Shelf Life of Beauty Products

Posted By: at 4:43 PM, Sunday, November 27, 2011 ▸
For this weekend, I decided to clean up my pile of cosmetics and beauty products seeing as the year's about to end (I'm freakin' excited for Christmas!!!)... Now, after cleaning it all up, I suddenly remembered some of my friends who told me that they got their stash of make-up from their moms... And uhh... that somehow bothered me because I remembered one friend saying that it's his mom's "collection" for years. TAKE NOTE: YEARS.

It's no news that every woman will have their own set of makeup which they refer to as their 'rarely' used bunch—which is like code name for 'never used' (unless they finally learn how to mix up that eyeshadow palette for their eyes). So naturally those are left there (to rot, LOL) until 80% of it would have already expired by the time that they remember that they still exist.

It's important therefore to know the shelf life of your beauty products so that you'd know when to throw them out because if you continue to use them, your skin may get infected, get irritations, etc. So anyway...! I decided to help you guys out! I'm giving away few tips on how to find out the expiration date, or if there's none indicated on the bottle—the estimated shelf life, etc. etc. READ ON!

Rules of Expiration

Shelf life of beauty products decrease greatly when they are exposed to light and air; and also when they come in contact with your skin because the oils and bacteria from your fingertips aid in making your product lose its potency/effectiveness. So as a reminder:
  1.  It's a big NO-NO if you share your products with someone else because it puts your product at greater risk for contamination; thus reducing its shelf life.
  2. It's best to store your make-up in a cool or dry spot.
    COOL SPOT: I often keep my skin care products (lotion, moisturizer, etc) in the refrigerator, I researched before that it helps prolong the shelf life. What's more is that when I apply the solution to my skin, it has a very cooling effect! (Research the products that you CAN store in the refrigerator because of course, not ALL kinds of beauty products can be stuffed up in there.)
    DRY SPOT: I don't think it's advisable to put your makeup (powder form, etc.) in the fridge; so store them in a place that, one (1), isn't your bathroom and, two (2), is away from direct heat/sunlight.
  3. Keep the lids tight.
  4. As much as possible, refrain from using your fingertips on your beauty products; use instead any applicators such as sponge, brush, etc. If you have to use your hands, do wash it thoroughly.
  5. When buying a beauty product, it's better to go for those in tubes/pumps/(and the like) rather than jars because there's less contact of the formula to your skin.

How to know the Expiration Date

  • It's indicated in the bottle. LOL.
    Uhm... Duhhh... Haha! This is certainly common sense BUT often times, you wouldn't find it. Lipsticks for one often don't have it indicated on the tube, which then brings us into finding instead the...
  • PAO (Period After Opening) Symbol.

    This will tell you as to how long the product can be used after opening. The image shows 12M, meaning that your product will be good up to only 12 months after first use. BUT THEN AGAIN not all products have this symbol on them! So now, we have no indication of an expiry date, and then not even a PAO symbol! What to do???? We....
  • Try to Know the Estimates!
    Read down:


  • Shelf Life
    It is the term during which the beauty product is at its best 'quality/effectiveness' time frame.
    (Using Day 1 as the manufacturing date). So simply put, use this knowledge when you're about to shop for new stock of cosmetics.
  • Estimate POA
    Period of how long you can use the product after opening it for the first time.

Cosmetics Description
BLUSH (Also bronzer, etc.)
Powder Form:
Shelf Life = 2 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 2 years
Warning Signs = Change in texture, it becomes so hard it won't budge, change in color

Cream Form:
Shelf Life =1 year
Estimate POA = Toss after 6 months (or 1 year)
Warning Signs = Change in texture, dryness, change in color
Cream and Liquid Form:
Shelf Life = 1 year
Estimate POA = Can last up to a year
Warning Signs = Color starts to shift, thickening/lumpy, oil separates from product

Powder and Stick Form:
Shelf Life = 2 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 2 years
Warning Signs = Color starts to shift, thickening, can't cover well anymore
Cream Form:
Shelf Life = 1 year
Estimate POA = Can last up to 6-12 months
Warning Signs = Dryness, change in color and texture

Powder Form
Shelf Life = 2-5 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 1 year
Warning Signs = Texture changes when applying, dryness, change in color

Liquid Form:
Shelf Life = 2 years
Estimate POA =Can last up to 3 months
Warning Signs = Change in odor, texture, color, dryness

Pencil Form:
Shelf Life = 3 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 1 to 1.5 years
*Sharpen it regularly!
Warning Signs = White film starts to develop on the tip that can't be sharpened off
Shelf Life = 2 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 1.5 years
*Sharpen it regularly!
Warning Signs = Can't apply well anymore
Shelf Life = (FOR ALL TYPES OF FOUNDATION) 2 years

Estimate POA (see below)
Liquid Form: Can last up to 6-12 months
Warning Signs = Off smell, thickening

Oil-based: Can last up to 18 months
Oil-free: Can last up to 12 months
Water-based: Can last up to 6-12 months
Warning Signs = Off smell, change in color, dryness 

Powder Form (Face Powder): Can last up to 2 years
Warning Signs = Off smell, change in color and texture, shiny layer on top
Shelf Life = 2 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 2 years
                    = 6 months only when used everyday
Warning Signs = Change in odor, texture, color
Shelf Life = 4 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 1-2 years
                    = 6 to 12 months only when used everyday
*Store in refrigerator to last longer!
Warning Signs = Off smell, gets hard, can't spread pigment on lips, has water beads

