Expired Makeup: How to Tell If Your Makeup has Expired & What You Can Do About It! 

How to tell if you have expired makeup, a blog post from Authentic Beauty in Atlanta

Written by Jasmin Buchanan for Authentic Beauty in Atlanta

Did you know your makeup has an expiration period just like a piece of bread or fruit? However, unlike that piece of bread or fruit, there aren’t major indicators to tell you when that makeup has passed its due date. According to the FDA, “there are no U.S. laws or regulations that require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels. However, manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products are safe.” That means that even though beauty products do expire, companies aren’t required to have those dates on the labels. If your makeup isn’t showing obvious signs of being expired, then how can you tell it’s time to toss products?

How to tell if makeup has expired:

On most beauty product containers, you should find a symbol that looks like a jar with a number inside of the jar followed by the letter “M”. This is called the “period-after-opening” symbol, which tells you how long you can use the product once you have opened it. This symbol is usually found on the back of the package by the ingredients or on the bottom of the product itself.

If a product says “18M,” that means that the product’s shelf life is a year and a half after opening. Or, if a product says “12M,” that means the product is only good for 1 year after opening and then that makeup expires. While many people believe that using expired makeup isn’t harmful, that isn’t always the truth. Due to different skin types, concerns and sensitivities, some people may have an adverse reaction with expired makeup while others may not experience anything out of the ordinary.

Signs of expired makeup: Scents and Textures

Signs of expired makeup: Scents and Textures

Another way you can test the expiration of your product is by a difference in smell or texture. Almost all products will have a chemical-like smell or a strong unpleasant odor with expired makeup. The texture and consistency of the product may also change depending on the formula; watch out for clumpiness, drying out or separation when applying.

how to tell when mascara has expired

Each beauty product may have different signs of expiration. For example, expired mascara will start to dry out and the formula won’t apply properly. The dryness of the formula will cause the mascara to flake and not coat your lashes like it should. If the mascara or eyeliner doesn’t show the aforementioned signs, be aware of how your body reacts to the product. You may experience irritation such as burning or watering of the eyes if you have expired eyeliner or expired mascara. Eyeliners, whether they are liquid or cream, will also dry out, therefore the pigment deposit will be little to none.

Cream products like blush, bronzer, contour, eyeshadow, foundation and concealer will almost always have the same signs of being expired

Cream products like blush, bronzer, contour, eyeshadow, foundation and concealer will almost always have the same signs of being expired. Depending on the formulation, expired cream makeup will dry out or the consistency will change. If the product is in a pan or compact, look for sweat beads building on top of the product. If the aforementioned signs are not apparent, another way to tell if a product is expired is if there is a skin reaction such as burning, dryness, rashes or clogged pores. Cream eyeshadows are expired when they are hard to blend, dried out, or cause eye irritation.

expired lipstick and other expired lip products

Depending on the formulation and finish, lip products can exhibit similar signs of expiration to that of cream products or eyeliners. Like eyeliners, expired lip liners will oftentimes dry out and may deposit little to no pigment. Expired liquid lipsticks may have an unpleasant odor or dryness to the application. Although you may be able to apply the liquid lipstick, it may cause irritation or drying of the lips. For the traditional bullet lipsticks, look for sweat beads building on the surface, similar to that of the cream pan products.

expired powder makeup

There may be difficulty in determining expired powder products, like expired powder blushes and bronzer, expired eyeshadow, expired foundation and brow powders, and expired powder highlighter. Therefore we suggest simply throwing out the powder once it hits the shelf life date. However, if you continue to use the powder, be wary of any change in application such as a change in blendability, a change in color, separation in packaging or cracking of the powder in the pan. Those are all signs of an expired powder product.

What if my new makeup product is showing similar signs of being expired?

If a newly purchased product displays some signs of expiration, we suggest contacting the company or store in which it was purchased so that they may review the product. It’s best to get an expert’s eye prior to using the product on your skin. The product may be a one off mishap or a batch issue, which means other people may receive a faulty product too. Most companies are willing to look into the issue to make sure their products are safe to use and function as they were intended to. 

What can I do to keep my makeup fresher for a longer time?

It is widely agreed upon that you should not keep makeup whether it is open or not, for more than 2 to 3 years. Even if you haven’t opened the makeup itself, it was still manufactured a long time ago and may no longer be safe to use. Although purchasing new products every 6 to 12 months can be costly, it is for your health and safety. Here are a few tips to keep your makeup as fresh as possible:

  • Do not share makeup with others
  • Use makeup with clean skin, brushes and hands 
  • Keep your makeup area clean
  • Store your makeup in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight 
  • Make sure all products are properly closed and sealed
  • Clean your brushes and sponges often to reduce bacteria

Not sure if your beauty products have expired or what to do with expired beauty product containers? 

Don’t throw your makeup out! According to reports from Zero Waste Week, “beauty packaging amounts to 120 billion units every year. That includes plastic, paper, glass, and metals, all of which end up in landfills year after year.” That’s a lot of waste! 

makeup recycling

At Authentic Beauty Makeup Salon & Brow Studio, we offer a Makeup Bag Cleanup Lesson ($25.00) that is a 30-minute service with a makeup artist walking you through what needs to go and what can stay! Sometimes we also overlook what makeup we have and ways to use our makeup differently through new products and techniques. Authentic Beauty is also a partner with the Pact Collective, which means our studio has a Pact bin inside our studio where expired beauty products can be disposed of properly. We are so excited about this Atlanta makeup recycling opportunity that when you bring 5 beauty items into the studio to recycle, you get 10% off 1 makeup item.  (*Offer only valid that same day)

makeup bag clean up lesson at authentic beauty in atlanta

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to clean up your makeup bag, learn some new skills through our makeup bag cleanup service, and get rid of old beauty products through our makeup recycling program with Pact. Enjoy 15% off a makeup product purchase during your Makeup Bag Clean Up Lesson. (*Service not valid with Aly.)

Authentic Beauty is located at 4674 Roswell Rd. in Atlanta. To book your service, call 404-849-0443 or book your session online to keep your makeup bag and the planet cleaner. 

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