|makeup march| guide to beauty expiration dates

When I was little, I loved digging through my sister’s makeup collection. I was probably 6 or 7, and she was 18 or 19, so all her colorful eyeshadows and crazy nail polish were like a treasure chest to me (this was also the early 2000’s, so just imagine the trends…). Whenever she was over something or it went out of style, she would pawn it off on me, and I would hoard every piece. If I’m being totally honest, I probably still have some of the things she gave to me in those years… how disgusting is that!!

I recently moved, and the experience of packing & unpacking my makeup and beauty products was horrifying. I feel like I have no idea what I even own, and there is so much going on that I usually can’t find what I’m actually looking for. I NEEDED to find a way to purge and organize. First step: getting rid of things that I never used or were too old to be of quality anymore.

I’ve always known about the little symbol on products that shows how many months the product is “good” for. Although I’m crazy about food expiration dates, I never seemed to care much about this on a beauty product. Unfortunately, these products don’t list specific dates, and only time periods, so I never really know when I bought them/when they expire, but it was pretty easy to think about which products I’ve had for years and years and which I bought within the last year. During some research, I found these main guidelines to follow:

  • Some products actually should state specific expiration dates. These products include sunscreen and any products you get from your doctor, such as medicated face wash for acne.
  • Anything liquid that goes near your eyes or mouth “expires” more quickly because there is a higher chance of bacteria infecting the formula. These include: mascara, liquid eyeliner, lip gloss, and liquid lipstick. This type of product shouldn’t technically be kept for longer than 3-6 months (ugh, I have some that are like 45 years old… this isn’t good).
  • Products that are housed in bottles and poured out (no applicator going in and out of the container) last a long time, generally 1-3 years. These would include: shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, and shaving cream.
  • There are a few types of products that are heat and light sensitive – most specifically, perfume and topical acne medication. It may look pretty to set out perfume bottles, but the light can get to the formula and create reactions. Heat from the shower can also create reactions in medicated formulas. It is best to keep these products hidden away in drawers, and don’t keep them for more than a year or so.



With these guidelines in mind, I decided to spend an afternoon doing a huge purge. As you can see, I got rid of a decent amount of stuff! I used two old Birchbox boxes to organize – one of things to get rid of, one of things to give away. All the old & expired things will be heading into the garbage (and containers in the recycling!).

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I also decided to rid myself of some things I know I wouldn’t use or weren’t my style, and I made a box of goodies for friends to go through – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! And I just know that this It Cosmetics CC cream is the perfect shade for my sister.

I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and feel much lighter when looking through my products. Now, the next step… taking what I decided to keep and putting together an organization system to make getting ready feel like a treat instead of a chore! You’ll have to wait until the next installment in Makeup March to see my plan in action!


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