Makeup expiry dates - your complete guide

FG Contacts Feel Good Team
Thursday, 20 August 2020 Share this blog: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy link Copy Link

We’ve got the info you need on when it's time to toss your makeup and brushes.

Makeup is a fun and creative way to change your style and play up your best features. You might not realise it, but your makeup has an expiration date. It can be difficult to say goodbye to the lipsticks and palettes we love so much, but using products past their shelf life means a less smooth and pigmented application, you could also be more at risk of health issues from bacteria build-up.

Most of us probably have beauty products that are at least a couple of years old, and it can be challenging to remember when we first started using them.


What is the expiry date of makeup?

The Period After Opening (PAO) symbol can be found on the back of products, it looks like a little pot with an open lid, inside the pot will be a number and the letter ‘M’ which represents how many months you should keep the product for once opened.



3-6 months

If you use mascara every day it shown be binned after 3 months, with sparing use it can be thrown out after 6  months. When the formula starts to smell bad and clump together, it's usually time to buy a fresh one.

Don’t pump the wand; not only does this dry out the product faster by putting air into the tube, but it also transfers airborne bacteria to the product. To get more product you can spin the wand around while it's half outside the tube.



2 years

Although many people have lipsticks over 10 years old, this might not necessarily be as risky as an eye product that has passed its expiry date. If your lipstick has changed colour or starts to smell bad, it's time to invest in a new one.



Pencil eyeliners: up to 3 years

Liquid eyeliners: 6 months

Pencil liners last longer than most products because they are constantly being sharpened, which removes bacteria from the surface. Try to keep your pencil sharpener clean too to limit the spread of bacteria.


Face powder, powder foundation, eye shadow and powder blush

2 years

Look out for a hard film forming over your powder products; this is a result of the oils from your face mixing with the product. Make things last longer by keeping lids tight so the powders aren’t exposed to air. You can also gently scrape off the top layer of pressed powders to increase their lifespan and limit bacteria.


makeup products scattered on a table

Liquid foundation, concealer, cream blush, brow gel

12 months

Bacteria thrives in wet environments, which is why mascaras and liquid liners don’t last as long as dry products. Using a brush instead of your hands to apply these products will stop bacteria transferring from your hands to your face. Just try not to double-dip.


When should I replace my makeup brushes?

This depends on the quality of the brush and how well you look after it. A good set of brushes that are regularly cleaned (at least once a week) can last for years. You'll know it's time to toss a brush once it starts shedding.


Can old mascara cause eye infections?

Your lashes protect your eyes from incoming debris or dust, they also have bacteria, which means as soon as you use your mascara you are transferring bacteria to the wand. The longer you use the product, the more bacteria will harbour there, which is why you should be careful about throwing them away after they’ve expired. 

If you use expired mascara, then you risk eye irritation, conjunctivitis (pink eye) or a stye. Sometimes these can even lead to more serious eye complications that can result in vision loss. If in doubt, throw it out. Also, if you’ve recently had an eye infection then, unfortunately, you should throw away all the eye products that you used at that time.


Is it bad to share makeup?

Most makeup products should never be shared, with a few exceptions:

- Anything in a pump - because the product doesn’t come into contact with skin
- Powder products like eyeshadow (as long as sprayed with alcohol-based disinfectant)
- Lip and eye pencils (as long as you sharpen it after)
- Nail polish