Can Eyeshadow Go Bad? Is it Risky To Use Expired Makeup?

Have you noticed your eyeshadow looking dry, crumbly, and just off? Sure, the pigment’s faded, and it’s certainly seen better days, but can eyeshadow go bad? What’s the worst that could happen if I use it one last time? Stop right there! Put down your brush and read this article before you even think about doing a cut crease.

Does Makeup Expire?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, makeup doesn’t last forever. Heartbreaking, I know. Makeup products come with an expiration date, and typically, the date is on the bottom of the cosmetic container.

Do you see that little “6m,” “12m,” or 24m” on the bottom of your eyeshadow? That’s the expiration date. 6m means the product has an expiration date of 6 months. 12m means 12 months, and 24m means 24 months. 

However, the good news is, the clock doesn’t start ticking from the day you buy your eyeshadow from Sephora. The expiration date starts from the day you open the product.

Not all cosmetics have the same expiration dates, though. Depending on what kind of product it is, it may expire sooner than other cosmetics. But we’ll touch on that soon. 

Can Eyeshadow Go Bad?

You can stop googling “can eyeshadow go bad?” now. Because yes, it can and, unfortunately, it does. But what do you do if you can’t remember when you opened your product. You see an “8m” expiration date on the bottom. But you can’t be sure if you opened it 6 months ago, or 16 months ago!

Or what do you do if you don’t see an expiration date on the product at all? If you can’t find the expiration date, it was likely printed on the box or plastic packaging when you first bought it. But don’t worry, there are a few easy ways you can identify an expired makeup product without the expiration date.

How To Tell If Your Makeup Has Expired

Smell. The first tell-tale sign of an expired product is the smell. If the product smells bad or just off in any way, it’s likely expired and should not be used on your face. 

Color. Another way to identify expired makeup is to look closely at the color. If your foundation has turned orange, then it’s likely oxidized. And if your bright purple eyeshadow has turned a lackluster shade of beige, you can safely assume that it’s gone bad. 

Girl wondering what to do if your makeup looks orange.

Texture. Is your eyeshadow crumbly? Is your pressed foundation hard as a rock? Does your foundation look lumpy and separated? If you notice the consistency of your makeup has changed, it’s time to toss it.

What Will Happen If You Use Expired Makeup?

I get it if you’re tempted to use expired makeup. Especially if you notice your eyeshadow has expired while you’re in the middle of your glam. But using expired makeup is never advisable for a few important reasons.

As soon as you expose your makeup to air, you expose it to bacteria. And what happens over time? Bacteria continue to grow. That’s right, the older the product, the more bacteria it contains.

When you use expired products, you’re spreading bacteria all over your skin, thus, clogging pores. And I’m sure you can guess where that leads – acne. And that’s not all. Using expired makeup can also cause redness, bumps, rashes, and dermatitis.

Using expired eye products like mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow are also a huge no-no. They can cause bacteria to enter the delicate eye area leading to irritation, eye infections, and puffy, red, and swollen eyes. So when in doubt, always throw out!

Makeup Expiration Dates

Keep these expirations dates handy, so you know when it’s time to toss out expired products and treat yourself to something new. 

  • Foundation:12-18M
  • Concealer:12M
  • Powder Foundation:12-18M
  • Liquid Eyeliner:3-6M
  • Eyeliner Pencil:18-24M
  • Mascara: 3-6M
  • Blush:18-24M
  • Bronzer:18-24M
  • Lip Balm:12M
  • Lipstick: 24M
  • Eyeshadow:12M
  • Powder Highlighter:12-18M

Makeup Essentials For When It’s Time To Buy Something New

Time to go shopping to replace your expired makeup? Shop our hand-picked recommendations below! 

Foundation: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream

This multitasking color corrector cream acts as a full-coverage foundation, SPF 50+ sunscreen, AND hydrating serum all in one. Need we say more?

Concealer: TARTE Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer

One of these incredible concealers is sold every 12 seconds! And for good reason. The coverage is truly unmatched, and best of all, it doesn’t look cakey. 

Mascara: L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara

Under $10, up to 4x fuller lashes, and over 60,000 glowing reviews on Amazon? Yes, please. 

Bronzer: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzing Powder

Want to look like you just got back from a tropical vacation? This bronzer adds a divine sun-kissed glow that brings your complexion to life.

Blush: Nars Blush in ORGASM

This OG blush has stood the test of time as one of the best blushes on the market. And it may in part due it staying on all day. Seriously, all day. 

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Award-winning? Check. Waterproof? Check. Intense, long-wearing color?Absolutely. Urban decay’s waterproof eyeliner can deliver subtlety during the day as well as intense cat eyes for a night out.

Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette

The 12 stunning pigmented eyeshadows and shadow/blending brush allow you to channel your inner MUA to create some fierce looks!

Can Eyeshadow Go Bad? Yes, It Can.

This is your PSA to resist the temptation to use your expired eyeshadow and toss it instead. I know throwing out makeup seriously sucks. But trust us, the risks of using expired makeup far outweigh the reward! 

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About Jurnee

Jurnee is a writer and creative from New Zealand passionate about covering health, wellness, and fashion.