The Beauty Expiration Date Reference Guide

The Beauty Expiration Date Reference Guide

Yes its true, all good things must come to an end – even your beauty products. The "life" of your products depend on several factors such as  ingredients, packaging, and your personal application technique, however FDA has created industry guidelines to help you determine when it is time for you to toss old expired products Even better, brands provide you with the period after opening date for each of their products (thank you!).

Yet, the challenge is remembering those dates and creating a system that is convenient (shameless plug: hello Well-Kept Beauty!). Below, is a quick tip care guide to help keep your makeup, skincare products, and skin working and looking at their very best – free from breakouts, infections, and uneven makeup application.

Remember, because different brands may have different expiration dates for the same product type you will want to check the packaging or bottle to know when a particular item needs to go.


  • Shelf-Life – 2 – 3 Months
  • Ingredient Facts & Tips
  • Some products contain water and others do not  –  mascara and liquid liner need to be replaced more often than powder shadows as they contain water.
  • Waxed-based eyeliners can last longer than liquid liners, which are more prone to bacteria. Regularly sharpen your liner after each use to reveal fresh new product.
  • Keep in mind that bacteria have a tendency to spread quicker in these products, so its best not to share them to avoid eye infection.
  • Packaging, Usage, & Care Tips
  • Pumping your tube of mascara in an effort to have more product on the wand will dry it out faster and increase bacteria.
  • Shadow powders should remain in a tightly sealed container away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration.
  • Twist-up eyeliners help keep the product protected from bacteria, however over time and regular contact with your skin and hands increases their exposure to bacteria. A regularly sharpened wax-based eyeliner pencil and a clean applicator go a long way in keeping your products performing.



  • Shelf-Life – 6 – 12 Months
  • Ingredient Facts & Tips
  • Products like foundation and concealers with zero water content often pose little risk of bacterial contamination, however be mindful when uses your fingers and placing them on the bottle opening as dirt from your hands can spread bacteria.
  • A funny smell is a good indication that your products has gone bad; normally a funny smell also comes with the products drying out.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in consistency and distribution of color as these are signs that your product has gone bad.
  • Packaging, Usage, & Care Tips
  • One-way applicators and tubes can prolong the life of your foundation as less air is entering into the container and affecting the formulation or from your fingers spreading bacteria.
  • Brush-tip concealers and foundation pens use synthetic brush hair that is antimicrobial which do not allow any product back in, possibility leading to a longer lifespan.
  • Although some manufactures anticipate the use of you using sponges, fingers, and brushes and adjust formulas to be more resistant to microbes – it’s always best to make sure to wash your sponges and brushes on a regular basis to prevent cross-contamination.


  • Shelf-Life –  6 Months – 1 Year
  • Ingredient Facts & Tips
  • Products and makeup that are “preservative-free” often attract bacteria sooner than those with preservatives, which can prolong shelf life, so be vigilant about replacing those on a regular basis.
  • Products with water as one of the first ingredients and “all natural”products are typically contaminated sooner.
  • Ingredients like vitamin C and retinal will degrade in the sunlight, so it is best to store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Packaging, Usage, & Care Tips
  • Products with one-way pump or have tube packaging have a longer shelf life than jars, which often become contaminated quicker when using your fingers for application so try your best to not throw out or loss the little spatula that comes with the jars of cream.


  • Shelf-Life – 1 – 2 Years
  • Ingredient Facts & Tips
  • Most lipsticks are formulated without water and bacteria love to grow in this type of environment. Pay close attention to a lipstick’s smell, coloring, and consistency – a waxing application feel means its long past its prime and usefulness.
  • Since lip glosses require you to pump the wand, air is let in and increases bacteria and you should replace your lip glosses more often than your lipstick.
  • Packaging, Usage, & Care Tips
  • Tube lipsticks are an industry standard and have the longest shelf life.
  • To help keep the surface of your lipstick free from bacteria, wipe off the top layer after a few application or every application.
  • Lip gloss packaged in tubes with a wand or pots shouldn’t stay around in your make-up bag for a long period of time.
  • Lipsticks and glosses will be exposed to bacteria from your lips and fingers so be sure to keep a look-out for smell and application ease.


  • If you’re storing your make-up and skincare products in the bathroom, make sure they’re placed away from the shower and open toilet especially when flushing.
  • If you can’t remember when you bought/first opened something, it’s best to toss it.


  • FDA, Cosmetics
  • CosmeticsInfo
  • Image: Unknown