Make Up Expiration: When to Trash your Stash…

Makeup Expiration

As many of my already know, I’m a huge fan of having a damn good clear out so recently I decided to tackle my bulging cosmetic drawers as it was pretty apparently the contents were breeding at a rapid rate or I was turning into a drug store hoarder.

Needless to say my vanity area is looking much more presentable *click here* if you’d like to check out the post where I ramble all about it! However in the interim of sorting out my stash I was horrified at the amount of dried up, cracked, flaked & WELL beyond their expiry date items that I’ve been harbouring (for not just months) but years. That’s right ladies… YEARS! *hangs head in pitiful shame* Needless to say this kick started me into really taking note of cosmetic expiration dates – and how obliviously ignorant I’ve been towards them. It begs belief how many of us could be smearing our delicate faces in gloopy old glosses, manky mascaras and burnt-out blushes on a daily basis, without fully realising the dangers that lurk inside those pretty little tubes.

Although most products come with an expiry date printed on the packaging, some of us may already have products where the packing is worn or damaged making it difficult to judge how long to keep it or what warning signs to watch out for. Always check the labels for a PAO (period after opening) that’s usually a number followed by an M and opened jar symbol. This guides you to how many months the product can be used for after you first open it. Ultimately, though – if in doubt, throw it out. It’s never worth playing reaction-roulette with your delicate complexion.

So if like me you’re guilty of hanging on to your stash well beyond it’s death date then maybe it’s time you made yourself comfy whilst we chatter about when to responsibly bin the beauty goodies…



Shelf Life: Approximately 3 months for mascara and up to 6 months for liquid liner.

Warning Signs: If it’s beginning to show signs of clumpiness, flaking or omitting a strange whiff then it’s time to part ways & treat yourself to a brand new tube.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Always ensure you keep the lid tightly screwed on to avoid it drying out. Don’t be tempted to pump your brush (I’m often guilty of this) as this pushes airbourne bacteria straight into the tube creating a potentially eye-watering concoction of breeding baddies *urggh* Instead give it a swirl around the inside so your brush picks up the product without the need to pump!

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Shelf Life: 6-12 months.

Warning Signs: When the product has separated into layers, becomes lighter in colour or omits a strange/strong perfume aroma.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Buying foundation with a pump will help keep any bacteria from entering the chamber as will keeping the nib of your products clean and dry from remnants of old applications. Always remember to store out of sunlight as UV rays can destroy the preservatives that help keep your favourite foundation lasting longer!

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Shelf Life: 2 years for lipstick, 1 year for gloss.

Warning Signs: If you’ve noticed your lipstick has become cracked & dry or your gloss has gone extra gloopy.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Always clean your lip products after every application, and avoid using when battling a bout of the lurgies! Always keep the lids on tight and stored out of direct sunlight. Disposable applicators can be super helpful for keeping bacteria at bay, as is using a well sanitised lip brush instead of applying straight from the bullet!

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Shelf Life: 2 years.

Warning Signs: When the powder becomes flaky or feels different on the skin than when first purchased.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Thankfully powders are probably the hardiest products when it comes to preservation providing you look after them and keep everything as clean as possible. Always sanitise your brushes, particularly if you’re prone to breakouts or have very oily skin!

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Shelf Life: 2 years powder, 12 months cream shadow.

Warning Signs: When the powder becomes overly cakey or surprisingly flakey then it’s time to trash. Cream shadows often become dried up or difficult to evenly apply.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Always use a clean brush to apply shadows rather than smoothing or blending with a finger, particularly when it comes to cream shadows… I’m often tempted to blend & reapply using my pinky finger! Cotton buds can be super helpful and really effective when blending, they’ll also stop your brushes from becoming clogged up with sticky cream products.

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Shelf Life: 1 year.

Warning Signs: It’s time to bin if your pencil becomes dry, crumbly or brittle.

Top Tip for Longer Life Span: Always keep the top tightly secured on your pencils to avoid premature drying & contamination. Clean the nib on an antibacterial wipe after each application, don’t forget to clean your pencil sharpener too & ONLY use it for make up. Never be tempted to use a regular sharpener that’s been used on drawing or colouring pencils… seems obvious but it’s easily done when you’re in a rush!


DO: Wash your hands thoroughly BEFORE applying make-up.

DO: Clean your make-up bag or drawers regularly with antibacterial wipes.

DO: Store your products in a drawer set or cabinet away from sunlight.

DO: Ensure you abide by the PAO dates on your products to avoid infection or contamination of other products.

DO: Trash any products you may have used during an infection – relapse aint worth the risk ladies!

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DON’T: Share your products with others.

DON’T: ‘Pump’ your mascara – twirl it girl 😉

DON’T: Forget to keep your caps & lids clean at all times.

DON’T: Store your products in direct sunlight! Acrylic storage may look incredibly pretty but consider the longevity of your stash by investing in something that keeps it stored well out of daylight!

DON’T: Get lazy with your brushes… I know, I know,  it’s a chore but better off keeping them cleaned regularly than regretting a horrid bout of bacteria that could cause months of infectious issues!


