Diary / Beauty / Jul 10, 2023
When Does Makeup Expire?
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Jon Paterson
Just like items in your fridge and pantry, skincare products and makeup also expire.
You may have heard that makeup does expire but that it is still safe to use, but this is a common misconception. In reality, using old makeup can impact your skin, so it’s crucial to know the shelf life of your products.
If you’ve lost track, there are a few ways to tell if your makeup has expired. We’ll also discuss the risks of using expired makeup, how to properly dispose of old products, and tips for extending the shelf life of your makeup.
When Does Makeup Expire?
Makeup products have different shelf lives. If you want to know how long makeup lasts, it all depends on what type of makeup it is, the formulation, and the ingredients.
Water-based makeup, like liquid foundation, tends to have a shorter shelf life than oil-based makeup or powder products. You can generally expect most makeup products to have a shelf life of six to 12 months from when they are opened, or, if you haven’t opened them yet, your products are likely good for around 24 months.
For Jones Road Beauty products, there are a few ranges of expiration dates depending on the product:
-Miracle Balm has an opened shelf life of 18 months.
-The Mascara has an unopened shelf life of 18 months and an opened shelf life of six months.
Keep the unopened vs. opened shelf lives in mind if you purchase extra products, as you’ll want to open and use them before they expire.
To tell the exact expiration of a product, on its container you should see a small image of an open jar followed by a number. This is called the “PAO” (“period after opening”) symbol, which indicates how many months the product is good for after opening.
How Do I Tell If My Makeup Has Expired?
It can be easy to forget when exactly you opened a product, especially if it has been a while. There are a couple of helpful signs so you can tell if your makeup has expired:
-If your product has changed pigments or developed an odor, throw it away.
-If your skin appears irritated or you start to experience breakouts after using a product, it may be contaminated by bacterial growth and has expired.
Another thing to remember is that natural makeup products, like those from Jones Road Beauty, contain less chemicals (like preservatives) as compared to traditional makeup products so they may have shorter shelf lives.
How Do I Properly Dispose of Expired Makeup?
Parting with unused products is hard, but it’s in your best interest to dispose of expired makeup. When it’s time to clean out your makeup bag, there are some guidelines for disposing of expired makeup products.
-Don’t flush makeup. This can contaminate water sources and be harmful to the environment.
-Recycle when possible. Separate the recyclable and non-recyclable parts. Jones Road packaging is 100% recyclable.
-Check the packaging. Some products may need to be disposed of in a certain way. If that’s the case, this would be noted on the product’s packaging.
-Consolidate. Put expired products in a sealable bag. This way, if they spill, they will be contained in the bag and the change of any contamination will be limited.
How Do I Extend the Shelf Life of My Makeup?
If your go-to look is the no-makeup look, you will likely hold on to your products for a long time because you’re not using as many products, or as much of them, in your day-to-day life. We have some tips on how to keep your products in good condition so you can get the most out of them for as long as possible.
-Always store your makeup in a cool, dry place. While keeping your products in a makeup bag or case is easy, avoid storing them where exposure to heat, humidity, and light is a daily occurrence, like the bathroom or by a window. An ideal location is a drawer away from sources of heat or moisture.
-Keep the lids and caps on tight. This will help prevent your product from drying out and will also keep bacteria from getting into the product.
-Don’t share products. Sharing can introduce bacteria from one person to another, increasing the risk of spreading infection and reducing shelf life.
-Use clean brushes and applicators. Dirty tools can spread germs. Wash your makeup brushes and applicators regularly to prevent bacteria buildup. If you use your fingers, wash your hands before applying.
-Don’t add water or other liquids. You may have heard that contact solution can revive dried-out mascara. While that may seem sensible, eye infections can occur if bacteria from old mascara gets into the eye—so just toss it.
The Risks of Using Expired Makeup
Not only can old makeup be a breeding ground for bacteria, ingredient effectiveness is impacted by expiration dates, too. Moisturizers containing active ingredients lose their ability to treat the skin if too much time has gone by.
In particular, avoid using expired eye makeup like eyeliner pencils or liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and eye creams. We don’t need to elaborate on what can happen if bacteria is transmitted into the open eye.
And if you already have sensitive skin or experience acne, applying expired makeup can contribute to allergic reactions and further skin irritations. If you experience any skin conditions, we recommend creating a calendar alert for when the product is set to expire.
Ultimately, the best rule is to err on the side of caution and replace your products if you are unsure of their expiration date, especially if you have had them for a long time.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to keep track of the shelf life of your makeup products. By staying diligent with expiration dates and checking for signs of expiration, you are reducing the risk for skin irritations and breakouts.
Following the tips for keeping your makeup in pristine condition can also help you get the most out of your products while ensuring they remain safe to use.