The common question asked by makeup wearers everywhere is, “When does my makeup expire?” Well, I am more than happy to answer this question for you because this is arguably one of the most important questions in which I believe everyone who owns and wears makeup should know the answer. All that I ask is that you approach this article with the understanding that you may be throwing away all or most of your makeup bag… (I’m sorry, but I’m helping you out of love. <3)
It is imperative to note that the shelf-life of your makeup all depends on when the product is first opened, the type of packaging, and how it is stored… I will mention ways in which to preserve, sanitize, and store your makeup to prolong shelf-life; however, I will not be sharing any magic tricks to help you keep products beyond their recommended trash days. (RIP makeup children, you have been good to us all these years…)
Most products have a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol:
This symbol acts as a guideline for when you should throw out a product after opening it. You will notice a number and a letter next to the number – the letters used are either “M” (months) or “Y” (years). Note: The PAO isn’t placed there as a sales tactic to keep you buying more products – it is placed there with YOU and YOUR safety in mind. Using a product past the PAO isn’t safe or wise… By not following the PAO, you could cause skin irritation, give yourself Conjunctivitis “Pink Eye”, develop sores on/around your mouth, or worse – cause permanent problems like blindness, chemical burning of your face, and other atrocities we shall not name because you get the picture and WILL LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY NEXT… 😉
“AUDREY, I don’t see a PAO on my products, what do I do?!?!” It is important to keep in mind not all products have a PAO. (I know, super helpful, right?) This doesn’t mean you keep the product until it runs out. (Duh!) This means you follow these basic rules: Liquid products should be thrown out within 6 months, loose powders should be thrown out within 1 year, pressed powders should be thrown out within 2 years, anything with a different smell/color/consistency than when it was opened should be tossed IMMEDIATELY, anything with odd wax-like buildup or is dried out should meet the trash, and anything in warped packaging needs to go too. More will be explained in depth below, but we should go over proper handling, care, and storage first.
Some helpful tips to help prolong shelf-life:
1) Store in a dark place (out of direct sunlight) at room temperature and avoid extreme heat or extreme cold whenever possible.
2) Wash your hands before touching anything, especially before dipping your fingers into any products.
- OR just use a brush or other type of CLEAN applicator instead of dipping your hands into your products.
3) Don’t leave products uncovered or without lids for extended periods of time. (Whenever you’re using the product is the ONLY time it should be open.)
4) Don’t pump your wands…You’re letting air and bacteria into your tubes. (Dipping your Mascara and Lip Gloss Applicators repeatedly in and out of the tubes in hopes of finding more product doesn’t work anyways.)
- Swirling in circles inside of the tubes is the best method to get more product onto your wands.
5) Don’t share with other people. (ESPECIALLY don’t share with sick people! Once your product is used by someone who is sick, it has to be trashed IMMEDIATELY – yes, even yourself. Don’t use Eye Liner on your Pink Eye and put it back on your own eye thinking all is well! YUCK!)
6) Don’t add Water, Eye Drops, etc. to your products in hopes of having “more” – you’re ruining the quality and opening up possibilities for bacteria to thrive.
7) Sanitize your products!
- Wash your brushes regularly – at least once every 2 weeks.
- Preferably once every week
- Spritz Isopropyl Alcohol on your Pressed Powders.
- Alcohol can be no stronger than 70% because it will dry too fast and not properly sanitize
- Sharpen your Pencils regularly.
- Use Makeup Remover Wipes on your Lipsticks to remove the top layer of bacteria.
- OR just use a brush or other type of CLEAN applicator when applying.
8) Pay attention to the ingredients of your products:
- Most water-based products will need to be replaced within 6 months because water-based products that are often exposed to the air are being exposed to bacteria and bacteria can thrive in these types of places.
- “Natural Products” made without preservatives are just that…made without preservatives – meaning the shelf-life is less than the competing products made with preservatives.
- Not a bad thing, just something to notate.
Now that we have all of THAT covered, I will share a list of regularly used products and my recommended POA based on personal research on various products, their ingredients, and the reactions these ingredients may have with the environment once opened. Keep in mind you MUST follow the POA on the products’ original packaging whenever it is available.
This list is only to be used whenever you can’t find a POA on the product in question:
Micellar Water – 6M
Cleanser/Moisturizer – 1Y
Toner – 6M-1Y
Concealer – 1Y-18M
Liquid Foundation – 1Y
Cream Blush – 1Y-18M
Pressed Powder Foundation/Blush – 2Y
Loose/Setting Powder/Blush – 1Y
Brow Pencil – 2Y
Cream Eyeshadow – 1Y-18M
Pressed Powder Eyeshadow – 2Y
Loose Powder Eyeshadow – 1Y
Mascara – 6M
Liquid Eyeliner – 6M
Gel Eyeliner – 1Y-18M
Pencil Eyeliner – 1Y
Lipliner – 1Y-18M
Lipstick – 1Y-2Y
Lip Gloss – 1Y
Lip balm – 1Y-18M
Did I forget something? Feel free to reach out and ask any follow-up questions you might have for me… (Contact me via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or e-mail.) Was it helpful? Did you have to throw a lot away? Are you going to share with your friends and family? Let me know what question(s) you would like answered next time. Or just reach out to say hello! I look forward to hearing from you…
And, as always, remember: Be lovely. BeYOUtiful. Be inspired. ❤
I’d like to take a moment to thank my girl, Abby Sick (A Sick Photo), for snapping some candid shots of me calming some horses for a Photo Shoot I did makeup for recently. I always enjoy BTS (behind-the-scenes) shots because I love being captured in my element. Being a makeup artist who primarily works on site, I try to be as helpful as possible in as many ways as possible. Sometimes it means holding a light for the photographer(s) to capture the best shots, sometimes it means fixing clothing, and sometimes it can even mean calming horses. Either way, I am so very happy Abby was able to capture these BTS shots so effortlessly.