How Long Will Beauty Products Be Unusable After Being Opened?

How Long Will Beauty Products Be Unusable After Being Opened

Sometimes you purchase beauty products and end up not using them for a long time. Possibly because they did not work as well as you expected or you just have so many products to choose from. 

In this article, you will find out if you can use a product after it has expired and how to know when a product is old or expired. We will also discuss when you can toss your beauty products, how long you can use each product, and how to prolong your beauty product’s life.

Do Beauty Products Expire? 

All skincare products have their shelf life. Shelf-life refers to the time an unopened product that has been properly stored can retain its quality. This should not be mistaken for the expiry date. However, once you open up a product, the expiration date starts counting. 

This means your beauty products will eventually go bad. You have to be aware of how long your beauty products can last after you have opened them. Although, using old or expired beauty products might not be life-threatening. However, using them might not bode well for your skin. The active ingredients might have degraded, and chances are it will not do a proper job. It may also cause blemishes or irritate your skin. 

Some factors contribute to how long your beauty product will last after you have opened them. Some of these include: how they are stored, the expiry date of the product, exposure to air and bacteria. 

How to Know When a Product Will Go Bad?

Most beauty products have expiry dates stamped on them. You should look at the package to know the exact date. For instance, if you see EXP: 03-2021 on a product, it means the product is good until March 2021 (Note: Some companies use BB, which means Best Before). 

Some products might not come with an expiry date. In this case, look out for the POA (Period After Opening). The POA is the time your beauty product can retain its quality after being opened. Usually, you can find this on the package written on a symbol that looks like an open jar. The number of months the beauty product can be used after being opened is written on this symbol.

12 M written on a package means that the product will be good for up to 12 months after being opened. 

Most products do come with an expiration date and a POA. However, if none of this is available on the product, look out for a batch code. This code can be used to obtain information about the product from this website: 

When to Throw Away Beauty Products?

Beauty products are made in such a way that you would finish them long before their expiry date if you use them as prescribed.

There is no use hanging on to an already expired product. However, you might be tempted to keep using the product probably because it still looks okay, and you don’t want to waste it. This is not a good idea; if it is expired, toss it. 

If you want to be sure that your beauty product has gone bad, here are some signs to look out for.

  • A change in Color 
  • Bad smell
  • Change in texture 
  • Separated product
  • Noticeable mold spots 

Some products tend to change color after some months of usage, especially products that require dipping fingers in them. If you notice a color change, it is time to toss that particular product. 

Your fingers carry bacteria that can contaminate your beauty products and make them lose their integrity. It can start degrading from thick and creamy to thin and watery. A product having a different texture from when you bought it has probably gone bad. 

Once you notice your product is smelling funny or has a different color, it might be time for you to toss it.  

Most organic products do not include preservatives and might have a short shelf life. You should pay close attention to these products and use them as quickly as possible. 

For How Long Can You Use A Beauty Product?

Most cosmetic products have a shelf life of about 3 – 5 years while unopened and properly stored. Your beauty products, however, might have varying lasting period. 

In this section, you will find out how long each beauty product lasts and when it is time to toss it. 

1. Face Cleanser

This is one product you use regularly. Face cleansers can last up to a year. They always have POA stamped on them by the manufacturer, so make sure you take note of this when you start using your cleanser. 

It might also come with an expiry date; dispose of the cleanser if this day has passed. You should also observe the color and texture of this product during use. If you notice any discoloration or a change in texture, it is time to throw it away. 

2. Toner

Face toners can last between 10 to 12 months after being opened. They can easily be contaminated by bacteria because they are water-based products. This can make it go bad faster.

Using bad or expired toner can irritate your skin or make it dry up. Throw out toner once you notice it smells funny and has changed color. 

3. Vitamin C Serum 

Depending on the type of serum you are using, it can last up to a year. If your serum contains 3-0 Ethyl ascorbic acid, it could last for up to 15 months. However, if it contains ascorbic acid, you should not use it for more than a year. 

Pay attention to the color of your serum, once you notice it turning brown, it is time to throw it out. 

4. Eye Cream

The packaging your eye cream comes in will determine how long the product will last. Eye cream usually lasts up to a year. However, if it is in a jar package, it can get contaminated by bacteria and go bad faster. Store jars in the refrigerator to make them last longer. 

Dispose of the eye cream after the expiry date or when you notice coloration in the product. 

5. Shampoo

This is one product that can last a long time. They can last some years, provided they are tightly sealed after use and properly kept. Make sure the shampoo does not get diluted with water. 

To know if your shampoo has gone bad, a change in texture and smell is what to look out for. Throw it out when you notice a difference in these physical characteristics.

6. Moisturizer 

Just like eye-creams, moisturizers last longer depending on the package. A moisturizer that comes in a tube can last up to 12 – 15 months, while one that is stored in a jar can last up to 12 months. 

Take note of the texture; if you notice a reduction in its thickness, it is probably time to throw it away. 

7. Sunscreen 

You should not use your sunscreen for more than 3 years. Although if you use the product as recommended, it should not last this long. However, if you notice a change in the consistency of the products or a difference in color, it is time for you to toss it. 

8. Face oil

Face oil can last up to a year before going bad. Throw it away if it is past the expiry date. The smell is what you take note of in this product. If you sense a different smell, throw it out.

9. Foundation 

You can use this product between 6 – 12 months, depending on the type you are using. Liquid foundation can last a lot longer for up to 12 months, while the cream-based might not last as long. This is due to contamination by bacteria from dipping your fingers in it.

It is time to throw it out when it starts having a different smell or a color change.  

10. Mascara 

Mascara can last between 3 – 6 months, after which it’s not advisable to keep it around. It dries out fast, so it might lose some of its efficiency even before it expires. Throw out when you notice it dried up or has reached its expiry date. 

11. Blush 

It can last up to 15 months or longer if it is not broken. Blush can dry out fast from consistent use, but if you notice a color change or it starts to smell, you should consider throwing it in the garbage.

12. Lipstick/Lip Gloss

Lipstick has a shelf life of about a year, while lip gloss lasts more than 15 months. If you constantly use one, consider changing it after 12 months. You know its time to toss it out when it starts changing color or has dried up. 

How Do You Make Beauty Products Last Longer?

It is possible to prolong the usage of your beauty products. They are products you use almost every day; paying attention to how you handle them can make them last longer. Try doing the following:

  • Make sure you store your beauty products in a cool and dry place. They don’t always belong in the shower. 
  • Your hands might have bacteria, so make sure you wash them before using your products
  • Always tighten the caps when you are done using them
  • Get rid of expired products and toss out any other product you noticed has gone bad. 


You should take note of the POA of a product before throwing away the package. You can write it down somewhere so you can keep track of how long to use the product. Try not to use a product after its expiry date as it can cause skin problems. 

Beauty products are made as such for you to use them up long before their expiry date. Avoid buying products you do not need, and do not open a product unless you want to start using it. 

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