January 25, 2018

We're all guilty of holding onto our favourite makeup for maybe just a little longer than we should. Parting ways with your go-to lipstick feels like saying goodbye to an old friend! But, makeup expiration dates are there for a good reason. Your makeup can trap bacteria, which has the potential to lead to infections, skin irritation and breakouts. Makeup expiration dates start from when you very first open your product. The easiest way to check when your item expires is to look and see if there's a symbol like the ones below.

makeup expiration symbols

Most cosmetics will have a little sticker on them with the letters “M” or “Y”. That “M” stands for Month and the “Y” is for Year. If you see a tag that says “12 M” that means your product will last a year after it has been opened. If, however you can't find an expiration date on your item, here are some standard guidelines to follow.

Makeup Expiration Dates


The makeup expiration date for mascara is between 3-6 months. To make it last as long as possible, avoid pumping the mascara wand when trying to get more product. Pumping the wand in and out of the tube adds oxygen which dries out your mascara more quickly. Also, never, ever share mascara. You’re way better off just limiting the tube to your own bacteria. You should absolutely bin it when it starts to get clumpy or has a weird smell.


Both liquid and pencil eyeliner expire after 12 months. To remove surface bacteria, make sure to sharpen your pencil liners often. You don’t want to use an old eyeliner because then your eye susceptible to horrible infections!

Lipstick, Lipgloss & Lip Pencils

Your lip products can last you up to 12 months. Although it may seem like lipsticks can last forever, in actual fact, since they usually contain skin-conditioning oils and emollients, they need to be refreshed annually! And remember, sharing is a no-no. If you must share, scrape away the top layer before you use it again.

Liquid Foundation

The makeup expiration date for liquid foundation is 12 months. A key indicator that it’s time to replace your foundation is when the consistency and colour changes. To make sure you get full use out of this product don’t leave your makeup bag anywhere that gets too hot and keep it out of the sun. If you are prone to breakouts, use a suitable cleanser like our Glycolic Resurfacing Cleanser so you know you’ve got every bit of yesterday’s foundation off.


Similarly to liquid foundation, concealer lasts 12 months. When applying concealer always use a brush to apply it. However, you shouldn’t double dip your brush, especially if you’re concealing acne. Doing this, you transfer the bacteria from your face into your concealer. Instead, take some concealer using a brush, and place on the back of your hand for a makeshift palette.

Pressed Base, Blush & Powder Eyeshadow

The makeup expiration date for these products is 12-24 months. You’ll notice they have expired as they tend to become more flaky and crumbly. Since powders don’t contain water, they’re not as susceptible to bacteria growth. This is because bacteria thrives in dark, moist environments. However, you can ensure that they are 100% sanitary by cleaning the brushes used with these products regularly, to prevent breakouts and infections. When it comes to eyeshadows, opt for kits like The Velvets Palette rather than trying to manage a pile of little individual shadows.

Skincare Expiration Dates

Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum will last for 6 months once opened. The tell-tale sign of expiration is when the liquid changes to a dark amber colour. While using an old bottle of Vitamin C serum may not be harmful to your skin, it certainly doesn’t have any efficacy either. So really, you are just wasting your time since the old product will do absolutely nothing for your skin.

Face Cream & Eye Cream

Creams last up to 12 months. The best way to keep your products hygienic is by buying creams that come in bottles/tubes so that you aren’t always sticking your hands into a jar. Although, you can keep jars sanitary with a little extra effort. You just need to remember to wash your hands and be sure they are clean before sticking your fingers into the product.

Cleansers, Serums, Masks & Exfoliators

These beauty products again expire after 12 months of opening. Although products with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) may last longer, it’s advised that you still replace these skincare products after a year.

Body Lotions & Hand Creams

These creams need to be replaced after 24-30 months. You can tell when they have expired once the colour starts to change. What’s more creams in bottles or pumps will last longer than those in jars.

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