Lip Gloss/Chapsticks:
Shelf Life = 4 years
Estimate POA = Can last up to 2 years
Warning Signs = Off smell, feel streaky and globby
Shelf Life = 1 year
Estimate POA = Can last up to 3-6 month
                    = 1-2 months only when used everyday
*Refrain from pumping it in-and-out; it can reduce the life span and effectiveness
Warning Signs = Gasoline-like smell, change in texture

  • General rule: Makeup only lasts (shelf life) to a maximum of 3 years
  • Better to opt for cosmetics that are in powder form rather than those in cream form (as you can see, powders have longer shelf life) 
Beauty Products Description (Estimate POA Only)
Wash regularly with mild detergent mixed with olive oil.
*It is best to wash if not daily, then weekly especially if your skin is prone to acne.
Warning Signs = Bristles start to fray or fall
→ Can last up to 2 years
Warning Signs = Depends: it can become sticky/claggy or dry up
Moisturizers, etc.
Creams in a Jar: Can last up to 6-9 months
Creams from a Pump: Can last up to 1 year

Anti-Aging Formulas: Can last up to 3 months
*Easily oxidized

Shaving creams: Can last up to 2 years
*Easily oxidized
Warning Signs = Change in color, consistency, and smell
Shampoo, Conditioner,
Soap, Styling, etc.

→ Can last up to 3 to 4 years
Warning Signs = Change in color, consistency, and smell
In Pumps: Can last up to 2-3 years
Warning Signs = Turns runny, smells odd, change in color
→ Can last up to 1 year
Warning Signs = Becomes thick and clumpy, pigments settling below the bottle
→ Can last up to 2-3 years (or sometimes, even longer)
Best to keep it in a cool place (not your fridge), away from sunlight!
Warning Signs = Depends. Smell can become weaker or stronger. May smell like alcohol.
Dispose after 6 or so shaves
Cheap Makeup Sponge: Dispose after two uses
                                 (front side and back side)

High-Quality Makeup Sponge: Dispose after 1-2 months
*Wash it regularly; if not daily, then weekly
→ Can last up to 1 year
Warning Signs = Turns from white to yellow, smells like medicine, change in texture (runny)

  • Take note that when you buy beauty products that are labeled as all natural, their estimate POA or shelf life will be generally SHORTER due to the fact that natural products commonly use plant-derived substances which may be conducive for microbial growth; hence, higher risk of contamination.
  • Basically... when to know if your beauty products have gone bad? Use your common sense
» » Personally, I label my beauty products with a marker showing the expiration date from the time I opened it up. I advise that you develop this habit as well so that it can save you from the trouble.

...And that's about it!
If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me (comment below this post or go here [ click ] for my contact form). Or you know, save yourself the hassle and just ask good ol' Google. Thanks! 

SOURCES: Cosmopolitan PH Magazine,,,, and own knowledge.
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"I am Aileen" : Shelf Life of Beauty Products


# | Cat Triviño said...

Thanks for this Aileen! :) I'll keep you posted when I feature this! :) Bookmarked as well.

# | Aileen A. said...

Thank you as well! :D

# | Stacy said...

WOW great share! I need to replenish a lot of our make ups pala.

# | gigi celemin said...

Great tip! I think this is something we women should be careful about. Everything has expiration. Its not bad to hoard make-up and cosmetics but if not or rarely used, its more practical to give them away.  Yeah, 

# | Liz said...

Wow, cool post, super-informative. To be honest I've been really neglectful when it comes to things like shelf life and proper storage. XD Luckily I don't really own or use heaps of different products to begin with. Might be time to chuck a few things though.

# | Helen Blas said...

I loved this post, super informative! I'm guilty of keeping some of my makeup for too long, especially when it's kinda pricey.

# | Gellie Abogado said...

This is a very informative post. Thanks for sharing. I remember years back when I have used a lipstick for about 3years, well it's because I have zero idea about makeup. I thought they could last forever as long as you have 'em on stock. Hahaha! :P

# | LEVYousa said...

I will take note of this... very nice post, napaka informative :) 

# | Carizza Chua said...

i work in a cosmetic company before but I didnt know about the perfume!

# | Blanca said...

These are great tips. I learned  a lot from this post! Thanks for sharing, though I dont use that uch make-up on my face I am very particular with my lipstick and gloss.  :)

# | Aileen A. said...

Hahaha! Same goes for me too! My mom actually kept some of her makeup goodies from like 5 years ago (when I was still age 10!) LOL! Good thing our skin didn't break out! (But then again, we didn't use make-up that much back then. Haha!)

# | Aileen A. said...

 Yay! I'm glad I get to impart this knowledge :) And I hope what I've said, learned, and researched are right as per your knowledge of the cosmetic industry. XD

# | Paige said...

I started to use make up and I think the information you just provided can help me a lot. Thanks! :) 

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Aileen is a DNE (digital-nomad-entrepreneur), a traveler at most, and a wild spirit come weekends. She likes to lead a bustling life, because Mr. Boredom is her sworn enemy since who-knows-when. She finds comfort in food, music, city lights, hugs, & cold rainy days. Her definition of a perfect escape? Lazing on the beach with some good company & music.

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