What is the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics?

What is the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics

Have you ever wondered why your favourite cosmetics do not work again after some time? Do you even know that your cosmetics have a shelf life? If you don’t, here is a simple fact!

You must know they are not designed to last forever. They have their life span, which is often regarded as shelf life. Your cosmetics’ shelf life is the extent of time deemed fit for a product to be at its best. So when your products ineffective, it might just be the shelf life.

For this reason, this article has been compiled to show you all you need to know about the shelf life of your cosmetics. Let’s dive in!

Why the Shelf Life is Important?

Shelf life varies from one product to another. It also depends on the brand and the active ingredients present in the products. Shelf life helps to ascertain the level of integrity of the active ingredients at a specified time. For instance, when you open your products, there is a high tendency to become exposed to air, leading to bacteria buildup in the products, destabilizing the active ingredients. Hence, the need for shelf life.

Continuous use of the products after the shelf life puts you at risk of developing skin-related infections. Products such as eye products can cause itchiness, redness, and swelling of the eyes and might even result in an eye infection. Therefore, there is a need to know the shelf life of each cosmetics you use. 

How to Check the Shelf Life of Cosmetics?

One of the major kinds of cosmetics that most people are quite conversant with is makeup. With this in mind, you need to know how you would check for its shelf life.

Makeup loses its quality with time, and then it might pose a threat to your skin, especially the face. Hazards such as breakouts, chronic acne, contact dermatitis are quite common. You might be looking for means to treat these infections, but do you have any idea about the expiration date of your products. You definitely need to know about this!

The most basic thing you should do is get your cosmetic packages and look thoroughly at the pack. Most products do have a small symbol that tells you how long you have to use the product. This symbol is often regarded as the Period After Opening (PAO), which indicates the number of months it is safe to use. It is often written as an “M”, preceded by the number of months. 

Furthermore, if you do not have the package any longer or perhaps it does not have a symbol, you can check the smell of the cosmetics; if it smells, then it is expired. Likewise, the colour of the product after it has expired is also a way to check and lastly, the texture of the products. If any of this is compromised, you need to throw the product away.

What Is the Shelf Life of Cosmetics?

All cosmetics have their expiration date, which must be known before the date of expiration. As a rule, liquids and cream have shorter shelf life while dry products have a longer shelf life. Here is a glance at some of your “must-use” cosmetics product

1. Skincare Products

Skincare Products vary widely in terms of their expiration date or shelf life. Cleansers do have a minimum of six months before they get expired. Creams can use up to two years, depending on how packaged they are. Some creams are packed in tubes, while some are packed in a cup-like container.

Lotions or creams in tubes have a longer shelf life than the cup-like ones. This is because the cup-like creams have a larger surface area that can make them quite vulnerable to bacteria’s growth and proliferation when exposed to the air. Cup-like creams have a shelf life of six to nine months. Products with many active ingredients such as serums, retinoids lack affinity for oxygen and have a shelf life of 9 months. Sunscreen does have a shelf life of 1 year.

For moisturizer, the period after opening could be about 6 months and a maximum of 2 years, depending on how it is packaged and brand.

2. Mascara

Mascara is one of the cosmetics that has a shorter shelf life. They have a shelf life of about three months to six months. This is because they dry out quickly, and because they are applied to the eyes, they might get in contact with moisture from the eyes, which can reduce its shelf life altogether. 

3. Lip Products

Likewise, lip products have the period after opening symbol. They can use up to a year before they finally expire. Lipsticks, lip gloss, and lip liners vary in their ingredient makeup, and therefore, they could have a different shelf life. 

4. Eyeliners

The shelf life of eyeliners depends on the brand and the type. As you know that there are different eyeliners out there, there is liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliners, gel liners, and so on. Liquid eyeliner has a shelf life of three to six months. Pencil eyeliners, gel liners could last for about one year.

5. Powder Products

Powder products do have a longer shelf life than any other cosmetics. Products such as eye shadow, setting powder, bronzer, blush generally last for about 2 years, thanks to their dry nature. 

6. Foundations and Concealer

They can last for six months if used appropriately.

7. Perfumes

They can last up to about five years if used appropriately.

8. Makeup Brushes

They can be used for a long time as well. Although they should be properly washed after use to prevent the accumulation of bacteria

9. Nail Polish

They do have a long shelf life too. They can use up to 2 years before expiring, depending on the usage routine. 

10. Hair Products

Your hair products also come with their shelf life. Shampoos, conditioners can last for about one to two years. It is best to dispose them immediately it exceeds this timeline.

How Do Cosmetics Appear After Their Shelf Life Is Attained?

Nothing produced by man is expected to last forever. As such, cosmetics take a whole new appearance once their shelf life is reached. Most products have general characteristics of change in colour, production of awful smell, change in texture, and change inconsistency.

For instance, mascara could lose its texture and produce an awful smell. It might become crumbly and very dry. Eyeliner could also produce smell and dryness. There might be a separation of components such as oils in foundations and concealer. Haircare products could smell pretty bad and might lose their effectiveness. 

When all this is observed in your cosmetics, then they need to be thrown away as much as possible to prevent you from having infections.

When Should You Throw Them Away?

When you observed that your cosmetics are not as good as they use to be. You have noticed changes in their physical appearances, or they have lost their efficiency and effectiveness, then it is time for them to be tossed away. However, it should be noted that most expiry dates are average estimations. This means that some products might still prove worthy even after they have expired. However, this depends on how you use them. 

Furthermore, if you come down with infections such as skin infection like acne, dermatitis, or eye infection, then you need to throw those products away.

What About Products You Have Not Used?

You might as well be considering throwing away products that haven’t been opened before and whose expiration dates are either not clearly stated or exceeded. Well, you do not have to throw them away.

During the production stage of most products, quality control that included stability tests is usually performed to ensure that products in their unopened state do have some years ahead for their use.

Since they have not been exposed to air, and have not become contaminated by it, they are still safe to use over some time. Therefore, your unused and unopened products can still be used after some time.

How Can You Extend the Shelf Life of Your Cosmetics?

It is possible to extend the shelf life of your cosmetics products, including your skincare products. Here are some steps to follow.

  • Products must be stored in a cool or dry place. Exposure to the sun should be avoided at all times
  • Using gloves to have bacteria-free products
  • Avoid storing your products in humid areas
  • “Sharing is caring” does not work with cosmetics!


You need to be aware of all your products’ shelf life – makeup and skincare products so that you are not posed to any of the dangerous threats they can cause. Remember to check the packages for the expiration date and period after opening the symbol. Also, observe the physical changes of your products; in case there is a change, toss them away fast and store your products in a cool, dry place at all times.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top