Makeup Expiry Dates: everything you need to know!

Whether you are a makeup hoarder or someone who buys the bare minimum, you still care about what you are putting on your face! Most of us will have a trusted brand that we swear by, or a certain product that we repurchase because we know what makes our skin happy.

And rightly so! Over the last decade or so, more and more beauty gurus have become a dominating part of the online community, preaching how we should look after our skin and have a solid skincare routine.

So let’s be kinder to our skin than we already are. Here are my tips for how you can check you have healthy products in your makeup bag:


As simple as it sounds, checking the packaging is one of the easiest ways to find out about a makeup’s lifespan. On every product, you will find the PAO symbol- displayed by an open jar and number. This symbol shows you the Period-After-Opening period which identifies the lifespan of the product (in months). As a rule of thumb, mascaras for example last for 6 months; liquid products such as foundation or concealer typically have 12 months; and powered products have up to 2 years.

Just because a product claims to have X amount of months doesn’t mean it will. As a consumer it is important to be vigilant. With products such as mascara, using it could cause some serious health issues and that is really not what you want.

With powered products, you do have more flexibility however it is still important to throw it out even if a) it is still in date, or b) you have the slightest concern it has changed colour or smell. If you continue to apply this everyday, your skin will not be happy and you’ll certainly know about it.


PAO is all well and good if you remember to check when you open a product, but this can be easily forgotten. But never fear, there is a way to find out. On the packaging of each product there is always a batch number – all you have to do is type in online ( and it will tell you. From this you may be able to figure out when you fav lipgloss will need replacing.


Simply swatch it on the back of your hand and see if it causes any irritation or irregularities on your skin. If it does, it no longer should be in your collection. This also goes for seeing any changes in your skin day-to-day. If a continued use shows your skin reacting badly to a product, don’t ignore it. Your skin is speaking to you, so listen to it.


If all else fails, try giving it a smell or check for any change in colour. If it smells or looks a bit funky, it’s definitely time for you to part ways. So yes, it really is that simple.

It certainly is quite easy to forget to do these checks and a lot of us probably have the odd expired item hidden at the bottom of our makeup bags that is ready for the bin. But we cannot expect to have glowy beautiful skin by just having a thorough skincare routine. We must get into the habit of checking everything we put onto our skin to get the full effect.

Remember no makeup product is worth your skin suffering. Even if it is Fenty.

Words by Shannon Mountford. 

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