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Beauty Basics: How To Tell If Your Beauty Products Are Expired (and When To Throw Them Out)

By Cassidy Best | Nov 22, 2021
Beauty Basics: How To Tell If Your Beauty Products Are Expired (and When To Throw Them Out)

We all have that one product that we refuse to part with. Whether it’s the perfect shade of red lipstick that’s been used down to a mere nub, or the eyeshadow you’ve used down to the bottom of the pan, it breaks your heart to think about parting ways. Or, it may be a fully unused product that you’ve been saving for the perfect occasion! But that “perfect” product could be harboring some yucky bacteria that can cause infections. Yeah, not so perfect. Just like the food in your fridge, your beauty products have an expiration date. Are you using products past their prime? Read on to find out when to keep and when to toss.

How Long Have You REALLY Had That?

Be honest with yourself: Has that palette been in your bag for a couple months, or a couple years? Most products have a shelf life after opening of two years at maximum, but many need to be thrown out much earlier.

For example, you should toss your mascara every three months. This is especially important, as you don’t want to risk bacteria spreading so close to your eyes. Make sure you’re honest about how long you’ve had your products, and be okay with throwing them out. Check out this chart and blog post for specifics on when to throw out and replace each specific product.

Treat Your Vanity Like Your Fridge

Have you ever pulled out an old carton of milk, and immediately known it was time to throw it out? What was off about it? Probably the texture, the smell, and maybe even the color. Same goes for your beauty products. If you open your favorite moisturizer (the one you save for special occasions), and it smells even a little different than you remember, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Or if you’re trying to apply eyeliner and it keeps clumping and won’t apply smoothly, toss it. Trust your five senses: they will tell you if your products have seen their last days.

Separation, White Spots, and Film… Oh My!

If your makeup or skincare products start to develop any of these things, you should toss them out immediately. If you notice a formula has started to separate (i.e. your foundation seems to have multiple layers now), and you give it a good shake and it doesn’t come back together, it’s gone bad. Or if your eyeshadow now has a weird chalky film over the top or suddenly has white spots peppering the pans, get rid of it. These products have definitely seen well past their end date. Don’t ignore the signs!

Trust Your Instincts

All in all, trust your instinct! If the product isn’t working the way it used to, throw it out. If it smells funny or the texture is off, toss it too. If it doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not. Don’t over complicate it, but do keep your skin clean and healthy by keeping an eye on the expiration date.

Any questions? DM us at @wander_beauty!