Did you know that just like food, beauty products also have an expiry date? It’s JUST as important to check out the Makeup Expiration Dates of EVERY product in your makeup bag and bathroom, as well as the expiry dates of what’s in your kitchen. Read on to find out all you need to know in this Definitive Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates and Spring Cleaning your Makeup Bag.
I recently went on a bit of a decluttering binge of my entire apartment, including my makeup bag and bathroom. You know those days where you JUST can’t handle one more second of looking at all of the clothes, makeup, food, bank statements etc that you’ve been meaning to clear out for ages? But everytime you go to do it, you know it will take you a long time to get through it all. So you continue to put up with the mess and the fact that it will take an AGE to actually find what you were looking for in the first place!
Whilst that’s okay in general and doesn’t technically damage your health (except for getting on your nerves that is), the same can’t be said for makeup and beauty products. Holding on to products that have been sitting in your makeup bag or bathroom for too long, could, in fact, cause you some serious skin problems, like irritations and infections.
Although you may have only used a product once, as soon as you open it, air hits the formula and the ingredients begin to oxidise and degrade. Heat and humidity play a big part in speeding up the shelf life of a product. This is why it’s not a good idea to store your makeup products in your bathroom. It can cause yeast and mould to contaminate your products. So it’s best to store your products in a cool, dry place.
FINDING MAKEUP EXPIRATION DATES ON YOUR PRODUCTS:
The first step is to find the Makeup Expiration Dates of your makeup products. So now you’re probably thinking, well Noleen, how do I find the expiration date of each product? The problem here is, that you won’t actually find one. Unfortunately, makeup and beauty products are not regulated in the same way foods are. So unlike food, in most cases, you won’t find an actual use by date on your makeup products.
However, what you will find is an open jar symbol with a number such as 3M, 12M, 24M, and so on. I bet you’ve seen these before, but you most likely never paid any attention to them, as you didn’t realise what they meant.
This symbol is actually referred to as the PAO symbol, which stands for Period After Opening. It refers to the number of months from when you first opened your product. So for example, if you see the open jar symbol with 3M written on it, this means that the Makeup Expiration Date is 3 months from the day you first opened your product.
If you’re unsure as to when you first opened the product, the following tips will also be a good indication if it’s time to spring clean your makeup bag and throw them out:
- Smell & Consistency – One of the most important things to be aware of is smell and consistency. When a product starts to smell bad or if it’s consistency changes (eg: when a liquid foundation is thicker than usual), then it’s definitely time to throw it out, even if it hasn’t reached it’s full Makeup Expiration Date.
- Don’t take chances with eye products – If you can’t remember when you first opened them, then it’s best to just throw them out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, rather than keep a product that could cause you some serious skin and health problems.
- If you’re still unsure, I’ve compiled a list for you below, so you have an idea of how long you can hold onto your products, and when it’s time to throw them out.
I’ll start with the shortest Makeup Expiration Date and work upwards.
The products to be most cautious of are water based products. Mascara, liquid eyeliners and gel eyeliners come into this category. As these are all products for the eye area, these are the ones that you DO NOT want to take any chances with, as I mentioned above. If you use these products once they’re past their use by date, you’re leaving yourself open to eye infections. So definitely not the gorgeous glamorous eye look that you’re going for! When your mascara or gel eyeliner has dried out, it’s time for it to go in the bin and for you to buy a new one.
Liquid and cream face products are usually the products that fall into this category. Liquid foundations, liquid concealer and cream foundation are some examples. Consistency and smell will be great indicators here if you’re unsure as to when you first opened your product. For example, if your foundation has separated, if the oil has risen to the top, or if the consistency has thickened, these are all good indicators that it’s past its use by date. Do your skin a favour by throwing it out and buying yourself a new one. Otherwise, you run the risk of breakouts, skin irritations, or even worse – infections. Lipsticks and lipglosses also fall into this time frame. Make sure to ALWAYS keep lids on lipsticks and glosses when not in use. If you notice the consistency change in your lip products, or if they start to smell, throw them out immediately.
Powder products have a longer shelf life than liquid products, because they’re less susceptible to bacteria, as they don’t contain water. Hence the bacteria can’t grow in them. Powder-based makeup products such as eyeshadow, blusher and mineral foundation all fall into this category. When powder products are past their use by dates, they’re more likely to crumble, as the trace amounts of water contained in them begins to evaporate. They also tend to dry out, making it hard to pick up the product on your makeup brush. Lip pencils and eye pencils, such as eyeliner and eyebrow pencils, also have longer Makeup Expiration Dates. Make sure to sharpen them after EVERY use, which will help to prevent bacteria and will keep them nice and clean.
Tips to help your products last longer:
- ALWAYS keep the lids on your products when not in use. Otherwise, not only will they dry out more quickly, but they’ll also be susceptible to bacteria.
- DON’T pump mascara. This just pushes air into the tube and causes it to dry out faster. Instead, slowly draw out the wand, whilst twisting the brush from side to side. This will pick up more product.
- DON’T store your products in your bathroom, or anywhere it’s warm and damp. It’s best to store your products in a cool, dry place. Keep your makeup products in your makeup bag, and make sure not to leave them in direct sunlight, or on a window sill for example.
- Now that you know what to look out for, you’ll want to keep track of any new products that you buy. A good way to do this is to buy yourself some labels, write down the date you first opened it, and attach it to the product. This is particularly handy for products with longer Makeup Expiration Dates.
- USE your products. Stop saving your gorgeous products for a ‘special occasion’. Why not make EVERY DAY a special occasion, and go ahead and treat yourself by using those beautiful products. You don’t have to use every single product every day. But make sure to use at least a couple of them, and mix it up each day. It will make you feel SO FABULOUS and amazing, and you’ll wonder why you weren’t treating yourself so well before. 🙂
If you’d like to find out more about Makeup Expiration Dates and about the safety rules and regulations for beauty products, the Cosmetics Europe website is a great resource.
Now it’s over to you. When was the last time you did a Spring Clean of your makeup bag and bathroom?There’s no judgement here, I’d just love to hear from you. You can either share in the comments below. Or feel free to send me a message at email@example.com with any questions you may have.
And if you found this Definitive Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates helpful, I’ve also got another resource that you’ll love. It’s a FREE guide which you can download and keep with you at all times. This is a handy mini guide that summarises all of the above, as well as including the shelf life of other beauty products too. You can download your Shelf Life Of Beauty Products Guide here.
Or perhaps you still need some help with this? Spring Cleaning your makeup bag is just the first step. Once you’ve established what needs to be thrown out, the next step is making sure that you buy products that you ACTUALLY use by buying products that SUIT YOU PERFECTLY. This is one of the most important topics I go through with my clients in my personal makeup coaching sessions.
If you’d like some help with your makeup bag, I’d love to help you. We’ll go through your makeup bag in great detail, and I’ll help you to find what products you need to throw out, what can stay, and recommend products and shades that are PERFECT for you. So you’ll never have to waste money again throwing out products that you’ll never use, or use a couple of times at most. It’s better to only have a few products in your makeup bag that you do use, rather than a tonne of products that you’ll never use. You can get in touch with me here and we can discuss your exact needs in greater detail. xo