Does make-up expire and can you keep using it once the date has passed?

Aug 22, 2021
Like most good things, makeup doesn't last forever. Source: Getty

Can’t remember the last time you bought makeup? If you answered yes, your makeup drawers may be in need of a full-blown clean out.

Unfortunately, like all good things, make-up does have an expiration date and its lifespan may be shorter than you think. Here, Cher Donaldson, director at Alluring Minerals, explains how often you should update your beauty drawer and why old make-up products can wrack havoc on your skin.

Make-up expiration dates you need to know

Cher says liquid face makeup, such as foundation or concealer, should be replaced every six months. Powders, such as pressed mineral foundation, finishing powder, blush or eyeshadow, should be replaced every two years. Powder products have a longer shelf life because they don’t contain water, which means it’s harder for bacteria to grow.

Most of us are guilty of having a 10-year-old red lippy floating around the bottom of our handbag or bathroom draw, but Cher recommends tossing them as lipsticks, glosses and lipliner should be replaced every two years as well.

One of the products with the shortest shelf life is mascara, which Cher says should be replaced every four to six months. Using mascara for longer than this can increase the risk of an eye infection.

Asked if mineral make-up products last longer, Cher says they typically do because they often come in a powder format. However, there’s not too much difference between mineral powder products and traditional powder products when it comes to expiry dates, so it’s best to always check the product’s packaging.

To extend the shelf life of your makeup, Cher recommends cleaning your makeup brushes every one to two weeks.

“A quick spot clean in between with a brush cleanser is also helpful,” she adds.

“Make sure you put lids on properly, close the compacts properly and don’t pump the mascara brush up and down to get more product as the exposure to air increases bacteria.”

She also recommends storing your makeup in a cool, dry place — yes, ladies that means out of the bathroom!

“The bathroom can be a hot and steamy area, which encourages mould and can also shorten makeup shelf life,” Cher says.

She adds an easy way to keep track of the expiry dates is to write the date with a marker directly on the package. However, most products should have a date stamp, often written as 24M (24 months), that tells you how long it lasts.

Is it safe to use old makeup?

Technically yes, but you won’t be doing your skin or yourself any favours. Cher says old makeup is usually riddled with bacteria, which can lead to skin irritation, or worse a skin infection.

How to tell when you need to replace your makeup?

As well as the expiry date, Cher says the biggest telltale signs a product needs replacing is when it starts to crack, produces an unfamiliar scent or starts to change colour.

Products to try

If your makeup collection is now looking a little bare, we’ve got you covered — head on over to the Starts at 60 Marketplace and you’ll find a variety of different makeup products, from blush to lip liner.

If you’re starting from scratch, we’re recommend kicking off with a good foundation. If you’re wanting to try mineral makeup, the Loose Powder Mineral Foundation by Rageism Beauty or the Liquid Mineral Foundation by Alluring Products may be of interest. Both products come in a variety of different colours, so you can find the right hue for your skin.

Loose Powder Mineral Foundation, $65.
Liquid Mineral Foundation, $135, down from $142.95.

We’ve also got loads of other foundation options here.

You can also pick up a setting powder (designed to ‘set’ or hold foundation in place) and mineral eyeshadows from Alluring Minerals here. And if you’re in need of some new blush, bronzer or highlighter, Rageism Beauty has got you covered.

Rageism Crème Highlighter, $39.

If you’re after a new lippy, one of Rageism Beauty’s lip kits (like this one) may be of interest. Each kit come with a lip pencil, sharpener, gloss and lipstick.

Rageism Rosie Lip Kit, $117.

Not your colours? You can find more gloss and lipstick options here.

We also have makeup brushes up for sale (check out this brush kit from Rageism Beauty) as well as makeup removers (like this one from Rageism Beauty).

Rageism All The Tools Kit, $177.

You can find these products and plenty more incredible beauty treatments on the Starts at 60 Marketplace.

IMPORTANT INFO We write about products and services we think you might like and may receive payment if you click on the links in this article or go on to make a purchase. 

Did you know this? Are you in need of a makeup overhaul?

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up