Your Beauty Products Are About To Expire…
Have you ever found an old tube of mascara at the bottom of your beach bag and wondered if it was still good? Or come across an unopened jar of face cream while cleaning out your bathroom cabinet and wanted to know if you could still use it? If so, you're not alone. It can be tricky to keep track of when skin products expire, especially since many beauty products don't come with expiration dates. However, it's important to know when to toss old products, as expired skin care can cause irritation, inflammation, and even infections. So how can you tell if a product has gone bad?
Here are a few tips:
Check the packaging: If a product has changed color or is leaking, it's probably time to toss it.
Pay attention to changes in texture: Expired skin care can often become lumpy, gooey, or dry.
Smell it: If a product has a rancid smell, it's no longer good.
Use your judgment: If a product just doesn't look or feel right, it's probably time to get rid of it.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution and throw it out. It's better to be safe than sorry!
Shelf Life of Beauty Products
Since not all products don't come with expiration dates, it can be helpful to know the average shelf life of different types of beauty products. Here are the estimated shelf lives of some common beauty products:
Mascara and liquid liner: 3 months
Expired mascara is a breeding ground for bacteria, so it's important to replace it every few months. If you notice the formula drying out or changing color, it's time for a new bottle.
Eye and Lip Liner Pencil: 2 years
These products tend to have a longer expiration because they can be sharpened.
Cream-based cosmetics (eye shadow, blush, highlighter): 3-6 months
If you notice the color fading or the texture changing, it means the product has lost its quality and isn't performing as well as it should be.
Liquid foundation and concealer: 6-12 months
You may be able to extend their shelf life if you store them in a cool, dark place and keep your fingers away from the neck of the bottle. If you notice liquid foundation start to separate and become watery, they should be replaced.
Powder-based cosmetics (eye shadows, blush, foundation, bronzer highlighter): 1-2 years
Powdered products have the potential for a longer shelf life if you keep your brushes clean and minimize exposure to air.
Lipstick and lip gloss: 1-2 years
Lip products generally have a longer shelf life than other makeup items, but they should still be replaced every year or two. If you notice the color fading or the texture changing, toss it and trade in your old lipstick for a new shade.
Sunscreen: 3 years
Sunscreens typically expire after 3 years, but be sure to check the expiration date on your bottle. Be aware that factors like exposure to heat can affect how long sunscreen is effective. If you notice the formula separating or changing color, it's time to get a new bottle.
Serum, face/eye cream, and moisturizer: 6 months-2 years
Serums and moisturizers usually have a shelf life of one to two years. This timeline can vary depending on packaging; products in pumps have a longer shelf life (1+ year) than a jar (6-9 months). You may see the PAO symbol (a number followed by an M and an open jar symbol) on some products. The letter M stands for months and the number refers to how many months the product will last after opening. So, a “12M” with an open jar symbol means the product expires 12 months after you've opened it. If you notice the texture or smell changing, it's time to toss it and invest in a new bottle.
Cleansers: 1 year
Toners: 6 – 12 months
Facial oils: 9-12 months
Retinol cream: 6 months
Vitamin C Serum: 3-6 months
Depending on the formula, the shelf life can greatly vary from a few weeks to a few years. But to benefit from maximum potency, it’s best to use consistently. If the color starts changing, it’s time to toss it.
Beauty Pops: 2 years
2 years from the manufacturing date stamped on the bottom of the mask powder jar
Nail Polish: 1-2 years
Check your product’s PAO symbol.
How To Store Products So They Last Longer
Although this can vary by product, unopened beauty products usually have a shelf life of two years. However, this can be drastically shortened if stored in a sunny, humid, or hot environment.
Whether they’re sealed or already opened, here are a few things you can do to help your products last as long as possible:
- Keep them in a cool, dark place: Heat and light can cause beauty products to degrade more quickly, so it's best to store them in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or drawer (NOT in your humid bathroom).
- Avoid contact with water: Water can introduce bacteria into products and cause them to spoil more quickly, so it's important to avoid getting water on products whenever possible. Be sure to close lids tightly and keep products away from the sink or shower.
- Use clean hands: When applying products, be sure to use clean hands to avoid introducing bacteria. In addition, avoid using products that have been dropped on the floor or come into contact with other surfaces.
- Follow the expiration date: While the expiration date is not always accurate, it's still a good idea to follow it as closely as possible. If a product is past its expiration date, it's best to throw it away and start fresh.
-Don't "pump" your mascara: When using mascara, be sure to avoid "pumping" the wand in and out of the tube. This action can introduce air into the product and cause it to dry out more quickly. Instead, simply twist the wand in and out of the tube to avoid pumping.
-Store your products in the refrigerator only if it is recommended by the brand. For example, cool temps can extend the stability of some pure vitamin C formulations. But for other products, hanging in the fridge can shorten their shelf life.
- Since some expiration dates are marked on the box and not the product container itself, use permanent marker to write the date on the product.
Here are charts to help you remember expiration dates: