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Makeup and Cosmetics Have Expiration Dates: Shelf Life For Your Skin

posted in Cosmetic Dermatology, Skin Care

Just like food, makeup has an expiration date. But it’s important to know that the FDA doesn’t require cosmetic companies to provide those expiration dates to their consumers. Some cosmetics do have the month, date, and year printed on the package, jar or container, while others have symbols, such as “12M” which means it has a life of one year after its been open and should be thrown out. It needs to be thrown out too or you run the risk of harboring bacteria inside the containers and transferring them to your face, ultimately leading to infection. The risks increase significantly when makeup is shared among friends.
Here are a few throwaway dates to keep in mind (some vary depending upon specific products, this reference is just a general guide:

  • Powders & Shadows: 2 years
  • Cream Shadows: 12 to 18 months
  • Foundation: 12 months
  • Lipstick & Lip-liner: 12 months
  • Mascara & Eyeliners: 3 to 6 months
  • Makeup Brushes: Cleanly weekly using mild detergent
  • Makeup Sponges: Replace each week


If you don’t remember or aren’t sure if your particular type of makeup is ready for the can, watch for specific throwaway signs. The obvious signs are weird smells or separating formulas, and if ever you mix up your makeup or share it with a friend, it should be thrown out. It’s just not worth the risk of contracting anything, especially on the face and so close to delicate eyes. Try to store your makeup in a cool, dry place, like the fridge, and especially try to keep the caps placed back on correctly and tightly sealed.

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