Friday, September 14th, 2012

Choose or Lose


Do you keep makeup past expiration dates?

  • Yes! (91%, 4,125 Votes)
  • No! (9%, 413 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,538

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57 thoughts on “Do you keep makeup past expiration dates?

  1. I don’t worry about “expiration dates” on makeup. I keep an eye on individual products, if something is going over, it gets tossed. Mascara is “supposed” to be thrown out after three months? Nonsense! As long as it isn’t dried out or has a change in scent or texture, I hang on to it. I have kept mascaras going for as long as a year and have never had an eye infection. I think that expiry dates and the three month rule are marketing gimmicks.

    • totally agree with this, i have literally had some of the same blushes and eyeshadows for like 10 years. not throwing them away when they are perfectly good.

      • mahima

        i so agree that the whole mascara time frame is a gimmick to get me to purchase more. luckily, since i put on mascara like a drag queen, it always runs out before then (i only use one at a time). two coats? never enough.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy xamyx

      They aren’t so much marketing gimmicks as they are a sort of “protection” to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, we live in an extremely litigious society where there are *some* who will sue for every little thing, even if it’s their fault. These are merely guidelines that, no matter how bad ones hygiene practices may be, the products shouldn’t cause an adverse reaction in a specific time frame.

      Personally, I *always* use clean brushes & disposable applicators, and keep my stash in a cool, dry space, both which prolong their integrity. That said, if the texture, smell, or integrity change, I toss it.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laura LauraR.

    It depends on the type of product. Skin care, foundation, or liquid products no. Mascara, I toss it when it gets flaky or too dry (which is usually in 2 months). Eyeliners, Powders, Lipstick, and wax based products, absolutely…no reason to toss them. Most are inorganic and don’t have bacterial growth or they have waxes that preserve them well. I use clean brushes too which I wash with anti-bacterial soap. I’ve never had an old powder give me a reaction…they might get hard though which is when I toss them (that takes quite a while). Lipglosses it just depends. I keep it until I can’t remember when I bought it or if the texture or smell is off.

  3. I don’t really worry about eyeshadows and powder based stuff, but I do get sort of an allergy/eye infection when my mascaras get old. I usually just toss the mascaras, and sometimes concealers if their consistency changed. Although I have noticed that old lipglosses tend to get really sticky or their consistency gets weird as time passes.

  4. Yep, though I go by smell. If it smells bad, it gets tossed.

  5. Nicoco Chanel

    Yes! I don’t find that I get any adverse reactions keeping things longer than I should, usually. If they start having noticeable changes, smell etc, then I will.

    Besides, I always forget how long I’ve had products.

  6. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Dee GUSnail

    I’m not big on throwing stuff out. I usually only have one mascara going at a time, so I finish it up before it goes bad. I keep an eye (or nose rather) on my foundations and cream based products, but I haven’t had any issues so far.

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of TA K

    no, i only toss makeup when they’ve gone bad (like when mascaras get gloopy or dry).

    i find myself also keeping an eye on my cream based products because i feel like they “trap” dirt? i don’t know, maybe it’s just me!

    but liquid/powder foundation i keep and use it all up. why throw them when they’re totally sanitary and won’t go bad?
    don’t waste your money!!

  8. Sabrina

    I will keep makeup till I think it needs chucking. I think the three month thing with mascara is false though as most mascara packaging (same with most makeup) has a small image of a container with ‘6M’ or ’12M’ or whatever on it, so mascara expires after 6 months. Most foundations say they expire after a year but I think it’s fine to keep using it if the packaging’s nice and sanitary, like if you haven’t had your fingers in the product. And I know they’re cream products so more likely to attract germs but I will keep my lipsticks till they run out :)

  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jax Jax

    With everyone else, if a product has gone funky I chuck it.

    I did just throw out a load of cheep eyeliners because they looked weird but if I’d used them more they might have been in better shape, and they were bad quality anyway. I will replace with much better guided by Christine of course :-)

  10. I don’t really use those “dates” when it comes to my makeup. I throw away anything that starts to smell bad and/or changes texture a little too much. Maybe a colour change as well, but I haven’t really had that happening.

