Makeup Expiry Dates Checklist

Did you know that most products in your bathroom have a used by date? Amazingly a lot of people don’t realise, but if you have a look at your makeup and lotion you’ll notice an expiry date in a very small font.  It may be hard to say goodbye to some of your much-loved lipsticks or eyeshadows, however like food they all have a shelf life.

Generally, if you take care of your products (covering after use and storing correctly), using them for just a few extra months beyond the expiry date will most likely be safe. Using products past their expiry can may bring a risk of bacterial contamination which can lead to infections, redness, pain, swelling, pimples etc. It is recommended to throw out makeup that has passed this date since purchase to ensure they are safe and effective:

  • Perfume – 24 months
  • Mascara – 4-6 months
  • Eyeshadow/Blush – 18-24 months
  • Lipstick/lip-gloss – 12 months
  • Foundation – 6 months
  • Powders – 12 months
  • Eye and lip pencils – 12 months
  • Cleansers/moisturisers – 6 months
  • Lotions – 12-18 months
  • Nail polish – 12 months
  • Shampoo and Conditioner – 36 months
  • Sunscreen – has an exact expiry date, check the packaging

If you’re still unsure about a product, here are some warning signs that will tell you if it has expired:

  • The product’s smell has changed.
  • There is an obvious colour or textural change.
  • The item has been exposed to prolonged heat.
  • Mould is visible.

Download and print a copy of my Makeup Expiry Dates Checklist for FREE when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter.  Blutak the list inside your bathroom cupboard as a point of reference for when you purchased your makeup, or when it needs replacing.

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When was the last time you cleaned out your makeup drawer?

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Kylie June 2, 2011 - 9:28 AM

I actually did this only yesterday and found it a bit terrifying! When my MIL passed away, I was given all of her make up which was mainly Clinique – and LOTS of it! It has sat in my bathroom since Nov 09 and hadn’t been touched, so yesterday I got rid of it all. So much more room in my make up bag now 🙂

Kelly B June 2, 2011 - 9:48 AM

I didn’t know the expiry date on everything so thank you! I recently went through all my old make up! But I didn’t throw out the lipstick/eyeshadow right away. I let my kids use them as an art material and they LOVED IT!

Jac @ Common Chaos Chronicle June 2, 2011 - 8:19 PM

Well, guess that means I’m turfing 99% of my make-up out. Obviously I dont wear it nearly enough when there are things there that were purchased in high school…. OH DEAR!!! LOL
Nevermind. It’s the perfect excuse to update the supply and buy some more! xo

Morangão June 2, 2011 - 11:57 PM

Its so sad when i go check the expiry date of my makeup and i find makeup that i love expired..

Kate June 4, 2011 - 7:10 AM

Oh no, I’m going to have to get rid of everything in my cupboard that’s been sitting there “just in case I need it some day”, all my perfumes and half the stuff in my makeup bag! Eww, I can’t believe I didn’t know some of these things have an expiry date. Thank you!

Katrina June 5, 2011 - 8:22 PM

Not many people do and most of this stuff goes on our face, which we want to make wrinkle free for as long as we can.

Sj June 8, 2011 - 2:28 PM

I’ve heard mascara should be Thrown out after 6 weeks!! Liking your time frame much more!! Who can go hrough a tube of mascarra that quick anyway!!

Go Green March 22, 2012 - 3:58 PM

All of your make-up and products will contain many harmful chemicals and plastics that are doing your skin no good at all, even the ones that claim to be “mineral” or “natural”.
If you buy an truly all natural make-up, such as Australian made MUSQ, the expiry dates can be indefinite due to the quality of the products. Their products will also help heal your skin. I have never worn make-up before due to the terrifying truth about commercial products. Since finding this company I actually look forward to wearing makeup. Looking forward to throwing away my body shop not-so “mineral” makeup then got used once.

Bryar July 26, 2012 - 7:37 AM

By the looks of it my whole makeup bag needs to be replaced. 

Renee July 26, 2012 - 8:07 AM

I only recently did this actually as Ive begun wearing makeup again after many years of not being bothered. All apart of my Drab Mum Fab transformation after reclaiming my body after extended breastfeeding

Katrina July 27, 2012 - 1:01 PM

I love that Drab Mum Fab transformation!

Carly September 17, 2012 - 8:56 PM

Most make up / cosmetic products have a small logo on them that identifies their shelf life. The logo is a small round container with its lid sitting ajar with a number next to it e.g. 6 or 12 which represents that the product has a shelf life of 6 or 12 months after you open it. When you open a new product, especially for more expensive or seldom used items, find the logo and write the date you opened it on with a marker. That way you know when its past its shelf life.

SarahBear77 October 19, 2012 - 8:12 PM

Oh my gosh, I have lots of perfume. what actually happens if you wear it longer than the recommended expiry date? (or do I really have to throw it out?!)

Alicia March 8, 2013 - 6:04 PM

hmmm, I wear makeup about once or twice a year at most. I have makeup, perfumes, even specialty hair conditioners that I’ve had for 15 or more years! Most of them look nearly brand new. It’s so hard for me to throw these things out when I’ve barely used them and I bought them because I really do like the colors!

Katrina March 11, 2013 - 9:53 AM

it is hard to part with them, but a few years ago I found myself with terribly irritated eyes. It was on going for about 3 weeks, I have red puffy eyes with big dark circles underneath, Dr’s couldn’t help, Optometrist really didn’t know, in the end, I worked out that my Mascara was out of date and was causing my eye problems. So just watch out for any side effects

Debbie Nash April 22, 2013 - 10:48 AM

Putting eyeshadows and powders in the freezer for a short while will kill anything that could potentially be living in there, and will then be safe to use again.

Katrina April 22, 2013 - 6:03 PM

Really, I’ve never heard of this. This is how you can kill dust mites, so it makes sense. Thanks for the tip Debbie.

Andrea August 7, 2018 - 3:00 PM

You don’t have to throw out perfume after 24 months. That’s simply not true! If you store it in a cool and dry place, you can still use it after 30 years!

Yvonne August 10, 2018 - 6:41 PM

Wow…thanks for this…been going do this for years but now going to get moving and really work on my make up….

Kristine the Dane August 11, 2018 - 4:14 AM

I went to a wedding the other day and just before going out the door, my 4 year old does a double take look and says: “Wow Mom, you look really beautiful!” I guess I need to “put my face on” more often. Haha.
This post just makes me so much more motivated to use all my make-up all the time. Thanks, and I’m sure that my surroundings thank you too. 🙂

Shelley August 14, 2018 - 10:18 AM

Hi Kat
Re the lotions (12 – 18 months). Is this more like your Hand cream and body lotions etc?
Also, do you know how long Shower Gel or Soap lasts?

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