When Does Makeup Expire And For How Long Should You Keep Them?


In the spirit of Chinese New Year and the accompanying customary (and mundane) act of spring cleaning, I decided to start a new year on a clean slate by firstly, throwing out makeup products that have too ancient of a purchase date.

Actually, I cannot remember the date of purchase for ANY of my products. When I initially started on my little makeup escapade – that would later culminate into this crazy  obsession – I resolved to writing the date of purchase on each and every product. With constant contact, the ink  smudged – permanent ink or not – and sometimes it was really hard to find a spot to write on.

Then I changed to writing on white stickers but that made the product look really ugly. So I tried writing clear tape with permanent marker. That was the stupidest idea as the ink faded and all that was left was the clear tape. Maybe I used lousy tape, or lousy marker. Lol.

From then on, I simply relied on memory, which essentially means nothing at all since I have so many products it’s impossible to keep track. While the occasional clean-up to get rid of old products helps in ensuring you don’t use products for longer than you ought to, here are some ‘rules of thumb’ that we can all find useful in getting the most out of our products.

Period-After-Opening Symbol

You know that little jar with a number and an ‘M’? 6M means 6 months, and it indicates the recommended duration of use after you’ve first opened it.


Use The Look-Smell-Feel Approach

If the product doesn’t have a Period-After-Opening symbol, exercise the look-smell-free approach. It is high time to throw it out when there’s a change in color or texture, smells funny or different from before, or feels drier or oilier on the skin.


Mascara should be the easiest to gauge whether it has gone bad. Once it starts to dry up or flakes more than it did when it was at its prime, I toss it out. I once used a mascara for longer than was safe and it irritated my eyes so much I count my blessings for not getting any serious infection.

Then again, I honestly don’t follow the general rule of ‘throw out mascara after 3 months of opening’ rule. I mean, who throws out a mascara every 3 months!? That’s not only really wasteful and costly, I believe a mascara can function just as well even after 6 months. Just don’t go beyond a year. >.<”

It is best to exercise the look-smell-feel approach. If it smells funny or looks really weird in texture (maybe it became watery or looks murky), trust your instincts and give it up. And of course, if it causes any negative reaction, throw it away immediately.