    With mascara’s I usually throw them away after 3 to 4 months. After that they usually start getting too dry for my liking, and are often almost finished anyways… (I only really use one mascara at a time.)
    If i feel they start to irritate my eyes i also throw them away, though if that happens it’s usually around the 4th month.

  11. yes i keep my makeup longer, i see no point in throwing something out if there’s nothing wrong with it just because of a little number on the package. i just throw something that’s gone bad like in smells weird or has changed in consistency. i’ve had one of my mascaras for over a year now and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and i’ve never had an eye infection!

  12. Dinitchka

    I don’t follow expiration dates on anything. My only give on that is: Does it smell bad … TOSS! Had it changed colours? TOSS! Does it not work as well as it once did or has dried up? TOSS!

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Lauren Lauren

    I’d be in trouble if I could only keep eyeshadow for a year. I have SO much eyeshadow and I love to use different stuff and acquire new. So there’s no way I could use it all up in a year. I mean, seriously – does anyone REALLY throw out eyeshadow after a year of use?

  14. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Tuss Tuss

    My mother worked for a company that got all teh makeupz in to the country and then sold it to the make up stores… I’m no expert, but I know that she got alot of free makeup, testers etc. This was 7 years ago or more, and there are still powder products I still use with no problem. I am hesistant to cream products though, as there will be more bacteria growing in creams…

  15. I trow it out once it goes bad. The only thing I a stickler for is potted product you stick a want/brush back into it. Mascara I usually chuck at the end of 3 months.

  16. The poll doesn’t work…

  17. becca

    I don’t pay much attention to expiration dates. If it looks or smells funny I toss it.

  18. Lisa

    I’ve always kept things until they smelled bad. My dermatologist even says the expiration dates are ridiculous lol.

  19. MizLottie

    What’s an expiration date? ;-) I go by smell.

  20. beachgal

    Many if not most don’t have exp dates in them. I know they say toss mascara after 2 months – since I don’t wear it but maybe once a week if that, a tube lasts me until it dries up. I do toss them usually after a yr or if I find a better formula. Other things I toss when not using them or they smell funny.

  21. The only expiration date I pay attention to is mascara, which I replace every 3 months. I will throw something out if it smells bad or doesn’t work very well anymore.

  22. I’m pretty sure most of my makeup collection is completely untouched and if any of it has expired… I wouldn’t know. But the very few products I keep in my rotation are still in excellent condition – no funny smells or color changes.

  23. Do they have expiration dates on the actual product or box? I didn’t think they did. All I remember is once someone told me that you’re supposed to get ride of your mascara after 3 months. I don’t get rid of any of my makeup until it’s gone!

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Rebecca Rebecca

      A lot of the time there will be a little symbol that looks like a jar with a cap partially off somewhere on the product or box (usually near the ingredients) on the jar it will say the recommended time to keep the product after opening!

    • Nicoco Chanel

      There’s a little container print on most make up with 3M/6M/12M etc on it. That tells you how long you’ve got until it theoretically expires.

      I think Lush is an exception though – the colour supplement I have has a proper expiry date.

    • Dinitchka

      The Michael Todd products I have, have actual expiration dates on the products. Currently I am using Sea Tone – Mineral Body Butter (it’s so lush!!) and it has the small ‘open jar with lid off’ symbol and the ‘jar’ itself says ’12 M’ … it’s on the back of the product along with the recycle symbol and animal testing bunny symbol.

  24. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Melissa Melissa

    It depends on the product. Liquid eyeliners and mascara I toss after 3 months. I’ve had bad reactions to liquid liners I’ve used not paying attention that they were past the expiration date. Everything else I usually go by smell, color, etc.

  25. Like many others, I go by smell/colour. I’ve had mascaras honestly for about two years. They rarely get used (the mascara in question is a Lancome blue) and I’ve only used it maybe three or four times. Unless it starts to smell odd or the consistency changes, i’ll keep it. A few of my MAC lipglasses have started to smell plasticy – I probably should get rid, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away :P If my skin reacts, it’s my fault! I’ve only ever thrown away one product after it had “gone off” and that was a Sleek gel liner – it dried up and was totally unusable.

  26. Avril

    Yes, but I’m really good about sterilizing everything that can be sterilized.

