Friday, January 27th, 2012

Choose or Lose


Do you follow makeup expiration guidelines?

  • Sometimes -- on some items! (59%, 2,555 Votes)
  • Never! (38%, 1,619 Votes)
  • Yes, to a T! (2%, 106 Votes)
  • Other -- I'll tell you in the comments! (1%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,298

Feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comment section! :)

Thanks to Rabia for today’s poll!

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

45 thoughts on “Do you follow makeup expiration guidelines?

  1. Mary H

    Mascaras absolutely! Pressed eye shadows not so much.

  2. I almost never toss powder products for hygenic reasons because it doesn’t harbor bacteria. I toss my mascara every 3-4 months though! Most liquidy/cream products I toss when it changes consistency or smells/looks different. I usually don’t follow the exact expiration guidelines though

  3. Avatar of Lize Lize

    I stop using the products if their consistency changes or it starts to smell weird or something but I never throw anything away because you’re ‘supposed to’ after like 3 or 6 months ;P

  4. I throw out things if A) The texture has changed, B) It’s such a terrible product I wouldn’t give it away or C) It smells funky!

    I try to keep my makeup very clean; I wash my brushes regularly, sharpen my pencils and sanitize my lipsticks once in a while. Only clean fingers or brushes touch cream products. I keep in mind how old my products are, then watch out for funky smells and change in textures.

    I admit I’ve been guilty for keeping mascaras for 6months to a year (I only have 2-3 open at one time) but they do get thrown out if they dry out before that (ahem…Dior!). My oldest foundation is 18 months old (MUFE HD) but it comes in a pump and I hardly use it, smells fine and texture is the same. Lipglosses smaell TERRIBLE when they expire (usually between the 1 to 2 year mark) so I have only one. I throw away lipstick if it starts to smell like crayons or the texture changes. If a lipstick has lost its scent I don’t throw it out (but doesn’t smell like crayons) because I don’t consider that going bad and it’s still creamy usually. I’ve seen, smelled and swatched really expired lipsticks (ahem….mother!); they smell like crayons and they drag on the skin when swatched usually.

    My makeup collection is only about 3 years old (at maximum) so I don’t have terribly expired makeup. :P

    • Sahuna

      Just wondering, how do you sanitize your lipstick? …I should probably do that too!

      • Miss J

        Sorry to put my big butt in ;), but you can sanitize by dipping the lipstick in isopropyl alcohol and then wiping it off with a tissue. Or you can use a spray bottle and spritz the lipstick with the isopropyl alcohol.

  5. I’ll admit, I’m not so great at this. But I have been working on it, especially with mascara. I really don’t want to end up with a nasty eye infection.

    I don’t really pay attention to the dates on eyeshadow or lipstick.

    • Avatar of Sarah Sarah

      I used to keep mascaras for a loooong time (not so much any more – always something new I want to try!) and never got an eye infection. The only mascara I’ve had an eye infection from was from a brand that don’t seal their products and someone had obviously been near it before I bought it. Was. Not. Pretty. Lesson learned.

      Anything else though… Just when it starts to look/smell funny.

  6. Charlotte

    Only mascara to an extent. When a product isn’t performing as well anymore or has a funky smell/texture I toss it.

  7. Yes I follow the guidelines appart for powder products, that I keep forever.

  8. nah, if it doesn’t look or smell funny, I’ll continue to use.

  9. Miss J

    With some items, I definitely do follow expiration guidelines. If it’s a liquid/cream/gel going product for use on or near my eyes then I do follow guidelines pretty strictly. I do hate throwing away product, but my eyes are easily irritated and are prone to issues, so I don’t take chances. I am less concerned about throwing away liquid/cream/gel face products if it’s just a little over expiration. Say I have a liquid foundation in a bottle with a pump and it’s good for 12-24months, I wouldn’t be so worried to continue using it for a bit if it was kept in a cool, dry place. With powder products, like eyeshadow and blush, I won’t throw away because I feel like it doesn’t harbor as much bacteria and it can have the top layer scraped as well as be sanitized. I throw away lip gloss when it starts to lose smell or smell bad and/or looks gross. With lipstick, I dip in alcohol. I throw lip stuff away only if it’s been a REALLY long time or it’s gone nasty. I guess I just try to use common sense, and use expiration as a guideline, but not as stringent rules.

