Does makeup truly expire?

/ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 /

Let me ask all of you a question: Do you ever throw your makeup out?

If you are a makeup artist, you might go through a ton of makeup all the time, and so your turnover time (at least, according to economics terms) is very short, so you do not need to throw out makeup. However, I am not a makeup artist; all of the makeup I buy is for personal use. Although I try to use my products as often as possible so that I might be able to use them up rather than have them just "go bad" on me, inevitably the sad situation still results.

Some people do not ever throw out makeup. I guess, this is a personal choice. However, makeup does actually have an expiration date.

As a university student who has taken many chemistry courses and labs, I can positively say that "makeup is made of chemicals". Of course, technically everything in the universe is made up of chemicals. However, what I mean by the layman definition of chemicals is "processed ingredients".

What do you do with makeup? Well, you apply it, whether using hands, brushes, sponges, other types of applicators, etc, to your face and body.

There are germs, or rather, "bacteria", viruses, etc everywhere in the world. As soon as you open up that container of makeup, whether it be liquid foundation, blush, eyeliner, etc, you are exposing the makeup to that bacteria and virus-load. These "germs" will settle into the makeup, grow, and accumulate. They will use the chemicals of the makeup to grow and make more colonies of themselves. Of course, though, this takes some time, and when that time runs out, then you've hit the expiration date of your makeup.

So, in a nutshell, yes, makeup does expire.

But the thing is, according to at least US standards, makeup expiration dates don't have to be posted on the package. However, you can still find expiration dates, and if you can't find them, there are general guidelines, which I will post here.

Do you ever see, on the back of makeup, perhaps right next to the barcode, this symbol?

Well, this symbol basically tells you, from the date you open the makeup, how long it will last before all of those germs take over the makeup.

What I do is as soon as I buy some new makeup and open it to use it for the first time, I write on a label on the back of the makeup its expiration date. That way, I know exactly when to throw it out, and don't have to think back to when I bought certain pieces of makeup and stuff.

See all of those date labels?

Of course, some makeup doesn't have the expiration date labels posted so clearly. Here are some general guidelines that I have for makeup expiration dates, that have been gleaned from various other peoples' thoughts as well as my own experiences:

Makeup item
Expiration time
2 years
Powder/pressed powder eyeshadow
2 years
Liquid foundation
3-6 months
Cream foundation
4-6 months
Liquid concealer
6 months
Cream concealer
8 months
3 months
Lip gloss, lipstick
1 year
Eye/lip pencils
1 year or more (depending on how often you sharpen)
Eye primers
1 year
“Natural”, “mineral” cosmetics
6 months
Makeup brushes
Clean 1x/week (at least), can last for many years
Makeup sponges
1 week



{ Alex Elkins } on: January 31, 2012 at 7:44 PM said...

This was really helpful :) Especially the chart. I was afraid I was keeping concealer for too long but I was actually keeping it in just enough time :D Thank you!

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