Would you believe if I told you that I didn’t know that skin and beauty products expire until recently?!!

I had two encounters… first was with my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water I bought over a year ago, I noticed that any time I would take my make up off I feel this burning sensation and I would have to wash my face immediately but not for once did it cross my mind that maybe I was using an expired product until last week I decided to check the expiry date or product life, a product that was supposed to last me a year I have been using for almost 2 years!!!

Second product was my Tea tree face wash I noticed was smelling absolutely awful because it had expired months ago.

I have done some research so I can help the people that are not aware.

First thing you need to know is that every beauty or skin care product expires.

To determine the expiry date you have to consider a few things which includes the type of product, the packaging, how you store your products, and the time of your first use.

PAO- Period After Opening

This is the symbol that indicates the number of months the product is good for use, once the product is opened the time starts running as exposure to light, air, dirty fingers can cause bacteria that can break them down.

This is written on almost all beauty products which is indicated with 6M, 9M, 12M, 24M OR 36M, ‘M’ meaning months.

With antioxidants and skin-rejuvenating formulas such as retinol, glycolic acid and vitamin C in these products they eventually start to deteriorate and loose effectiveness after the stated period.


When to Toss

Skin care

Generally, I will advice you toss any skin care product after a year maximum or else indicated otherwise. Depending on the packaging, products with pumps are less likely to harbour bacteria than the ones in jars because if products aren’t properly stored they can expire long before the expiry date.

  • Toners and Cleansers: 6months to 1year
  • Sponges: 3-7weeks (moist environment and the holes of the sponge can breed bacteria)
  • Facial or body moisturizers: 6months to 1year
  • Facial wash or exfoliating scrubs: 1year
  • Serums: 1 year
  • Sunscreen: 1 year
  • Lip balm: 1 year (I have been using my lip balm on and off for 2 years, just thinking of the bacteria I have been consuming I’m in tears).


Make up

I am definitely guilty because like my skin care products I have forgotten the time I started using some of my make up products I just wait till I exhaust them. Doing a thorough clean out of my kit after this!

If you properly store your products and it doesn’t cause you any bacteria infection, you can follow the longest use date.

  • Mascara and liquid eye liner- 3-6months
  • Lipsticks and Lip pencils- 6-12months
  • Liquid foundation and concealers – 1year
  • Cream based or Sponge style- 6months (dipping of fingers or sponge exposes it to bacteria.
  • Eye shadows, blush and powders- 1-2years


How to spot expired beauty products

  • When the product starts to change color
  • Difference in the texture or consistency of the product
  • The product smells bad
  • Exposure to extreme heat or sunlight (All those products we leave in the car for easy access, need to be tossed or else properly protected).
  • If the product starts to separate
  • If it’s moldy.


I hope you learnt a few things like I did?

Thank you for reading.