When To Toss Out Your Beauty Products

All those who own a makeup product from the 00’s, please stand up. Like many women, you’re probably guilty of owning a beauty product that’s well past its expiration date. Whether you’re sentimentally attached to it, or can’t bear the thought of parting ways with that ancient, albeit ridiculously pricey moisturiser, we’re here to tell you it’s time to get rid of a few things. Here, Source Beauty lets you know when it’s time to call it quits on your favourite beauty products.

What’s the Problem?

Most of us don’t remember when we bought our products. Therefore, we lose track of how long we’ve had them. Keeping, and using products well after they expire can have serious effects on your skin. Old products tend to decompose, release chemicals, and develop bacteria which can cause irritations, skin infections, and even herpes (not a good look).  

Unlike sunscreens and certain acne products which have clear expiration dates, most beauty products don’t tell you when to throw them out. In fact, the only indication of how to long to keep your beloved products is a PAO (Period After Opening) symbol. This symbol is usually located on the box which you probably throw out right away. A PAO is a number followed by an M (example: 6M). This would mean that, after opening the product, it’s ok to use for up to six months.

Spot the Baddies

There are some things to consider when trying to figure out if your products have gone bad. Does it look the same on your skin as it did before?  Do you leave your products in hot or damp places where bacteria can easily grow?

Makeup will tend to look lumpy and streaky on the skin. Skincare products will develop strange odours and become runny. And because of major temperature changes, shower products are prone to some serious bacteria growth.

When Is It Time to Toss?


Cleanser: 1 year

Serum: 6 months – 1 year

Toner: 6 months – 1 year

Moisturiser: 6 months – 1 year

Body Lotion: 6 months – 2 years

Face Masks: 1-2 years


Liquid Foundation: 6 months – 1 year

Lipsticks/Lip Balm: 1 year

Mascaras/ Liquid Eyeliner/ Eyeliner: 3 – 6 months

Powders (Blush, Eyeshadow, Bronzer, Foundation):  Up to 2 years

Eyeliner/Lip Liner: 1-2 years

Nail Polish: 1 year

Shower Products:

Shampoo/Conditioner: 2 years

Shower Gel: 6 months

Scrubs: 6 months

Loofah: 3-4 weeks

Perfume: 3-5 years


Image Credit: Wendy Rowe

Leave your comment