May 17, 2015

Q & A: Do unopened products expire on their expiration dates?

Q: Hi Veronica! I have a question about makeup expiration dates. I try to make sure my makeup stays clean and toss it at the appropriate date but I recently ran into a conundrum I don't normally face: purchasing "back up" makeup, or makeup I don't intend to open and use right away. How long can you keep sealed makeup before you have to use it up? (the product I purchased was a liquid lipstick)

A: The expiration dates (aka "open container" dates) are from the first time you open the product, exposing it to air and contaminants. If there's not an issue of active ingredients breaking down (like antioxidants and sunscreen), or safety (mascaras in particular), the dates are fairly conservative. Products containing oil will eventually go rancid regardless of whether they've been opened (this takes a while, though--think of that very old lipstick smell), but unless you're hoarding backups of unopened oil based products for 5+ years, I wouldn't worry about it if they seem fine when you do get around to using them. Skin care ingredients will degrade over time, so it's best to not buy a lot of skin care products in advance of when you'll use them.

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