Smudg Expert Shikha Parekh Lists Signs That Indicate Your Beauty Products Have Expired

Dried mascara, changed textures and rumbling eyeshadow are signs that your makeup has expired. In a perfect world, your favourite shades and skincare serums would last forever. But like food, makeup has an expiration date, and over time cosmetics can harbour harmful bacteria that can lead to very serious infections. Regardless of whether they’re brand new or on their last leg, beauty products do go bad. Even worse, they can cause skin and health problems if not disposed of at the proper time. So what’s the best way of figuring out the expiry period and what can you do to make your beauty products last longer?

1. What is the average shelf-life of skincare products?

Skincare products, in general, now fall into two categories: 1. Natural, Organic or Clean (devoid of preservatives) 2. Commercial (having chemicals) While commercial products come with a longer shelf-life, natural/ organic products that in general do not use preservatives, most definitely have a shorter shelf-life, especially if packaged in jars. They should be recycled and retired once they hit their expiration.

2. What is the average shelf-life of makeup products?

When it comes to makeup, shelf-life is different for different products and can also depend on usage and storage. Generally, opened liquids and creams expire faster since they facilitate bacteria growth. As a rule the more ‘wet’ a product, the more prone it is to bacteria growth and should be tossed out as it hits its expiry. Powders like blush or eye shadow last longer if they are stored and used properly. And using clean brushes is crucial here. This is also true for makeup which has organic ingredients.

3. Where on the bottle or packaging is the expiry mentioned?

Most commercially available products do and should have a number and a jar symbol on the packaging. It is usually printed on the bottom of the bottle or on the back of the label depending on different brands. Even the DTC or ‘home-grown’ brands that sell directly to the end consumer need to have this symbol. The number may read 6,12, 24 or 36, and this is the number of months your product is meant to last after it’s opened. For instance, if you see ‘24M’, the product is good for 24 months.

4. Can you use a product past its expiry if it was never opened?

Unopened products will last longer than opened products because they have less chance to be exposed to bacteria but can lose their potency and effectiveness or alter over time, which may be potentially harmful to your skin.  As a general rule, it’s best to avoid using products past their expiry.

5. What are some signs your makeup has gone bad?

General signs your products have gone bad are : – The product smells funny – The product doesn’t feel like it did when you first started using it – The product starts changing colour. This is true for products like SPFs, lipsticks, cream blushes – The product changes its texture or consistency – becomes either runny or too thick. This is true for products like serums, face oils, liquid foundations – Your skin suddenly and uncharacteristically starts reacting – burning sensation, redness, rashes or breakouts

6. Do certain formulas have a longer shelf-life than others?

Powders tend to collect fewer bacteria and last the longest. Liquid formulations are breeding ground for bacteria, especially if you are using unclean brushes or tools. They tend to go bad a lot faster. Oils, especially the organic or pure face oils are potent but fragile and can start reacting when they come in contact with air or direct sunlight.