What Happens When You Use Expired Makeup

Why You Shouldn't Use Expired Makeup, Using Expired Makeup

Good skin is the result of many factors including genetics and good habits. One thing that most people don't consider is that using expired makeup can lead to skin issues, breakouts and/or infections. Yes makeup does expire. As a general rule, mascara should be replaced every 3 months, eyeliner and eye shadows every 6 to 12 months, and lipstick every 1 and a half years. The average expiration date for most foundation, powder, and other facial makeup is 12 months. I get that when you spend a lot of money on a particular product, you want to finish it but if it's past it's prime, you're not doing yourself any favors by still trying to use it.

Bacteria Forms And Grows
From the moment you expose any makeup product to air, it’s becomes exposed to bacteria and that bacteria continues to grow over time and just because you don't see, doesn't mean it's not there. And anytime you go to dip your applicator into your makeup and apply it to your face, you’re spreading bacteria from your makeup to your face and the other way around. Over time the bacteria grows. The process keeps getting repeated... well you get the idea.

Makeup Does Breaks Down
Most of the makeup we use probably has some form of preservatives in it. This will help them last longer and fight bacteria from both air and applicators. Keep in mind that certain natural and clean makeup products may contain less or no preservatives so while they're probably better for your skin, they might also expire quicker. Preservatives or not, all makeup will break break down at some point especially if kept for years and won't work the way they're meant to. In some cases, they might start doing the opposite of what they're supposed to.

What Happens When Makeup Expires
Over time the consistency of most makeup products will change as the ingredients begin to corrode and oxidize. The texture and consistency can dry out and products from mascara to lipstick and foundation can become clumpy and application may not be as smooth. The efficacy of ingredients in makeup also becomes compromised which will alter the effectiveness of the product as well as the way it wears.

What Expired Makeup Does To Your Skin
If you find your skin flaring up for seemingly no reason especially when you haven't introduced any new skincare or changed your diet, take a look at your makeup. A breakdown of the ingredients in combination with the buildup of bacteria can lead to skin irritation resulting in any number of issues ranging from acne to dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin characterized by redness, bumps, rash and in some cases blisters and swelling. And then there are infections. I knew someone whose eye was swollen shut after contracting an infection from using 8 month old mascara.

Unopened Makeup Can Also Be Problematic
It may seem safe to keep unopened products for years but the same breakdown process will occur because of when it was manufactured and once the product is exposed to air the same expiration effects will take place. In some cases it is also possible for the preservatives start to break down and for certain ingredients to oxidize and degrade before you even open it. Something to keep in mind when it comes to stocking up on products like foundation and anything else other liquid or cream based.

Consider These Factors
Some makeup products cost good money and of course you want to get your money's worth and use them until they run out. Now it's fine of you want to ignore general rules of expiration but just make sure to use common sense and consider these factors. When your makeup changes in any of these ways, it’s a safe bet to toss it.

Does it smell off?
Is the color different?
Has the texture/consistency changed?
Is it separating?
Does it apply or feel different on your skin?

How To Safeguard Yourself
Watch how and where you store your makeup since heat and humidity can promote the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast. The bathroom which might be convenient wouldn't be an ideal location. Opt for somewhere cool and dry if possible. If using your hands for application, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry them before putting your fingers into a product. Use a cotton swab or disposable sponge when applying makeup to pimples and avoid double-dipping. If you get an eye infection or a cold sore, cease using all eye makeup and lip products. Lipsticks, lipliners, and eye pencils are okay but they should be shaved clean with a knife or sharpener to to avoid reinfection.

I'm not a fan of waiting until my makeup starts turning to toss it so I affix a a tiny sticker with the date whenever I start a new product just to give myself a little guideline. And this is a major reason I keep a tightly edited and streamlined makeup collection. Having less helps me to actually use up products before they expire. Be sure to check out my guide to makeup expiration dates. It's probably okay to use makeup a little past its prime but doing so repeatedly might be an issue. Be cautious and keep in mind that sometimes using expired makeup can do more harm than good. Serious skin and eye related problems are never worth it.


Ivana Split said...

