A Quick Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates: When To Toss Them

A Quick Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates: When To Toss Them

Published by Jil Goorman on Dec 15th 2023

Makeup is an essential part of many people's daily routines, adding color, dimension, and confidence to our look. However, each product has a shelf life. This quick guide to makeup expiration dates will help you understand when it's time to toss your products and how to identify signs of expired makeup.

Why Do Makeup Expiration Dates Matter?

Makeup products can deteriorate over time, losing their efficiency and possibly becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. The use of expired makeup can lead to a range of skin issues including rashes, acne, eye infections, and allergic reactions. These issues can be especially harmful to those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.

How To Find Expiration Dates on Products

You're used to reading best-by dates on packaged foods from the grocery store. However, expiration dates on makeup don't look the same.

Rather than an exact date, makeup products use a period after opening (PAO) symbol. Look at the backside of the product where the directions and ingredients label are.

You'll find an image of an open jar with a number and the letter M. This information means that once you open the product, it is good for the listed number of months. Some products will last for three months while others can last for 12 months or more.

Common Signs of Expired Makeup

The makeup expiration date alone isn’t all you should look out for. You’ll know it’s time to toss makeup products when some of the following signs arise.

The Product Smells Strange

First, pay attention to the product’s scent. If you notice a strange or unpleasant odor coming from your makeup, it's a clear indication that it has gone bad. This can happen when the product gets exposed to air or when the ingredients break down over time. The smell might be musty, rancid, or just different from what it originally smelled like.

The Product Has a Different Texture

Next, there will likely be a change to the makeup’s texture. You might find that it’s no longer easy to apply the products you love. Not to mention, the results are subpar.

A smooth foundation becomes clumpy, powdered products develop a film, and mascara becomes dry and clunky. Observing these texture alterations can assist you in identifying expired makeup, helping you maintain a healthy and effective beauty routine.

Double down on your vigilance when assessing makeup for acne-prone skin, because skin prone to blemishes and other issues may suffer more than most if the applied product is expired. Remember to follow the tips offered in this quick guide to makeup expiration dates—and especially when to toss them—and you’ll enjoy a glowing, healthy complexion.