  27. Espe

    Makeup usually goes bad because of bacteria. I sanitize my own personal stash about every two weeks now. It used to be a lot longer, but my immune system has issues. The makeup in my kit is sanitized before and after a client. BeautySoClean and 91% alcohol are standard in my kit.

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    With the exception of mascara, absolutely! I have so much makeup I could wear something different every day of the year and never run out. I don’t use too many perishables, I hardly ever wear lipstick or gloss anymore, and daily use of lip balm runs out before its expiration date anyway.

  29. Espe

    I forgot to mention, sanitizing your makeup makes it last longer than what the expiration date suggests.

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Veronica Veronica

    Nope. Though I generally limit how much mascara/foundation/etc. that I have on hand, I’ve never actually had a bad experience with expiration issues. If it looks or smells odd or has been sitting in a drawer for way too long, I’d toss it, but to date, I’ve only done that with a few products. Mascara is probably the one thing to pay attention to the most, so I limit how much I own to avoid waste.

  31. Sanguine13

    I only toss cosmetics when I notice the scent or texture changes. If you store your make-up properly (cool, dry place, keep the lids tightly screwed on, sharpen pencils regularly, ect.) then it should keep for a long time.

  32. ElvenEyes

    I make sure I toss out eyeliner and mascara at 3 months, earlier if I have had allergy or colds. Eyeshadow depends on how much it gets used and dipped into…those get tossed quicker than ones I only use occasionally. Blush and bronzers (powder) I keep for years until I feel they are ready to be tossed or look/smell off. Lipsticks according to scent and dryness. Cream products get tossed sooner than others, foundation gets used up before expiration dates as I only keep 3 or 4 maximum, concealer within a year.

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Karla karla

    Yea, its usually on the box, or on the product if they dont come in a box. Its a picture of a small open round container and it will say 6M or 12M ect. (so they recommend it will last 6 or 12 months)

  34. blueraccoon

    I go by scent/texture – if it’s funky, it goes. But I am a bit wary of mascara, because I don’t want to risk getting an eye infection.

  35. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Pamela Pamela

    I spend waaaay too much on my MAC (and other brands) to have to replenish every few months. I will sanitize the oft used with rubbing alcohol. The only cosmetic item I am diligent about is mascara. For those, I buy drugstore brands so it doesn’t hurt my wallet as much.

  36. zainab

    Mascaras I toss when they dry out, which is usually after a couple of months, ditto nail polish though I don’t wear it anymore. Otherwise I only throw things away if they’ve junk I don’t use, or if they’re not looking so good anymore (glosses contaminated with lipstick etc). I never share makeup and I try and buy products that don’t need you to dip your fingers in them.

    I used to have a cream foundation that was in a pot and I applied it with my fingers (after washing them of course), but I think it still gave me a breakout at the end, so I tossed it well before the expiry… I don’t think it’s expiration dates so much as how you use/store the product.

  37. Ana

    Of course I keep them… Throw a mascara or liner every three months is wayyy too exagerated if you don’t have an eye infection… it will be ok!!! Don’t get caught by consumerism and really try to use all up, at least one or couple of shadows (like black, brown or highlight colors) shadows, mascara, liner, foundation. Keep a minimal amount or sharpen them often. I kept a mascara until it dryed up and nothing happened to me in fact what caused an eye infection on me was dust (I’m allergic and I can’t stand contact lenses) not really makeup…. Of course if you are a makeup artist you have to sanitize everything.

  38. I only throw things away if the scent, texture, or taste (if it’s a lip product) changes, or if it’s something I’m never going to use again, OR if it is something that is like… 10 years old! Haha, not a great policy, maybe, but I’ve never had problems with old make up causing any ill-effects if it looked, smelled, and behaved ok. That being said, I do swatch and examine old products very closely before I use them if it’s been awhile, and as soon as something seems “off”, I am very good about tossing them and not risking it. Likewise, if I have anything out of the ordinary going on with my eyes (watering extra, or soreness) I stop using eyeliner and mascara so as not to contaminate them or irritate my eye further. That being said, I have kept very old things that I know I can’t use on my face “for old time’s sake” and sometimes I’ll pull them out just to look at the case or to swatch them.

