Cosmetic expiration dates can be a bit of a nightmare, this may even be the first time you've heard of makeup expiring! In this post I've tried to break it down as simply as possible to give you a general outline of how long you can keep each type of product...
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Expiry dates exist for makeup as, after a certain amount of time the product isn't going to be the same consistency or act in the same way, as well as this there are hygiene issues around makeup. You can either find the batch code of the product and check on the brand website or most will have a little image of an open pot and something like '18M'. This tells you how long after opening the product you can safely continue to use it for.
So here is my guide! The products photographed where my reference and, where I've got products from both, I've said whether the product being high-end or a little cheaper makes a difference :)
Products applied to the immediate eye are the ones which last the least amount of time.
Eye Creams: 6 Months
Mascara: 6 Months (whether high-end or drugstore)
Powder Eyeshadow: 12 Months (whether high-end or drugstore)
Cream Eyeshadow: 24 Months
Traditional Eyeliner Pencil: 24 Months
Cream Pencil Eyeliner: 36 Months
I couldn't find any guidelines on Gel Eyeliner or a reliable online source, but I would say 6-12 months. I'm not sure why the Maybelline Colour Tattoos last longer than traditional powder eyeshadows but apparently they do!
Primers also vary a lot, and the shelf-life of mine relates directly to the cost. The Smashbox (most expensive) lasts 24 Months, the Body Shop (mid-range) lasts 12 Months and the Rimmel (cheapest) lasts 6 Months. The Rimmel one is more of a moisturiser formula whereas the other two are silicon-based, so this may also factor in.
Fluid Blusher: 6 Months
Cream Blusher: 18 Months
Powder Blusher and Bronzer: 24 Months (whether high-end or drugstore)
I actually used the Sleek Blush by 3 palettes to determine the difference between cream and powder blushers. The ones that contained cream formulas said 18 whereas the powder-only ones said 24. My Nars blushers also say 24. I was unable to find a precise date for any of my blush lacquers, but I would say around 12 Months (halfway between liquid and cream blushers).
Tinted Moisturisers/BB Creams/CC Creams: 18-24 Months (depends on the consistency; the more liquid it is the shorter the shelf life)
Foundations: 24 Months (whether high-end or drugstore)
Face Powders: 24 Months (just like a blusher or bronzer)
Makeup Brushes don't have an expiry date (I don't think so anyway) but a lot of people seem to say you should throw them after 2 years. In my opinion this is around the sort of time they'll start shedding and start looking a little messy, so use your common sense on this one.
Fluid Lip Products: 18 Months
Solid Lip Products: 30-36 Months
Lip products can really vary, so it's best to check the products you have specifically. A good general rule to follow is that lip glosses and lacquers won't last quite as long as lipsticks and lipliners (lipsticks will generally last up to 3 years).
Brow Wax and Powder: 18-36 Months (the expensive Benefit one lasts 36, the cheaper Sleek one 18)
Non-Liquid Concealers: 36 Months
I checked my Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer and that lasts just 6 months! However I'm not sure if that's due to it being liquid, the doe-foot applicator or the fact it's a cheaper brand.
You will get the most out of your skincare, as moisturisers and serums will last you around 2 years!
Personally, I use them as a general guide, not a rigid rule. I think in terms of hygiene I'm very careful with washing my synthetic brushes regularly (as opposed to using the spongey applicator and it never getting washed or my fingers!), so I will probably be able to keep some items beyond the recommendation.
It's a personal choice, and it's your call, but make sure you're throwing anything that smells bad, has a strange consistency or you got it so long ago you don't remember how old it is! If you struggle to keep track you might want to put a little sticky label on some items saying the date it was opened on. You should also have a think about which products may not last forever but you would almost always finish them before they expire. Using brushes that you wash regularly, not double-dipping and storing your makeup in a cool, dry place are all things which can make products last longer.
I hope this has been helpful!