make-up expiration dates

Caution: After reading this article, you might have to buy a whole set of new Makeup! 😉

We all know about food expiration dates and how important they are, but have you thought about your make-up expiration dates and when it’s time to toss them? I bet you are probably like me, and don’t know when all of your make-up and skincare products expire. But I hope you know that make-up can trap a lot of bacteria, which can cause skin irritations, eye infections, and breakouts. The tricky part about cosmetics’ shelf life is that the expiration dates are dependent on when you actually open the package, how well it is stored, the type of packaging, and not about the purchase date.

Most of the beauty products nowadays have a PAO Symbol on the back (check picture below). PAO stands for “Period After Opening”, and it is a general guideline for when to throw away your make-up after you have opened it.

 make-up expiration dates

But what if the make-up product doesn’t have a PAO? After some extensive research and mixed results, here is what I could conclude about cosmetics’ shelf lives:


Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year

If you use a liquid foundation, know that the expiry date for it will be shorter than if you use a compact powder foundation, as liquids tend to contain more water, thus allowing more bacteria to grow in them. Powders, however, can last for much longer because of their dry texture that doesn’t allow bacteria to grow on them easily.


Shelf Life: 1 year

It is very easy for bacteria to grow in a watery environment especially if you use your hands to scoop it out. If your moisturizer is all natural, and preservative-free, know that it would last a lot less than moisturizers that contain synthetic preservatives.


Shelf Life: 1 year

If your concealer dries out or becomes lumpy, get rid of it immediately as it will make those breakouts even worse!


Shelf Life: 8 to 10 years

Perfumes’ expiry dates are the longest (Thank Goodness!). Word of advice: keep your fragrances out of direct sunlight to preserve them better.

Lipstick & Lipgloss

Shelf Life: 1 to 2 years

The longer those lipsticks stay in a cool place, the longer they will last! Lipgloss tends to expire faster though, with a one year expiry date!

Brow Pencils

Shelf Life: 1 to 2 years

Brow Pencils generally last longer if you sharpen them regularly, thus removing bacterial growth on the top layer of the pencil.


Shelf Life: 6 months

Changing your mascara frequently is very important to avoid eye infections, as your eyes are very sensitive to these products. Also, always pump your mascara very slowly rather than quickly, to avoid forcing the air into your tube, therefore avoiding bacterial growth. Word of advice: Never Ever share your mascara with your friends, and if you notice any eye infection, just toss it and buy a new one!

Liquid/Pencil Eyeliner

Shelf Life: 4 to 6 months for liquid eyeliners, and around 2 years for Pencil eyeliners

Liquid eyeliners are more susceptible to bacterial growth than Pencils. Always sharpen your pencil eyeliner to extend its shelf life, and always keep the cap of the eyeliner on at all times! Just like mascara, never share it with anyone!

Blush and Powder

Shelf Life: 2 years

These babies last a long times because they are dry products! Yay!

Eye Shadow

Shelf Life: 6 months to 2 years

Eye shadows usually last for long, but should be replaced sooner than face powders because they are used around the eyes.

Nail Polish

Shelf Life:1 to 2 years

If you notice any discoloration or separation in layers, your nail polish is most probably going bad because it has been exposed to too much heat and direct sunlight.

Micellar water

The name says it all! Water is the main ingredient in Micellar water, which makes it one of the first products to give up on after 6 months!

Word of Advice: The more water the beauty products contain, the shorter the lifespan, because bacteria easily grows in water. Also, the eye beauty products tend to have a shorter span. Finally, if you see a change in colour, texture, or smell in any beauty product, please do yourself a favour and just toss it!

Make-up Expiration Date

On another note, have you read Mia’s Tutorial & Review on the MaxFactor ProColor Correcting VoxBox?