  39. Lisa J

    I don’t pay too much attention to expiration dates since I’m not a makeup artist and I don’t share my makeup with people. Mascara and lipgloss tend to turn rather quickly in my experience so I’m pretty diligent about tossing those and keeping only a few around at a time. Other products however are perfectly fine in my opinion. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to using clean brushes and tools, so things like eyeshadows, powders, pigments, etc I keep until I use them up. Some of my Mac eyeshadows and pigments I’ve had for 5+ years and they’re perfectly fine! I tend to use foundations with pumps or squeeze tubes, so a little on the back of my hand doesn’t contaminate the entire product. Lipsticks are easy to clean with a bit of alcohol. Once something changes color or smell or just simply starts to look a bit odd, in the bin it goes! ;)

  40. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of aak3 aak3

    I keep all skin care & makeup that im not presently using in quality freezer bags, then sort them in larger freezer bags. I have a closet in my home that is like a dry cave (laugh!) That always stays 68*. I’ve kept products for 10 years this way without quality decreasing. I also never leave applicators, brushes, or puffs in same cosmetic container, because they absorb moisture thus breaking down & drying product out. Also wipe product with alcohol if you have used it. I only buy high end & natural products. Hope this helps.

  41. Adele

    Definitely! I’m a supporter of the “get rid of it when the smell/texture/taste/color is off (unless it is mascara, in which case follow the expiration date)” approach, since I’ve had plenty of products work just fine years after they were supposed to expire. I’m sure it’s there just to cover the company’s ass in case something does happen — like how some types of food are just fine days or even weeks or months after they “expire”, and while you shouldn’t drink that smelly milk, you can definitely use that year-old yeast as long as it still does its job.

  42. Oh wow over 90% said yes! I didn’t expect that.

    P.S.: I’m part of those 90% too, lol.

  43. cncx

    Like a lot of people who already commented, the only things i toss within expiration dates are lipgloss and mascara, but i will run over a little bit if i have kept it stored well or not used it enough (evidently what ruins lipgloss and mascara is the air that comes in when you take the wand in and out and not so much the wand). For my powder products, i store them well and only use clean brushes. I have some five year old powders that are only now starting to show a change in quality.

  44. lily

    I *never* keep liquid and cream makeup past the expiration date, or mascara. Never ever! But everything else…..pffff…looks good to me! I keep all my makeup clean, dry and organized in a neat 5 drawer thingy, and I clean my brushes at least once a week, and never dip a dirty brush into a different makeup item. I know that powder makeup can be kept the longest, they usually last 2 years but I know that some items (like the UD naked palette) have a ridiculous 6M or 12M expiration date.

  45. If you don’t look, it can’t hurt you ;0) Mascara usually lasts a couple of months for me and then starts to get clumpy so I toss. Anything else, if it changes texture, dries out, starts to separate or smells funky it gets tossed in the bin.

  46. Georgia

    So my mum worked for Lauder about 35 years ago. I still use a blush she bought then almost every day, and the texture is better and it wears longer than most of my new blushes. It smells totally normal and is the most perfect shade ever. She bought about 10 of them before she quit and this is the last one. But yeah, I keep things til the texture/smell/something is off.

  47. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Catherine Bethany

    As long as the scent and texture haven’t changed, it’s game on!

  48. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jeanine Jeanine

    I’m a firm believer that expiration dates were invented by marketing departments. If they can get you to throw out a perfectly good product and replace it with a new one, they’ve created a new market need and increased their sales. If a product looks, smells (tastes) and performs as its supposed to, it stays in my stash. Even some of my favorites mascaras only begin to reach their best texture when they are about 3 months old. Good cosmetic hygiene is a must! This philosophy applies to make up only — my skincare items are fresh!

  49. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Yanna Yanna

    I use up all my personal makeup way too fast to even go past an expiration date. I sometimes redo my makeup 2-3 times a day if I work then go out. I don’t like to keep the same makeup on all day. And I don’t waste a lot of product either. So I never really worry about my makeup going bad. But the makeup in my kit, I usually put little date stickers on them to keep track of when it was first opened. Don’t want to use old yucky stuff on clients.