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Beauty Product Expiration Dates: Keep It or Toss It?

Have you ever looked at your collection of makeup and thought, girl you’ve had some of this stuff for years. Well, you are not alone, me too! 
Luckily today it is time to learn when we should be tossing it and when it is still okay to keep it.

Beauty Product Expiration Dates: Keep It or Toss It? Learn the ins and outs of beauty products and when to keep them or toss them out.


Foundation: Up to 2 years
Lipstick & Lipgloss: 2 years
Mascara: 3 months
Eyeshadow: 12 months – 2 years
Blush and Face Powder: 2 years
Nail Polish: 1 year
Anti-aging or Acne treatments: 3 months to a year
Natural beauty products: Up to 6 months
Shampoo & Conditioner: About 3 years
Body Lotion: 2 to 3 years
Sunscreen: 2 to 3 years
Deodorant: Up to 2 years
Perfume: About 3 years

Look for this symbol below marked on the back of (almost all) beauty products to let you know how long it lasts after being opened. This will be your indicator for your beauty product expiration dates.

makeup-expiration-symbolOne marked like this lasts 12 months (1 year).

I won’t lie, I definitely break the rules when it comes to most of these products, especially for eyeshadow. If they get gross I will toss them but I feel like a year just goes by way too quickly to just toss everything out. I don’t share my makeup and I clean my makeup brushes frequently so there is that. Also, I know I don’t go with the 1 year on nail polish. That is just bonkers to me! The rest I feel like I follow simply because I use them up faster than their expiration dates. So what say you? Are you a rule breaker too? Sometimes they are just meant to be broken right?


How to tell when good products have gone bad! 


The 3 biggest warning signs are that the scent changes, the color changes, and/or the formula separates.

If your product suddenly has a bad smell or doesn’t smell the way it initially did (bc some products just have bad smells, IMO) then it’s time to throw that bad boy out. Keeping your products away from sunlight, heat sources, and moisture will make them last the longest.

Getting some yellow or browning on your product? It doesn’t mean that your product is completely ruined but it could have made it more potent or weakened the formula. If it was me, I would be grossed out and want to toss that out for sure. The best way to prevent this from happening is making sure all your products are closed tightly.

Lastly, if your formula seems to be separating your product is losing its effectiveness. The exception to this rule is nail polish. Nail polish will naturally separate the longer it sits. Roll the bottle in your hands to remix. Don’t shake your bottle to mix it unless you don’t plan to apply it right away, this causes air bubbles. If your nail polish doesn’t remix or is stringy and thick it’s time to toss it too.

Remember using these products could cause irritation and/or breakouts. You don’t want that so just let it go. 

The good news… as long as you take care of your brushes, properly clean and store them, they can last for many many years. I actually own a blush brush that is well over 10 years old and still in perfect shape.


If you enjoyed this beauty product expiration dates post you might also enjoy…

How to fix broken makeup!

The 5-Minute Face: Makeup Tips for the Busy Mom

Creative Makeup Storage Solutions


Jill of all Trades

Wednesday 14th of March 2012

I'm a chronic rule breaker and proud of it. They have to put those expiration dates on them simply to avoid being sued. That's it.

I'm my own best judge. So are you. If the ingredients haven't come unmixed or changed colors, if there's no off smell, and if you clean your brushes regularly - - it's perfectly OK to use your won best judgment about how "good" your make up is.

For the record, I'm a rule breaker when it comes to expiration dates on food too. And I ain't dead yet! (Visiting from BFOL).


Wednesday 14th of March 2012

I agree, use your own best judgement. :)


Tuesday 28th of February 2012

I totally break these rules all the time. I think I still have make up from high school and that was awhile ago :)

Bravoe Runway

Tuesday 28th of February 2012

Melissa, this is an awesome post! I just tweeted it because I know a lot of ladies out there are hoarding old products that have only been used a few times but they just can't bear to throw that stuff out!


Tuesday 28th of February 2012

Yes, I see that a lot. I know it is hard to throw out stuff you spend your hard earned money on but we wouldn't eat expired food why do we think it's ok to put it on our bodies?


Monday 27th of February 2012

Very informative. I actually follow the rules quite strictly because I had very bad reaction to an expired eyeliner once.


Monday 27th of February 2012

Ouch! Sorry you had to go through that.


Monday 27th of February 2012

I have a lot that sits around too but unfortunately it doesn't deter me away from just buying more. Ha!