Cosmetic Expiration Dates: What You Need To Know

Clare Cherry

Posted on January 14 2019

Cosmetic Expiration Dates: What You Need To Know

When it comes to cosmetic expiration dates, many of us will admit to not knowing all that much about them. It’s fine to keep the same lipstick for years just because you’ve only used it once or twice, right? And that blusher you’ve had longer than you care to acknowledge is fine to keep using, surely?

Keeping old cosmetic products can expose our skin to harmful toxins which may lead to serious issues. Knowing when to get rid of cosmetics is important, especially if you have a large cosmetic collection full of different products. So, here are some tips on when to know whether it’s time to get rid of your trusty eyeliner or favourite concealer.

When Does Foundation Actually Expire?

Cosmetic expiration dates differ between cosmetic items. The shelf life of your foundation depends entirely on its ingredients. Water-based products will last up to 12 months, whereas oil-based foundations are more likely to last around 18 months, as oil is a natural preservative.

When these oils rise to the top and the consistency begins to thicken, then this is a sign that your foundation is likely out of date. Your foundation will create an uneven and streaky finish, giving your makeup an inconsistent look.

You can prevent your foundation from separating by storing it somewhere cool and regularly shaking the bottle to mix the oils, makeup particles and water together. Keep your application brushes and tools clean and avoid touching your foundation as much as possible to keep nasty bacteria at bay.

What About Powder Cosmetic Expiration Dates?

Powder makeup, contrary to belief, does expire and has a recommended 18 month expiration date. Powder products don’t contain any water, so it is harder for bacteria to grow. The products you should look out for are those that contain botanical extracts, such as chamomile, green tea extract and aloe.

These oils will cling to your brushes and transfer onto the products when you are applying powders over liquid or cream cosmetic products, which can then cause a dull, grey film to form. This is when your products are likely to expire, or when you notice a hard rim over the top of the powder.

To protect your cosmetics, always close the compact lid or twist it completely shut to avoid oxidation. You should also avoid using a greasy or emollient concealer or product before you apply. Make sure that your brushes are clean before each use.

When Does Mascara Expire?

Mascara has one of the shortest cosmetic expiration dates due to the wet environment. Wet environments are home to bacteria, which is why mascara has an average shelf life of 3 to 4 months, depending on when you use it. Bacteria also, naturally, live on our eyelashes and these germs can be transferred from your eyes onto your mascara wand.

If your mascara begins to smell then it has gone off, but ideally, you should be replacing it every 3 to 4 months anyway. Whilst it can be heartbreaking for makeup to expire, especially if you have paid a lot of money for it, it will be better for you in the long-run.

Try not to pump the wand, as this will push air into the tube and cause it to dry out. Draw it out and twist against inside the tube to pick up the product. If your mascara begins to dry out, then it can be temporarily revived with baby oil.

Cosmetic glitter is a loose product and is well protected in its own pot. For best care practices, use clean brushes before application or wash your hands thoroughly if you prefer to apply the product with your fingers. Christmas is the perfect time to experiment with different glitter looks alongside your other makeup favourites, so shop our glitter collection today.

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