Product Expiry Date Guide

posted in: Makeup 101, Skincare 101 0

Expiry date for cosmetics?

There are no regulations or requirements by law currently that require cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products!
So how do we determine when to throw out our stuff??


Cosmetic companies test the expiration date by testing their products through a series of stabilization tests:
– under extreme conditions of heat
– how effective the preservative added is over time
– how useful the packaging is in preventing contaminates (Jar vs pump/squeeze tube)
– patch testing on human volunteers!

Did you know…
– Expiration dates are simply “rules of thumb,” the product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if the product has not been properly stored. Consumers vary so much in their habits and sanitary environment that the expiry date is at best: an educated guess.
Ex: Cosmetics exposed to high temperatures or sunlight or opened and examined by consumers prior to final sale.

– Products stored under ideal conditions may be acceptable long after the expiration date has been reached as well.
Ex: Cool, dry places, always sanitized etc.

– There is usually an indication on the back of the product that states “M” for shelf life in months. Check your skincare products too!
Ex: 12M = 12 months/1 year

– Who remembers when they purchased their product?!
Next time, label your products so you have a general idea when it starts to lose it’s effectiveness and sanitary conditions. This will help alot!
Online there’s time strips you can also purchase here

Ways to Effectively Preserve Your Cosmetics

These are the things I have I personally use to keep my makeup fresh:

1. Cosmetic Sanitizing Wipes

Personal Mascara and Lipstick, Lipgloss

“When re-applying your lipstick or gloss after dining, food particles (and their bacteria) can get into your lip product and contaminate it. Lip-glosses with wand applicators are particularly risky; after application, bacteria from the lips can be pushed deep into the base, contaminating the entire product. The moisturizing agents and oils in lipstick formulations can be the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Using a Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipe on your lip-gloss wand or tube after each application will help prevent this contamination and ensures that they stay fresh and bacteria free.

Mascara wands hold mascara deep within the bristles, which can hold germs and bacteria that can cause an eye irritation or infection, and make application difficult. Wiping your mascara wand with a Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipe after each application will help prevent bacterial contamination of the entire base tube, and keep your applications clump-free!

How to sanitize makeup: Use one wipe to wrap around lip-gloss, lipstick or mascara wand. Gently wipe from base to tip.”

You can even use these on loose powders after you clean the surface of powder on the lid or sifter.

Buy it here

2. Sanitizing Mist

“Oils from your skin and skincare products ultimately wind up on the surfaces of your makeup, leaving bacteria behind – the results of this oil build-up (glazing) can be seen on this pressed powder:

BeautySoClean cannot eliminate the damage on this pressed powder; but daily use of Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist on new makeup will remove bacteria and keep your products looking new.

How to sanitize makeup: Hold Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist 6 inches / 15cm from product surface and mist once.”


Buy it here

3. Ultimate Sanitizing Brush Cleaner

Cinema Secrets Brush Cleanser
“Professional Brush Cleaner will clean, sanitize, deodorize and condition all make-up brushes. It kills viruses, bacteria and removes all traces of make-up, creams, waxes and powders. Environmentally safe and non-carcinogenic.”

The only brush cleaner that kills viruses. Most people only clean off bacteria because proper disinfectants are costly!

Buy it (US) at Cinema Secrets Store
Buy it (local Toronto, Canada) at Cosmetco

4. Disposable products

You can purchase disposable wands to dip into your mascara and wands you can dip into your lipgloss and then throw away to prevent re-dipping and contamination in the tube.
Think about how much bacteria you put into it everytime you dip it back in. Bacteria then multiplies overtime in the tube because it’s damp and moist from your saliva.

You can get it at your local beauty supply store or makeup store. Or you can purchase them anywhere online.

Buy it (INT’l) atCamera Ready Cosmetics Lip Wands and Camera Ready Cosmetics Mascara Wands.

Other tips

– Never share your makeup. Ever!
– Don’t blow on your brushes to get the powder off, just tap it.
– Wash your face, hands and brushes fully before applying your makeup

Timeline Guide – When to dispose!


If you follow all the tips above, your products should last significantly double the time it expires, or may even finish it all before it does!

Do dispose when anything starts to:
– Dry out (mascara, some foundations, pencils, lipstick)
– Settle and seperate (lipglosses, foundations with the exception of nail polish & silicone base products as it requires shaking)
– Smell changes, turns funky!
– Losing its consistency in effectiveness: could be pigment, adhering to skin in powders, etc.

If you haven’t followed the tips in wiping it clean etc.

There really is no universal time to throw it away but to get an idea on frequent use….

Mascara: 3 months or less
Foundation: 3-6 months
Lipstick: 1 year
Lipgloss: 6 months
Powders: 1-3 years
Mostly made of silicone primers: 2-3 years
Eye primers: 3-6 months
Eyeshadow: 6 months


General guideline unless stated on bottle….

Facial Cleansers & Moisturizers – 6 months
Facial Toners – 1 year
Natural Cosmetics – 6 months (“all-natural body washes”, etc.)
Among other cosmetics that are likely to have an unusually short shelf life are “all natural” products that contain plant-derived ingredients (which are conducive to bacterial growth), or products with no preservatives.

If you’re still not sure

Ask yourself:

– Does it appear to be still fresh and usable? not salvageable!
– If it’s been used a lot or quite old: is it worth continued use on risking an infection, break out or rash?

Now you should be a pro at keeping your cosmetics clean and prevent anything unnecessary 🙂

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