.

But how would you even know that? Even the FDA confirms that cosmetic products don’t have to include expiration dates or indicators of when to stop using them when they don’t “look and act as expected.” Translation: you have to do the research yourself. It sucks, but that’s why we’re here.

Why You Shouldn’t Mess Around

In an interview with Women’s Health, Dr. Hadley King, M.D., a dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa in New York City, said that cosmetics intended to treat your skin (like anything with SPF or salicylic acid for acne treatment) lose their potency over time, making them useless.

Even worse: King said that when the ingredients in cosmetics break down past their expiration date, molecules break down, too. What’s left of the product can cause serious irritation to your skin. It can even put you at risk for contracting “contact dermatitis, a broad term for inflammation of the skin, [which] can, in turn, lead to redness, bumps, a rash, or even blisters and swelling of the skin,” King said.


So What Expires When?

In an interview with The Huffington Post, celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg said first to use your senses when identifying an expired product. If it doesn’t smell normal and you really can’t remember when you bought it, throw it out, she said.

Otherwise, play it safe by throwing out your products after the following amount of time:

Mascara: 3-6 months. Greenberg said you’re most likely double-dipping when putting on mascara, which can cause the product to dry out faster. “That actually lets air in there…and you’re also letting in bacteria,” Greenberg said.

Eyeliner: 6 months to a year. Greenberg said that gel eyeliner expires before the pencil variety because you’re dipping multiple times into the same pot. So there’s the same germ issue as with mascara. Pencils, on the other hand, can be sharpened, so you’re not breeding bacteria in one place.

Foundation: 6 months to 2 years. Thankfully, right?! That’s not so bad. Foundation in a pot lasts 6 months while a pump foundation lasts up to 2 years. The key here, according to Greenberg, is to take notice if your skin is reacting differently to it than it was before. That may be a sign that the foundation has expired.

Blush, Eyeshadow And Other Powder Cosmetics: 1-2 years. Greenberg said you’ll need to trust your senses the most on these products, because 1-2 years is obviously a large window. “If the formula changes at all, toss it. If it smells, toss it. And if the color goes out of style, toss it!” Greenberg said.

Lipstick: 2 years. Make sure to pay attention to the color, smell and texture, Greenberg said. What can really help prolong your use is to just keep your lipsticks clean. “Clean them off, wipe them off, spray them with a little bit of alcohol just to keep them sanitized,” Greenberg said.

Organic Products: 3-6 months at best. We know you love your all-natural products, and they can be expensive. But consider it a good thing that they expire the way a perishable food item would.


What Do I Do If I’m Just Bad At Remembering When I Bought A Product?

If you’re just not sure when you bought a product and don’t feel comfortable making the call from a sniff test, start writing the date of when you bought it on the back of it. There you have it.

Don’t mess around with your cosmetics. What you put on your face matters, and even the thought of an expired product staying on you all day should be enough to scare you. It’s time to go through your makeup bag, like, today.