  10. Avatar of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    Very strictly with mascara, but to be honest I don’t even know the expiration dates for anything else. I throw things away when they change smell and texture.

  11. SassyFlowerhole

    Most people probably use their cosmetics way past expiration because most are not labeled with a date! This is because if a product will last more than 30 months it does not require an expiration date!! How are we supposed to tell (aside from unpleasant smell or texture) unless we mark items ourselves or have good memories?

    This website http://checkcosmetic.net/ uses product batch codes to determine the estimated expiration date!! It has been very useful to me so I thought I would share ; )

  12. Georgia

    No, unless the item smells or the consistency changes, I see no need. Hell, my special occasion blush is an EsteƩ Lauder my mom bought when she worked there 30-odd years ago! she bought 5 before she quit and this is the last one. Still get compliments every time I wear it!

    • Brittany

      I definitely believe that! Estee Lauder’s powder products are ‘space age’ in a sense – I’ve never had a problem with any over time. They’ll last years and years, and will never change performance wise.

      I go through mascaras so quickly that I finish them before the ‘time limit’ anyway, and the same with liquid eyeliners. I keep my pencils sharpened. I’ll throw away a lipstick if the smell changes. When it comes to any powders though, I keep them until they change in someway – with better quality powders, I don’t tend to have many issues.

  13. If I noticed any signs it’s changed, I’ll toss it. Otherwise, no. Except mascara, but I really wonder how big a problem that is. If we’re really supposed to toss it every three months, why has no company (that I know of) started offering 2-3 small bottles for the price of one big one, so you have the same amount of mascara, but can toss the bottles on a schedule?

  14. Avatar of Dinitchka Dinitchka

    I have some products that do have expire dates on them. For instance some of my Michael Todd products.

    I will throw out an item only if, it smells off (for instance lip gloss will tend to do that), changes texture (for instance mascara), separates (for instance liquid foundation) or no longer works like it originally did (for instance cream/gel eyeliner/shadow).

    I’m OCD about germs but I think if a product is handled hygienically then no issues should arise. I don’t always follow the 3 month mascara rule but to be honest by the 3rd month, most of the time my mascara is clumpy and no longer working as it should. I currently don’t have that issue as I am using up my sample mascaras, which typically last about a month anyway.

  15. Liz

    I don’t get rid of powder eyeshadows, and face powder I use to fast for it to expire. I generally watch expiration dates on things like foundations, face masks and cremes because my skin is sensitive.

  16. Avatar of Kate Kate & Zena

    Mascara, yes. My eyes are hypersensitive and suffer from huge allergies. I generally use up my daily foundation and lipglosses before time is up (my special occasion one is sealed very tightly and I’m a lipgloss fiend.) Everything powder I don’t really follow the guidelines.

    For my creams and everything else, if it changes consistencies, smell changes or something else, it’s tossed.

    Nail Polish…no. Man invented nail polish thinner for a reason.

  17. Avatar of Danielle Danielle

    I just throw out masacara. As for foundation and powder i normally used them up before the expiration date comes.

  18. Avatar of Alex Alexandria

    Depends.

    For myself? I don’t really toss anything, not even mascara unless it starts to smell funny.

    I sanitize -everything- even shadows every time after I use/swatch them. Eyeliners after I use them, lipsticks, lipglosses, cream colour bases, blushers- everything. How varies, mascara once a week, if not more often, gets chucked inside of the freezer over night. It kills the bacteria and then doesn’t change the mascaras texture. Everything else is either with beauty so clean or isopropyl alcohol that is 90%+.

    But as for mascara that I use on other people, I cut the wands they come with out of them and use disposables, I follow guidelines with those.

    I’ve never had a problem with my any eye infections or anything though.

  19. Maureen

    I toss it when it starts to stink. End of story.

  20. Avatar of Laia Laia

    If it looks or smells funny, then I toss it. Apart from a cream foundation by Skeyndor that started to look VERY ugly, I never really thrown anything into the bin unless it was over. So yes, I still use lippies I started using when I was 17 (and I am 24!) and they still perform well, no problems, no itching, no allergic reactions… nothing, so I keep on wearing them. :)

  21. Emma

    I never follow them!! If a mascara expires in 6 months and after 6 months, I still have half of it left, I’m not throwing it out!!

