Beauty Product Expiry Dates | What I Didn’t Know

Beauty Product Expiry DatesI’m not sure how long beauty product expiry dates have been about but it’s something I never took into consideration until lately. Now must products I would say are normally fine after the POA date (period after opening), the majority of the time you can tell if it’s gone ‘off’ yourself. If your makeup product or beauty item has changed consistency, smell or colour then it’s probably time for it to go in the bin (I know it’s hard, I struggle with this myself). This can actually happen before the POA date not just after.Beauty Product Expiry DatesNow I used to think the POA date for products is the same for all products in the same category (i.e. lipsticks, creams, blushers), however this isn’t quite correct and is only a guide. What I didn’t know is that all products have a specific period after opening date which is on the back of nearly every beauty product, this is symbolised by a little round pot with a M. It has literally took me this long to figure out what this means, I had no idea before! The M signifies how many months of suggested use the product has, and this can vary quite differently from brand to brand.Beauty Product Expiry DatesThere are some general guidelines to give you an idea of how long certain products last, however I personally go by the POA date for that specific product and look out for any changes (especially with eye products).

Lipsticks & Lip Pencils – Three years
Lipgloss – Two years (if it starts to go stickier then it’s probably gone off)
Mascara – 6 months (this is one I like to stick to a bit more than others as no one wants any bacteria around their eyes!)
Powders (blushers, bronzers, etc) – Three years

Skin and Body Care
Cleansers & Toners – 18 months (look out for colour and scent change)
Moisturisers & Serums – 1 year for face products, however slightly more for body products
Shampoo & Conditioner – 1 year (I go through these so quickly as my hair is very long so mine never go unused for this long)
Suncream – 18 months (I pay attention to this more than any of the others, if it’s gone off then it’s not protecting your skin from the sum properly.

Do you stick to product expiry dates or are you more like me and look out for changes in your products?

Rebecca x


  1. 14th September 2015 / 3:30 pm

    WHAT. I had no idea that’s what it meant, and I always say how they should write the expiry date on them. Although admittedly I always keep makeup products for longer than you should, thankyou so much for sharing though!

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:33 am

      Yeah I always keep them longer than you should too for most products, but I’m a bit more careful with eye and skincare products :)

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:34 am

      That’s what I look out for the most too! :)

  2. 14th September 2015 / 3:42 pm

    Yes it’s crazy to know what makeup expires so quickly, yet it really doesn’t stop us from buying more!
    I know my favourite MAC lipstick went off as the vanilla smell went away and smelt horrid. It was around two years old.

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:34 am

      Good excuse to buy more haha :) oh no that’s so annoying, at least two years is quite a long time though :)

  3. 14th September 2015 / 5:01 pm

    This post is so useful Rebecca! I didn’t know about the PAO at the back of product, now I’ll pay attention to that!
    Usually I try to use my skincare products quite quickly so that I don’t risk damaging my skin, but for makeup I’ve never had any problem of expiry dates so I don’t really think about it. And I just realised, I’ve had my Naked Palette 1 for more than three years now but honestly, I would never ever throw it to the bin except if the eyeshadows all turn a weird brownish colour or something haha.
    But thanks for mentioning expiry dates, this is not something we remember very often!

    Julia xx
    | |

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:35 am

      Yeah a lot of products I go by if they change colour or texture, however I’m more careful with skincare like you :) xx

  4. Laura
    14th September 2015 / 7:33 pm

    I used to look at these and wonder what they meant lol. Now I know! Thanks for sharing :)

    Laura | lauzylouu

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:36 am


  5. 14th September 2015 / 8:32 pm

    Thanks for posting about this! It’s great that more people are becoming aware of this…

    I had no idea about this until I set up my own Beauty products range. For anything that’s applied to the skin, you’re supposed to get it all Cosmetically tested, Shelf Life tested, and Microbe tested if it contains water. This all has to be done by one of about 40 people in the UK who are qualified to do so.

    Luckily my products didn’t need the microbe testing, so I saved a bit there!

    I really like your posts, they’re really good. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye and commenting often!

    All the best,
    Kerra at Beauty and Beau –

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:36 am


  6. 14th September 2015 / 9:32 pm

    This is a really great point to be made. I am a makeup lover too and collecting products is so fun, but it’s good to check in from time to time and makeup sure things are still good. :) I try to go through every 6 months and toss things out that I know have gone off.

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:36 am

      I recently had a good clear out and was surprised at how many products of mine had actually gone off!

  7. 16th September 2015 / 10:11 am

    Wow I haven´t thought about this cause I usually finish foundations, lip products and mascaras really fast but now that I realize that I should pay more attention to products that I don´t use so often and that last me really long time

    • Rebecca
      16th September 2015 / 10:37 am


  8. Emma
    16th September 2015 / 3:10 pm

    Honestly reading the date on my products I usually finish them or lose them before the gone off date, I have always known about it but I usually forget when I opened/bought products anyway haha! xo

    • Rebecca
      17th September 2015 / 5:49 pm

      I tend to forget too but try to remember the important ones :)

  9. Toni
    17th September 2015 / 11:55 am

    It really is hard parting with a product that has gone off but as you say it’s definitely better than leaving your skin to suffer. A very helpful post x

    Toni x

    • Rebecca
      17th September 2015 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks, glad you found it helpful :) x

  10. 28th September 2015 / 2:37 pm

    Bloody hell, I had no idea how long moisturisers last I really need to do a huge clean out! I am now gonna keep a list by my make-up and skincare products!!!

    Great helpful post! Xxx

    Emma Casha | Casha Beauty

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