How to tell if your cosmetics are past their expiry dates

Just because you only used it once a year ago doesn't mean you should use it again! Here's how to tell if your cosmetics are past their expiry dates.

Most of us have makeup sitting around for years without throwing them out. That red lipstick that you wear once a year. The bright colour eyeshadows you were convinced into buying by the talented artist at the makeup counter. Oh, yeah, that orange looked like belonged on your face in the store, but when you got home and tried to recreate that look, well, it was never quite the same.

Do you know the bad beauty ingredients to look out for in your products?

Holding on to makeup past its sell-by-date can be dangerous as it can expose us to harmful toxins and chemicals that can harm our systems. That is why I have put together a handy guide to tell if your cosmetics are past their expiry dates.

Foundation and Concealer

This really depends on whether the products are oil or water-based. Oil is a natural preservative so you will get longer out of oil-based products. For water-based foundations and concealer, you're looking at 12 months, and 18 months for oil-based.

You will know it's starting to go off as it will start to separate and streak when it's applied. If you want to preserve it shake it up often and keep it in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.

Blusher, Bronzer and Face Powder


It's 18 months for powder products as they are a dry product and its harder for bacteria to grow on them. You will notice a harder crust around the edge of your products which comes from the minerals in the powder mixing with your skin oils over time. To prolong this, make sure to close the lid properly after use, make sure your brushes are clean, and avoid using a greasy or oily product before it.

mascara eye makeup


Your mascara should be thrown out every three months with everyday use and six months with occasional use. Bacteria loves wet confined locations and also exists on the lashes so the germs are transferred from the wand to the tube easily and over time because of the wet environment it breeds. The way you can tell is by the smell of it. If it smells "off" it's time to bin it. It's also time to bin if it's flaking or clumping when it didn't before. To prolong mascara use, try not to pump the wand as it brings air into the mascara and will dry it out.


Liquid liner has the same bacteria prone abilities as mascara so that will last three months. However, the pencils last a whole lot longer because you are sharpening them which removes the top layer affected by bacteria. The way to tell if it's going out of date is to look at the pencil. If a white film appears on it, throw it out. You can prolong liquid liner by cleaning the applicator with rubbing alcohol or surgical spirits after each use.

Lipstick and Gloss


Lucky for you, lipstick doesn't hold much bacteria so it can last from 12-18 months. It's usually packed full of preservatives like essential oils, parabens and vitamins to ward off germs. These naturally start to break down after a year. Any moisture beading, chalky texture or strange smells mean it's time to throw it out. To prolong it, keep it in a cold dry place, not a warm environment. Also, try not to apply it directly after eating as it cultivates bacteria.

There you have it, your smart guide to the expiry on products. If that hasn't inspired you to go on a makeup spring clean, I don't know what will!

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