  22. Triana

    If it smells weard I wont put it on my face I dont care is brand new… but usualy if it has more than 6 months and is liquid or creamy for me is bad…but shadows and blushers puff I have a few oldies.

  23. Cat

    I toss products when I think it is bad. For products I do not use, I normally toss them in the fridge. Same goes for skincare.

  24. Avatar of Shelly shelly

    Personally, I’ve begun to think that makeup expiration dates are largely bogus and used as a way to keep us buying more. That said, the only product I even follow expirations remotely rigidly on is mascara.

  25. Avatar of Maja Maya

    I am only extremely strict with mascara, which I throw away/replace exactly every three months. I’ll try to save nail polishes with thinner, but if it’s still a weird consistency after that, I’ll throw it away. I keep my makeup very clean and am extremely careful about germs, so for all other products, I just monitor consistency/smell/texture.

  26. Avatar of Liz Liz

    Aside from mascara, I only toss if the product changes texture/smells funny/etc – which is pretty much never, since I mostly use powder products. For mascara, I diligently threw them out every three months for a year and a half, but then the cost started adding up and I stopped. The mascara I’m using now, I’ve had for about half a year, and the texture/everything is absolutely fine (and I’ve never had any sort of eye irritation from it), so I’m wondering if I was just being overly-paranoid before.

  27. nana k

    on sunscreens and mascaras, I very strictly follow the expiration dates.

  28. Avril

    Nope, not unless it’s noticeably off, and I’ve literally never had that occur.

    I am, however, really good about keeping things sterile, cleaning products regularly, avoiding contamination into tubes/pots, etc. Those don’t really apply to glosses or mascara, but i seem to get by.

  29. Anne Sophie

    I strictly respect the 3 to 6 months mascara “rule” because eye health is a priority for me… I respect dates for day and night cream also. I keep my eyeshadows and blushes since they’re sanitized once a week. For pencils, face powders and eyeliner I change them when their texture changes.

    And just a word about people not caring about mascara expiration dates, I’ve work in the cosmetic industry for 5 years now and I SWEAR I see and hear about eye infections (caused by expirated mascara) every month. This is NOT a legend, this is real. And you can’t replace your eyes so be careful ladies!!

  30. Avatar of Alejandra Ale

    I just keep products unless they look, feel or smell suspicious. Usually you can tell if a product went bad =).

  31. Jen

    No, not really unless it smells really off/doesn’t work like its supposed to anymore. But I do care about mascara expiring, but since I don’t use mascara, I don’t have to think about it.

  32. Carmel

    Only mascara, really, which I change every 3-4 months. Everything else I get rid of when it starts smelling weird, which has happened to some of my skincare products, but no makeup yet. I use one of the MAC cream concealers that comes in a little pot. It lasts forever, and that’s about how long I’ve been sticking my finger into it every day. I feel super gross and remorseful, but haven’t had any actual problems yet. Fingers crossed!

  33. Jazz

    Mascara-yep. I replace my mascara about every 6-8 weeks. Powder stuff : nope, unless Im not using it , then I toss it. Lippies- I use them up .

  34. Avatar of Laura Laura

    Mascaras do get chucked after a few months but theyre usually nearly finished or have gone a bit dry by then anyways. Foundation only gets chucked if its changed colour/texture or just doesnt perform the same anymore. Any powder products get kept. Powder doesnt seem to go off or change so I dont mind keeping those. But to be honest I dont keep a list of when I bought my makeup so I dont know when they are coming up to/have passed the expiry dates anyways!

  35. Avatar of Maggie Maggie

    I follow the mascara rule to a tee. Same with a lot of face creams. Powder formulas I also never throw out unless the texture somehow changes. If a product’s consistency, color, smell, or function changes, I toss.

  36. laura

    buuuahahaha i didnt even know there were expirations date on there. i always wondered and looked but never found a date soooo…i just toss stuff out when it doesnt work as well anymore, texture/look changes and so on…

  37. Avatar of Deb Deb

    Mascaras, yes. Lipgloss, sometimes. Nail polish and powder shadows, never.

  38. Lark

    Mascara. I try not to let it go forever and absolutely will NOT share it. One eye infection/ sty with a bald lid and you’d get religion on that too. The rest, I follow my nose. I try to follow sanitary pro guidelines but on some things it’s just tough. Fluidlines? Try not to let them be a Petrie dish but a really clean brush is important- Paint Pots too. No fingers!