I'm Guilty of Never Throwing Out Old Beauty Products – So I Investigated What "Expired Makeup" Even Means

So, I have a gross confession to make that may or may not discredit me as a beauty aficionado: I never throw out my makeup products. Unless it’s used up, dried out, or has a weird texture or smell, it’s staying in my collection. Hey, I paid good money, and I want to get my money’s worth. Plus the packaging looks so cute on my dresser, how could I possibly say good bye?

Apparently I’m not the only one, though. Redditors have come to a general consensus that, with exceptions to mascara, sunscreen and other skincare, they don’t follow expiration dates and let the formulation of the product determine what gets tossed. And, out of the 40 people who responded to my Instagram poll (very scientific, I know), 75% are the same way — they don’t throw out old makeup before it’s used up, either. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Her Campus Beauty (@hercampusbeauty) on

At the end of the day, it’s hard to tell exactly when a product expires, because this is determined by the ingredients and formula, and how the product is used and stored. These “rule of thumb” expiration dates are averages, not exact figures. 

The bottom line: If you take care of your products, you may be able to keep them for a few months after the recommended expiration date so long as they still appear normal and your skin doesn't react. But if your makeup looks, smells, and applies weirdly, it's definitely time to toss. You wallet might be crying, but your skin will thank you.