Treat Yourself Sale - 20% Off Most Brands Shop Now



Skin Care Expiration Dates - Does Lotion or Retinol Expire?

Should you pay attention to the expiration dates on your skin care and makeup?

One of the questions our customers consistently ask us is “Do my skin care and makeup expiration dates matter?” While you don’t want to use the same container of moisturizer or tube of lipstick forever, most of your products will stay fresh and effective for awhile. But, you should pay attention to printed expiration dates on your products and signs that can indicate when your skin care and makeup are visibly past their prime. Why? In a word, bacteria. Makeup brushes, skin care and makeup products may begin to harbor harmful bacteria that could irritate your skin or exacerbate blemishes if they become contaminated. Here are a few things to look for, plus tips and tricks to make your favorite products last longer.


Makeup Brush Cleanser

If you do only one thing to ensure you are avoiding contaminating your makeup, then be diligent about washing your brushes. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger says,

“Here’s your reminder to wash them consistently – once a week to be exact. Not only does regular washing prevent product buildup, which can inhibit effective application, but unwashed makeup brushes are a hotbed of bacteria that can then be transferred to your skin and can cause blemishes and irritation.”

Eminence Organics Natural Brush Cleanser uses coconut extract to strip away makeup residues and sterilize bristles, extending the life of your favorite makeup brushes.Eminence Organics Natural Brush Cleanser


If you’re unsure whether or not your foundation is still in its prime, keep an eye out for these two tell-tale signs that it could be time to switch:

· Separation – Over time, the oil in foundations begins to separate from the rest of the formula and rise to the top. If you’re not properly shaking your foundation, you can risk applying too much pore-clogging oil to your skin.

· Dryness – Foundation starts to dry out the closer it gets to its expiration date. If it’s not spreading on your skin the same as it used to, toss it.

Pro Tip: Choose a foundation that is packaged in a pump or squeezable tube if you want it to last longer, like the Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation. Foundations that are in a “pot” are more at risk of possible bacterial contamination if you dip a dirty application brush or blending sponge into the container and then apply it to your skin.Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation


How long does mascara last? That depends! Your eyelashes are designed to trap debris and bacteria from entering your eyes and swiping a mascara wand onto them could potentially place bacteria right into your mascara tube. Plus, if you’re noticing it’s not applying in quite the way it used to, the formula could be drying out. If your mascara is flaking onto your skin by midday, it’s probably time to replace it.

Pro Tip: To make your mascara last longer, swirl your wand instead of pumping it into the tube. Pumping the wand up and down into the tube pushes more air inside the tube, drying out the formula quicker. Try jane iredale Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara – it comes in a squeezable tube formula for easy application and is formulated without petroleum and lacquer, so it will never clump or look heavy on your lashes.jane iredale Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara


Keep an eye (and a nose) on how your lipstick looks and smells. Changes in texture, color and smell could mean that your lipstick needs a replacement. All the more reason to try out a fun new color!

If you have cracked lip skin, skip the lipstick all together and go for a healing balm like FixMySkin Healing Lip Balm Vanilla with 1% Hydrocortisone – it will heal irritated skin with 1% hydrocortisone, provide hydration and softness to lips with cocoa and shea butters, wrapped up in a yummy vanilla scent.FixMySkin Healing Lip Balm Vanilla with 1% Hydrocortisone

Skin Care

As with anything you are applying to your face, pay attention to the product’s consistency. If the texture has changed, looks like its separating or if it’s not applying to your face as it always has, check the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol on your bottle. Not all products include this, but if it does, you can find what looks like an “open jar” symbol, next to a number that indicates how long the product will last after you crack the seal. For example, if it says 12M, that means the manufacturer suggests that it’s good for 12 months after initial opening. Additionally, a moisturizer that is packaged in a pump or a tube is less likely to pick up bacteria from your fingers upon application. The SUZANOBAGIMD Intensive Daily Repair moisturizer comes in a simple-to-use tube (instead of in a pot) and contains gentle polyhydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin and minimize the appearance of pores and vitamins C and E to provide antioxidant protection.

SUZANOBAGIMD Intensive Daily Repair

Pro Tip: Avoid using cleanser with a buff puff or a wash cloth and instead use your fingers. This will reduce bacteria transfer to your skin and avoid over-exfoliation. Try the Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser if you want to remove excess oil, makeup and debris from your skin. Willow bark extract exfoliates skin to unclog pores and marshmallow extract acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce puffiness.

Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

Will expired makeup and skin care products compromise your complexion? Be diligent and pay attention to the expiration dates on all of your skin care and makeup products and abide by those dates. Learn more about skin care and makeup expiration by checking out this post.

Shop This Blog

  • Coconut-scented
  • Sterilizes brushes
  • Natural
Quick Shop +
Product Discontinued
  • Allows for buildable coverage
  • Twice the coverage of a classic foundation
  • Provides SPF 25 protection
Quick Shop + 15 options
Staff Favorite
4.5 out of 5 stars
Based on 64 reviews
  • Moisturizes and nourishes lashes
  • Protects against breakage
  • Lengthens and thickens lashes
Quick Shop + 2 colors
4 out of 5 stars
Based on 54 reviews
  • More powerful than regular balms
  • Perfect for Accutane treated lips
  • Great for dry winter months
Quick Shop +
4.8 out of 5 stars
Based on 205 reviews
  • Hydrates with hyaluronic acid
  • Minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores
  • Exfoliates dulling skin cells
Quick Shop +
4.6 out of 5 stars
Based on 72 reviews
  • Eliminates bacteria on the surface
  • Exfoliates the complexion
  • Best suited for oily skin
10% Rewards Back
Quick Shop +
4.8 out of 5 stars
Based on 307 reviews

About the Author

Jill is a content writer for LovelySkin. She loves reading up on the latest beauty trends, going to concerts with her husband and baking with her three kids.

Other Posts by Jill


Leave a comment

Return to the top
Need Help?
Let's Chat
Customer Care Hours
Mon - Thur 9 - 6 p.m. CT
Friday 9 - 5 p.m. CT
Sat 9 - 3 p.m. CT
Sun / Holidays Closed