Makeup Expiration Guide


Did you know that all of your makeup has a shelf-life? No? Well, using makeup past its expiration can be just as bad as eating food past its expiration. EW. But, I am guilty myself in trying to use that lip liner I got freshman year of college 7 years ago. So what, right? Wrong.

Most products have a “Period After Opening” (PAO) symbol – I know a lot of you have probably seen this symbol and had no idea what it meant. See below for symbol.


But what if your product doesn’t have a PAO symbol on your products? *WINK WINK* Continue reading my guide on makeup expiration dates.

Makeup Expiration Rules

Concealer – 1 YEAR

You want your concealer to be a blendable texture? Right? Well, concealers use oils and hydrating agents within, so if your concealer dries out, changes texture, becomes cakey/ lumpy or starts to smell different – throw it out, even though you probably spent $30 on it – as we all do. Ironically, it’ll just be making those breakouts that you’re covering up even worse.

Foundation – 1 YEAR

Liquid, powder or cream? Even mousse foundations. This will change the PAO you’ll see on the back of your product for obvious reasons. Liquids, creams, or mousses last between 6 to 12 months as they contain more water and oils which shortens the shelf-life and not to mention has an increased risk of bacterial contamination. Powders can last up to two years as the dry texture doesn’t allow bacteria to grow as easily. If the powder becomes clumpy or discolored that is due to just wear out and air exposure. So, it would be time to get rid of that as well!

Powders – 2 YEARS

Since we spoke about powders a little in the foundation section. Powders can go bad too! Don’t leave them out of this. Minimize the risk of bacteria by cleaning your makeup brushes regularly and never leaving the powder exposed to air for extended periods of time.

Makeup Pencils (Eyebrow, Lip, Eyeliner) – 2 YEARS

To keep your makeup pencils in tip top shape you should sharpen them frequently and keep the cap closed tightly between uses – the sharpening will remove any bacteria on the top layer from contact with the air and your skin.

Eyeshadow – 6 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS

Creams will only last around 6 months due to the hydrating agents which provides moisture for bacteria to live and grow on. Powders can last up to two years. But, remember to watch out for discoloration, and weird build up which changes the texture of the shadow (same goes for cream shadows as well).

 Mascara – 4 TO 6 MONTHS

You know how everyone viscously pumps the mascara wand in and out of the tube before application? I feel like we think this get the mascara on the wand better? But, stop it now. This forces air into the tube, which dries out your product (that you spent another $30 on) and creates bacteria. Instead, slowly move the wand in a circular motion in the tube for full wand coverage. Throw out mascara once it dries out, changes texture, color or scent and NEVER try to add water or oils. Don’t fight it. Just throw it away.

Liquid Liner/ Gel Liner – 6 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR

Liquid liner lasts around 4 to 6 months as it is another product susceptible to bacteria contamination. I know through experience when my liquid liner is about to go it gets chunky and doesn’t glide like it used to. This is the same for gel liners as well. Once they start to crack in the pot. Toss it. Do not try and save this either with oils. There is an expiration for a reason!

Lipstick/ Lip gloss – 1 TO 2 YEARS

Even though lipsticks contains hydrating materials, they can last 2 years – just make sure to put the lids on properly and you’ll be good to go! Remember what we told you about pumping your mascara wand like a crazy lady? The same applies with your lip gloss. Circular motions ladies, circular motions.

Thanks for reading!

Xox Ash


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