When Should You Throw Out Old Beauty Products?

We all love the idea of having a ‘shelfie’ filled with products that makes our Instagram the envy of all of our friends. But with the constant influx on new products coming into our lives, and the simplified skincare and beauty routines that are making waves, it’s easy to be left with drawers full of products that are well past their prime.

A lot of people think that makeup and skincare expiry dates are a marketing trick to encourage you to buy more products before you need them. However, these little label markings may actually help to protect your skin from some pretty nasty consequences.

While parabens and preservatives are added to our products to help keep them shelf stable, you still need to be keeping track of when you open products to avoid any complications. Some products may have an actual use by date printed on the packaging. Others will have a PAO symbol. This stands for period after opening and lets you know how long your product is good for after it’s been opened and exposed to air.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to use your best judgement. If a product begins to look, feel or smell different, even if the change isn’t necessarily that bad, you should toss it. This includes products that have separated, gone lumpy, feels gritty or have begun to dry out.

To make it easier, here’s a quick guide on how long your beauty products really last.


Face serums: 6 to 9 months

Eye creams: 9 months to 1 year

Moisturisers: 1 year

Acne products: 9 months to 1 year

Cleansers: 1 year

SPF: 1 year


Mascara and eyeliner: 3 to 6 months

Foundations: 6 months to 1 year

Powder products: 2 to 3 years

Lip products: 2 to 3 years

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