That tip about sticking a little expiry sticker/reminded on the make up product is great. Thanks for sharing that, I will definitely start doing it myself and sticking it to all products so I know when I bought them. I don't use much make up so keeping track of expiry dates isn't that hard for me as it is relatively easy to remember when you bought something when you only keep a few make up products in rotation. However, I think that even a person who keeps a lot of make up can still keep track of it all if she/he is organized enough. It is all about knowing what you have and when you bought it. When my make up expires I sometimes use it for art (to be less wasteful) and sometimes I toss it away, but I always get rid of it asap because I don't like clutter in my bathroom (and I know bathroom is not the best place to keep make up, but I still haven't changed that bad habit). Typically my make up stash contains of only one brush, two lipsticks and lip pencils, two mascaras, two lip balms, one foundation, one eyebrow shadow and that's that. I think that's all I really need.

Great post! Many people spend a lot of money on make up and it makes sense that they want to get something back for their money, but make up does expire, and risking our skin health just isn't worth it.

R's Rue said...

Thank you for this post. It's so important.

Beauty Unearthly said...

Excellent post (as always)!Thank you very much :)

little luxury list said...

This is so so true! Thankfully I've been streamlining and throwing out makeup much more often. I especially can't imagine using something like expired makeup (ugh swollen eyes!)

Emmylou said...

Great post chock full of tips as always, chingu. I must admit...I'm more vigilant with skin care in terms of expiry dates and such than makeup, especially for eyeshadow powders. I will say though that for my pro makeup kit, I'm pretty vigilant about these things esp. foundations and mascaras!
Happy Monday:)

Carolyna's world said...

Such a great and important post- Yes sometimes we forget that we shouldn't keep our make-ups cosmetics for so long cause it's damage for our skin.

Jenny said...

I definitely need to do a better job with keeping tabs on my makeup expiration dates. I tend to be more lenient with powder products, but with mascara and foundation I do toss after a while, especially if I've noticed a chance to the consistency.

♥︎ Geeky Posh

Hena Tayeb said...

These are some really great points.. thanks for sharing


Pilar said...

These are great tips Rowena! Expired makeup can harbor so much bacteria. Thanks for sharing!

Oh to Be a Muse said...

Thanks so much for these amazing tips, girl. I don't use expired makeup but that's because I get a lot of makeup for free so as soon as something is old, I just use a new unopened one. But I will be sure to look at the dates of the products that I have unopened.


iamperlita said...

This was a much-needed post for me! I am terrible at keeping track of expiration dates on my beauty products. Thank you so much for sharing this! Enjoy your week!
PerlaGiselle | iamperlita.com

Paola Lauretano said...

Thanks for sharing this post... it's very helpful!
Kisses, Paola.


Valerie said...

This is such a great post with really important information! I'm always aware of making sure that I throw out expired makeup because it definitely is so bad for your skin. Thanks for sharing!


Jackie Harrison said...

I do not over buy for this reason. I like to keep a log when I open to get rid of it on time. Great informative post.

ALLIE NYC said...

Great post and so true! Much like clothing, accessories and furniture I am trying to me sustainable with buying makeup as well. In fact I have a big bag of old makeup that I collected (and nail polish ugh) that I do not know what to do with it. I feel guilty throwing it in the garbage.

If you happen to know how to recycle old makeup let me know.

Allie of

Carolina G. Ticala said...

Estupendo post! Me alegro verte por mi blog! Feliz fin de semana! 🙂🙂🙂

blushgarden said...

This is such an informative and important post! Thanks for sharing!

sonia // daring coco said...

Eeep. I am kinda guilty of this. Not so much with foundations but eye shadow definitely. I actually have a "signature" shade from Dior I've been using for over a decade now and it's a super old (actually only found out it's an old shade from the 80' and not late 90's hahahaha!). By that mean I have several compacts not that I've kept the same one for all those years hahahaha! I know it's bad but I've never had issues with pigments or quality so never really thought much to concern. I might need to rethink this all, but the shade is so nice and I haven't been able to find a dupe all these years since :o(


Professional Shears said...

Thanks Rowena for writing valuable information. Sometimes we do mistake and we also don't learn from that. Your piece is like a bell to be aware about cosmetics.


Keep writing :)

Mulher Nova Era said...

Realmente uma dica muito válida, normalmente prefiro comprar pouca maquiagem, até porque não costumo usar com frequência, e, agora com essa dica não vou comprar muita, apenas o essencial. Beijos flor