An Insight Into Makeup Expiration Dates

I’m a makeup hoarder. Plain and simple.

However, when it comes to cosmetics and expiration dates, I make an exception to my hoarding and be sure to toss any products which have gotten old or unsafe to use.

How can you tell when it’s time to say Sayonara to a product? According to Cosmetic Chemist Jim Hammer, here’s what to look for:

Mascara is the number one item which expires the fastest. Hammer recommends getting rid of mascara after three months. Believe me, this is the one you want to pay the most attention to. Old mascara can cause a plethora of problems, including but not limited to, conjunctivitis aka PINK EYE.

I got conjuntivits by using an old tester when I worked for Estee Lauder. My Counter Mate, Mrs. Barbara, warned me not to but I did it anyway. PINK EYE. That’s what happened. Let me repeat…pink eye.

Lipsticks last one year. One good way to tell if your lipstick needs the boot is to smell it. If it smells like old play-doh or clay, chunk it. It will also have a really gross texture. Again, like modeling clay.

Nail polish lasts for a year after opening it, according to Hammer. Once it starts looking clumpy and thick, it’s time for it to go bye-bye.

Moisturizers and serums: Six months to a year depending on the brand and the type. A good way to tell if it’s gone bad is the smell. Believe me, it will smell rancid. Moisturizers will also separate, meaning when you open the jar it will be gooey with a thin layer of liquid on top. Serums will harden and clump and be lumpy as opposed to silky and smooth.

Hairspray can last two to three years. If it clogs easily and smells gross, get rid of it.

Shampoo: one year after opening, Hammer says.

Makeup Sponges: Honestly, I change these every month and wash them weekly. These are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria according to Hammer, and I can’t agree more. Same goes for micro-needle rollers and other face sponges, brushes, etc. Wash them weekly. If you can and want to wash them daily, go for it.

Brushes can last you a year or two. Sponges and Beauty Blenders depend on the brand and makeup. I say replace anything foam or sponge based monthly. is the premier online cosmetics shopping portal for Pakistan. features top brands such as MUA, MAC, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Color Studio, NYX, Wet ‘N Wild, Rimmel, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Burt’s Bees, Garnier, ELF and more.

For those shopping for cosmetic needs online in Pakistan, is proud to offer our customers the option of placing special orders. Please visit the special orders tab on for more information.

Reference: “When To Throw Out Your Beauty Products” by Alexandra Tunnell for Harper’s Bazaar. October 29, 2014.

Kat Dickerson
loves blogging about beauty and skincare.
Kat Dickerson

Kat Dickerson

loves blogging about beauty and skincare.

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