Claire Saliu Makeup Artistry

Makeup Artist, Beauty and Lifestyle blogger and busy Mama.

Makeup Expiry Dates: When It's Time For A Declutter

Makeup Expiry Dates

I will readily admit that I'm a hoarder - in most aspects of my life. I hold onto birthday cards, old teddy bears and anything that is remotely sentimental or in terms of my wardrobe, that I hope to fit into again "one day". That hoarding tendency also extends to my makeup and beauty collection - and I recently decided that it was time for a declutter in lots of ways but especially in my makeup and beauty stashes. If you have the same tendencies, read on if you want to know how long you really should be hanging onto those palettes and products for before they have passed their best!

Makeup Expiry Dates

The PAO Symbol.

PAO symbol

As a guideline, the majority of beauty products nowadays carry a PAO symbol - either on the label of the product itself or on the outer packaging/box. PAO means "Period After Opening" and it tells you how long (in months) that you should keep the product after opening/first use. The symbol will be a number with the letter M (for months) and a little icon of an open jar. If you don't have any guidelines on the product itself, here are some general rules to follow in terms of beauty product shelf life.


Mascara expiry dates

Mascara has the shortest shelf life of any beauty product as far as I'm aware. To prevent potential eye infections, you need to replace these every 3 months. And you should replace your mascara even sooner if it starts to dry up, clump, flake or smell "off". I noticed that some of my mascaras have a 6M guideline on them however most experts recommend a 3 month maximum shelf life.

Liqud or Gel eyeliners.

Makeup expiry dates

Similar to mascaras, these are prone to bacteria build up and to reduce the risk of eye infections, these should be replaced every 6 months - or sooner if they start to dry out.

Liquid Foundation and Concealer.

makeup expiry dates

As a rule, these can be kept for up to 12 months. If you use your base products every day, you may find that they don't last this long anyway - but if you have different shades or bottles that you use depending on the seasons this might be an issue. For instance, some use a lighter shade in Autumn/Winter than they do in Summer to match their tanned skin. In this case, by the time the season you use it in rolls around again it's more than likely time to toss it! Make sure that you pour or pump the product out onto the back of your hand or a mixing palette instead of dipping your fingers into it to avoid adding germs/bacteria to it. Concealers are a slightly trickier one if they come with the wand applicators as in theory if you cover a spot then your under eyes with it you might be spreading bacteria around - if that's a concern for you then replace sooner than the 12 months.

Cream Blush and Eyeshadows.

Makeup expiry dates

These are good to use for up to 12 months. I personally don't use a lot of cream versions of these products on a very regular basis so I know there are definitely some I need to get rid of! The same would apply to cream highlighters too. Use (clean) brushes instead of your fingers to apply them so that you don't add extra bacteria to the products.

Powder Blush and Eyeshadows.

Makeup expiry dates

These will last up to 2 years before needing to go on the makeup scrap heap. Also make sure that you use brushes instead of your fingers as recommended above.

Lipsticks and Lip Glosses.

Lipstick expiry dates

It is recommended to change these after 12 months - especially if you use the products straight from the bullet or applicator. Replace them sooner if they develop what looks like condensation on them.

Eye and Lip Pencils.

Expiry dates liner pencils

These should be replaced after 2 years. Keep them sharpened regularly too and make sure to store with the lids on to keep them clean as well.

Skincare and body products.

Skincare expiry dates

Follow the PAO symbol on the packaging or else replace after 12 months. Or as a general rule, bin them if they smell or look "off" or if the texture changes or the product splits. I had a situation once with a bottle of self tanning mousse - I won't tell you the brand - that I'd only had for a couple of months but when I went to use it the product came out green. Needless to say it went straight in the bin!

I hope you have found this post useful and that it encourages you to root out those products that have been lingering in your makeup bag for too long! If you have any questions on any of these or any tips on how to make the most of your products do let me know.

Bye for now,

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