How To Know If You’ve Been Using Expired Beauty Products

Anything that you put on your skin, goes into your body. With that being said, should you risk putting ingredients that have expired on your skin and potentially poison you? I don’t think so.

Here’s how to know how long beauty products should last:


You want to make sure you’re not smearing something that’s gone funky and cause you breakouts. Plus, putting on expired products on your ten step routing is a major waste of time. Here’s what you should do:

‘Period After Opening’ (the little tub-and-lid symbol that has a 6M or 12M, for example, printed inside it): “Most products on the market have a shelf life of over 30 months when left UNopened.” The 6 or 12 indicate it’s safe to use for that number of months AFTER opening.

‘Best Before Date’ (hourglass symbol with a date stamped nearby): “This is when the product should be used before. It’s required for a product that has an UNopened shelf life of under 30 months”.

How do I keep it in good shape?

“They don’t take into consideration how you store the product once you bring them home,” says Dr Stefanie Williams, founder and Medical Director at top London clinic Eudelo.

“The storage conditions very much influence how long a skincare item is good for.”

This means taking them out of your bathroom (the humidity and constant changes in temperature play havoc on formulas) and off of your windowsill (direct sunlight does the same thing).

Tips and tricks:

  • “Label your product with the date of opening” suggests Dr Stefanie “as time goes quicker than you think!”. Trying keeping a Sharpie with your products to mark the date you pop their cherry.
  • If a product comes in a jar or pot, use a spatula or cotton bud to scoop it out instead of your grubby little fingers.
  • If something stings or tingles (but never used to), wipe it straight off and bin it.
  • If the colour has changed, bin it “especially with vitamin based serums, which have a tendency to go brownish” says Tarmey.
  • If something has changed in smell (“sniff for a rancid, sickly-sweet or foul smell” suggests Dr Stefanie) guess what? THROW IT IN THE BIN.


How do I know if my makeup has gone off?

Because the texture of makeup is so important to its effectivity, it’s actually pretty easy to tell, by sight and feel, whether they’re better off in the trash can.

“It’s fairly obvious,” says Mary Greenwell (supremo makeup artist of the Laura Mercier Celebrity Makeup Artist Collective UK) “mascara will clog and pencils will dry out”.

When you see those changes, it’s time to trash. And not just because they’ll apply badly, but because they’ll fill with bacteria over time. “Adhere to any sell-by dates and chuck them if they look a bit dodgy. I would never risk damage to the skin” says’ Greenwell.

Tips and tricks:

  • Change mascara and pencils every few months, or when it clogs or dries.
  • Liquid foundations should last for around a year.
  • Powders can last for years “unless they get a greasy film” says Mary, “that means they’ve been contaminated with another product.
  • Regularly cleaning brushes will help stop bacteria transfer and prolong the life of the makeup you’re sweeping them in.
  • Wipe your lipstick with a tissue after each use to prevent bacteria building up. If it’s dragging or clumping on your lips it’s possibly dried out.
Source: Glamour
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