When Good Makeup Goes Bad

There is this whole misconception that makeup does not expire. As much as we would like to keep our favorite mascaras and luminous foundations forever, the sad truth is that they do go rancid.
It is especially important to keep an eye on the expiry and production dates because using expired makeup can actually be quite hazardous for your skin.

Once you open your product it is automatically exposed to air, which as an effect exposes it to bacteria. And just like ourselves, over time the resistance to bacteria becomes weaker. The molecules in these products break down and become something else, which can cause different kinds of irritations. Using expired makeup can cause adult acne, redness, dry patches, excessive oiliness, eye infection, swelling, rashes, blisters, and even sun damage.

But don’t worry! This doesn’t happen overnight. Beauty products have preservatives, which fight against bacteria and allow makeup to last longer. However, keep an eye out for All-Natural makeup products as they don’t contain any preservatives and thus are more prone to expiring much faster.
So how do I know if my beauty products have gone rancid? No worries, I’m here to help you know the shelf life of your products and how to sense if they have gone bad.


Mascara tubes are heaven for bacteria, so naturally these are the fastest to go rancid. Mascaras usually lasts for around 3 months. If you notice that your mascaras are starting to clump up and have a weird smell, it’s time to toss it out. Remember to never share mascara. This can easily cause cross-contamination.


Lipsticks & Glosses
Lipsticks are tricky to tell if they have gone bad. Surprisingly enough, lipsticks last for 2 years while glosses only last for 1 year. If you notice your lipstick starting to become dry when you apply it and your gloss is super sticky, then it means that it’s gone past its prime.

Liquid Foundation & Concealer

Liquid foundations and concealers can last from 6 to 12 months, depending if they are water-based or oil-based; oil-based concealers lasting longer then water-based ones. You will know if your foundation has expired if it becomes lighter, changes in texture, and most commonly starts to separate into different layers. This is when you know you have to buy a new one. Remember, keep your foundations away from the sun as UV rays will make your product break down and expire faster.

Nail Polish

Nail polish normally has a shelf life of two years. As with foundation, if you notice that your nail polish has separated into different layers, then its no good to use. Also, if you apply your nail polish and notice that it is quite difficult to blend, then it has definitely become rancid.

All these products seem to go bad within a year or two, but not perfume! So while you can say perfume has an amazing shelf life of around 8-10 years, that doesn’t mean you can leave it just about anywhere. When perfume is left in a place that has a lot of sunlight, this causes the perfume to oxidize, which sucks away its shelf life. So to maximize the life of your perfume keep it in a cool, dark, place. This will allow your perfume to retain its smell and color.

I know it might be hard to throw away makeup, especially ones that we haven’t used a lot or have grown attached to, but as heartbreaking to do, your skin will thank you for it.


Author: Clara Pettersen

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