Expired cosmetics: it’s time for a clean-up!

Good thinking: you’re going to clean out your makeup cabinet! But you’re wondering where to start. Follow this game plan to identify all your outdated cosmetics, give your accessories a fresh start and renew all your essentials.

Keep it or chuck it?

Just like with food, cosmetics have an expiry date, which is important to keep in mind to help avoid infection or irritation. Here’s a quick test to evaluate the shelf life of your products.

To find out if it’s expired, just check the label. T or F?

False, sort of.  Yes, the packaging provides valuable information. For example, on all products containing an SPF, the expiration date is found on the box and on top of the tube, embossed in the plastic. Most other products have a small icon of an open jar with a number and the letter "M" (for "month") indicating shelf life. Example: "6M" means that the product can be stored for 6 months from the date of opening.

BUT remember: these are just guidelines. Some products have a shorter shelf life than estimated, especially if they aren’t stored properly. To correctly identify expired cosmetics, you have to check the colour, texture and smell as well.

Maquillage périmé


It can be hard to keep track of all the cosmetics you own! So, to make it easier moving forward, write the date you open each new product on its package with permanent marker so you can track the estimated expiry date.

If you can avoid it, don’t store your cosmetics in the bathroom. T or F?

True.  It seems counter-intuitive, but the humidity in the bathroom can encourage bacterial growth. The best place to store your creams, lotions, brushes, etc., is in a dry, dark place… like a drawer in your night table, for example.  


Products in jars last just as long as those in pump bottles. T or F?

False. Unlike tubes,  you actually have to stick your fingers into the product in jars, which increases your risk of contamination. So, be extra careful when using them! Make sure you close them properly, and carefully wipe off the inside of the lid after every use to prevent excess product from oxidizing and degrading the whole jar.


Body moisturizers last longer than facial ones. T or F?

True.  They can last up to a whole year, while facial products (creams, makeup removers, exfoliants and masks) only last six to nine months.  Whatever product you’re using, be vigilant: some ingredients evaporate more quickly, increasing the concentration of the product—and your risk of experiencing a skin reaction!


Unlike beauty products, fragrances don’t have a fixed expiry date. T or F?

True.  Be aware: that doesn’t mean they last forever! To preserve them as long as possible, it’s best to keep them someplace cool and dark, as you would with your cosmetics.


Lipstick can last up to two years. T or F?

True. But you really don’t want to keep them longer than that because their elevated water content makes them ideal for breeding bacteria. Lip, eye and brow liners have a similar shelf life, but you have to sharpen them frequently. So, remember to clean your sharpener from time to time to keep things sanitary!


Mascara has the shortest shelf life. T or F?

True.  Dark and humid… mascara containers are like test tubes for growing bacteria. That’s why they have to be changed every three months, at the same time as your liquid liners and your concealers.


Foundation can be kept for two or three years,
just like loose powder, eye shadow and blush. T or F?

True, provided it’s a powder-based foundation. Liquid foundations can only be kept for up to nine months.

Powder products are dry, so they don't accumulate bacteria as quickly as other products do (but you have to keep your brushes clean!). Remember: if you notice that they’re starting to crack or dry out, or they don’t go on as well as they used to, it’s time to replace them.

Here’s a handy reminder

Indication on shelf life of your cosmetics
Mascara and liquid eyeliner 3 months
Concealer (stick) 3 to 6 months
Creams (day, night) 6 to 9 months
Makeup remover (eyes, face) 6 to 9 months
Scrubs 6 to 9 months
Clay moisturizing masks, cleanser 6 to 9 months
Calming cream 8 months
Foundation 9 months
Body cream 12 months
Blush 2 to 3 years
Eyeshadow 2 to 3 years
Powders (loose, pressed) 2 to 3 years
Eye pencil 2 years
Eyebrow pencil 2 years
Lipsticks and lip pencils 2 years

What about accessories?

Sponges that crumble, brushes with missing bristles... they all need to be tossed along with your expired cosmetics. If your accessories still have some life left in them, remember to establish a cleaning routine... and stick to it!


  • Disinfect them after each use with a quick-wash method: moisten the bristles with a spray cleaning formula then wipe dry using a reusable cotton cloth. A few seconds and it's done!
  • Clean them really well once a week. All you’ll need is a little water and a mild shampoo (like baby shampoo). Wet the brush, coat it with shampoo that you’ve lathered in the palm of your hand, then rinse till the water runs clear. To dry, press the bristles lightly against a clean towel then leave the brushes to dry on a clean towel for a few hours.
What about accessories?


  • Follow the same cleaning routine you use with your brushes: put a few drops of liquid soap into the palm of your hand, then soak the wet sponge by pressing it against your palm. Knead it well to remove all the make-up that has been absorbed. Rinse, and you’re good to go!

If you find these steps a little tedious, remember: the more frequently you wash your accessories, the less time it takes... and the lower your risk of developing rashes, irritations or infections.  

Your beauty routine essentials…

Once you’ve sorted through your cosmetics, you’ll probably be wondering which ones need replacing first. Here are five makeup and skincare essentials you really want to have on hand. The big question is, do you go with tried-and-true classics or do you try something new?


  1. A base makeup or foundation helps create smoother looking skin and unify your complexion, even if you don't wear much makeup.
  2. A concealer helps erase signs of fatigue and cover up minor imperfections.
  3. Mascara is your best ally when you want to wake your eyes up quickly!
  4. Long-lasting lipstick is perfect for accentuating your look (and standing up to the friction caused by your mask).
  5. A cream blush or bronzer is ideal for achieving an instant glow?

Care products

  1. A good cleanser. Remember: removing impurities helps your skin breathe freely!
  2. A gentle exfoliator unclogs pores and removes dead skin gently.
  3. Day and night moisturizers should be adapted to your particular skin type.
  4. A good sunscreen should be used daily, regardless of the season or weather.
  5. A protective, nourishing lip balm, ideally one with a high SPF.

Our suggestions

Face Primer, 30 ml
Personnelle Cosmetics

Face Primer, 30 ml

Makeup primer is specially designed to cover up skin imperfections, brighten the complexion and extend the wear of foundation and other powders. Ideal for mattifying and smoothing the skin, the Personnelle Cosmetics Face Primer reflects light and enhances your makeup, rendering it flawless, even and long-lasting. In addition to preparing your skin for makeup, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has a silky, beautiful finish. Tip: Skip the foundation and just use primer for a more natural look. An essential step in your beauty regimen!

Couvrance High Tolerance Mascara, 7 ml

Couvrance High Tolerance Mascara, 7 ml

Intensifies, separates, reshapes. Fragrance-free, paraben-free.

Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, 50 ml
La Roche-Posay

Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, 50 ml

High UVA-UVB sun protection for the face with an invisible lightweight finish. A unique combination of invisible yet ultra-resistant protection developed for sensitive skin.


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Expired cosmetics: it’s time for a clean-up!

Good thinking: you’re going to clean out your makeup cabinet! But you’re wondering where to start. Follow this game plan to identify all your outdated cosmetics, give your accessories a fresh start and renew all your essentials.
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