Your Essential Guide to Make-up Expiry Dates

From pencils to powder, we look at the expiry dates for a range of products across the industry.

Hannah Lockyer
23rd October 2017
Image Credit - Instagram: @paula13t

We’ve all got that drawer or makeup compartment, where you’re not exactly sure what’s inside but you’re keeping it anyway. I’ll take you through a whistle stop tour of mine: a green eyeshadow, liquid eyeliners I’m bad at using, chunky glitter, a foundation four shades darker than my actual skin colour, mini lip-glosses which are really cute but always get lost in my bag and serve no real purpose other than being cute. Apart from all these products being awful, they share another thing in common: they are old. I’m talking Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 old.

I think it’s time I educate myself on how long makeup products really deserve pride and place in our collection. First things first, it’s important to understand how makeup expiry date symbols work. Most symbols are on the bottom of the packaging and only begin once you have opened the product. The symbol is a little open jar, with a number and letter inside, for example, ‘12M’ would mean 12 months until expiry. However, the expiry date between mascara, powders and concealer differs between product, brand, and formulation. So, to keep it simple, I’ve broken it down into the most basic form of expiry dates for each product.

Instagram: @topshelfieillustrated

Instagram: @topshelfieillustrated

Mascara: Mascaras have a short expiration date, and last between just three and four months. After this time, due to oxidation, the mascara becomes clumpier, lighter and a lot flakier. Keeping an old mascara isn’t great hygienically either because mascara wands hold a lot of bacteria on them and this can often lead to eye irritations.

Moisturiser: Moisturiser lasts for about a year – which is great, despite the fact I’m pretty sure I go through about one bottle a month when Newcastle hits artic temperatures.

Lipstick: Lipsticks can last for over 2 years; however, they can become sticky and dry if left out in the heat, so it’s best to clean them with a wipe every so often. More of an excuse to buy new a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick I think!

Brow and eyeliner pencils: Pencils last for up to 2 years. The best way to keep them fresh is to sharper them to remove any bacteria or germs on the top layer of the product!

Liquid Concealer and Foundation: These last between 6-12 months, which means it’s a good reminder to change between colours between Winter and Summer as your products might not only be the wrong shade but also reaching their expiry date! A top tip is to keep foundations out the UV light as this destroys the preservatives and spoils the product.

Hard-Pressed Powder: i.e. blusher and mattifying powder. These last for a pretty hefty time of 2 years, rarely becoming flaky or dry, however it’s important to remember that these products are directly coming into contact with your face and let’s be honest, spots! It’s great to invest in a product sanitizer, or simply wash your brushes every month or so – just to make sure what you put on your face is actually good for it!

Perfume: A real shocker here, perfume lasts between 8-10 years! Wow! Although the notes of perfume can change over time, especially if kept in harsh light or direct sunlight, so the best thing to do is keep your bottles in a cool and dry place to make sure you get your ten years’ worth out of them. It does make you realise why they are so expensive!

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