Are you a self-confessed hoarder of beauty goodies well beyond their use by dates? or Are you super sharp when it comes to trashing your out-of-date stash? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below so do stop by and say a quick hello 🙂

Cheerio chums…

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59 thoughts on “Make Up Expiration: When to Trash your Stash…

  1. Such an awesome post. As I fellow hoarder, I hang on to some stuff way to long. Mascara’s are strangely the one thing I do toss at the proper rate, the rest though :S
    I have a proper clean and organizing campaign planned in the christmas holiday, this was a great reminder I should really toss out more stuff!
    xo Anne – Doves & Roses

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwh thank you chummy!!! Oh my this is where we differ (gee it’s not often that happens for sure) as I’m terrible with mascara – 3 months seems so short!!! lol
      I do love a good sort out and organisation – have lots of fun in your clear out, it feels amazing to start afresh 😀 XXXX

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally get you there Anne, I tend to stick to only keeping a couple of mascara on the go at once – one for everyday and one for weekend wear or when I want my lashes to look a little more dramatic 🙂 That way I get about 4/5 months before it begins to run out – before I’d have had a good 6/7 tubes open at once! Ridiculous!! XXXX

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am the worst for this! I have a couple of mascaras that probably should have been well thrown out by now! Oops! I will definitely need to give my makeup a clear out though cause I am running out of storage space, hoarder problems haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny, because I was just talking to my mother about shelf life of makeup products! You sure know a lot. This was very helpful
    And useful. I still keep my products even past their expiration date if they’re still good and they smell alright! 🙂 xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very helpful post! I’m guilty of keeping a lot of powder products past the recommended expiry – in my defense I am VERY careful with my stuff and don’t share with anyone. Liquid or gels I’m not strict – I don’t want to risk mascaras especially! And yes about not pumping the mascaras! Just twist the opposite way of the opening – it’s second nature to me now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks sooo much indeed lovely 🙂 Yep, I’m right there with you – unfortunately I found a disasterous amount of stuff during my clear out… horrendous the things I was holding onto for no reason at all lol Oh mascaras would be mega risky – anything would when you really think about it :-/ Very true re the mascara’s it’s amazing the amount of product you get by twisting it instead of pumping – makes so much more sense!! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, brill feedback XXXXXX

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am awful about clearing out my stash…I have some things that have been there years…and they are not going anywhere! Lol! I don’t pump my mascara but I do have pretty acrylic storage units that are going straight in the bin! Thanks for that tip. 🙂 As for my 25 mascaras…LOOK OVER THERE…*runs and hides them in a non-acrylic drawer*… 😉

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    • lol lol Oh Traci, your wee Tweet earlier made me giggle huni!!! 😀 Trust me I’m right there with you – if you’d have seen half of the stuff I threw out… shameful!!!! Oooooh noooo – I hope you’re not going too drastic with the drawers… oh you poor thing!!! See I knew there was a reason I was holding back on buying the acrylic lol But hey one good thing… at least you don’t pump your mascara wand!!!! lol lol XXXXXXXX

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahahaha! I am currently refusing to open my bedroom curtains should some light touch my makeup! And I am squirreling away my palettes in secret places…if they are out of sight the expiry date resets itself…right?! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL!!!! Oh dear…. sounds like you’re turning into something from the set of Twilight Tracie… poor thing!! lol I’m afraid those expiry dates are like the rest of us… ageing!!! However look on the bright side – it’s a good excuse to treat yourself to new ones right!? hehe 😀 XXXXX

        Liked by 1 person

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    • I was just talking to another blogger about this very thing Kathleen… some of the huuuuge YouTube celebs have incredibly amounts of makeup – how they could ever get through it is beyond me. Sometimes I do have to curtail myself but I’d rather get the money’s worth than ending up having to ditch half used products!! Thanks so much for stopping by lovely lady 🙂 Always nice to get a chatter with you ❤ XXX

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a hard time parting ways with old makeup but it must be done sometimes. I have a really bad habit of buying way more than I use in a certain amount of time. If it’s the hot new must have well I might have to have it. 😉 lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too Jen, I’m such a hoarder when it comes to hanging onto bits that are past their used by dates! But also like you I’m guilty of splurging a little too much at times… oddly enough this December I’ve held back and concentrated my spending on others instead lol But you’re right – it’s a beauty bloggers right to be testing the latest makeup must-haves… all in the name of research eh?! hehe xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m right there with ya Mil… if you’d have only seen the amount of stuff I cleared out – scary!!! Should’ve taken a picture of it on hindsight… and some of it I was still happily using lol lol Thankfully it hadn’t gotten to the ‘gross’ stage but more the ‘time to part ways’ stage 😀 XXXX

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Cyndel I SWEAR you’re not alone in thinking that… I remember years ago my gran actually telling me that makeup went off and I wasn’t sure if she was doting or not! lol Lately however it’s really been at the forefront of my mind especially after a huuuuge clearout and seeing the amount of waste I was harbouring – madness I tell you lol Well, hopefully you’ll get the chance to take a peek through your stash and catch any oldies before they turn really nasty lol xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this post Karen! I am guilty of not washing my makeup brushes often enough lol. I really should take the time soon to clean them lol. I guess I figure that I don’t put makeup on too often that I can go a little bit longer lol. Though it’s been way too long lately and I will try to get them washed this weekend. 😉 XXXXXXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Katie there are sooooo many out there the same… I think though my OCD really helps in this department as I seem to have a slight fear of bacteria lol Well, that’s true – if you’re not a heavy wearer of it then I guess the tools won’t get as caked like mine lol However if you find a spray cleaner like the one in my video this week do invest as it’s fantastic for just spraying and giving them a rub around some tissue – so easy and takes seconds I promise 🙂 XXXXX

      Liked by 1 person

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