What's the Shelf Life of Foundation?

Expiration dates aren’t something you always think of when it comes to beauty products. But old foundation doesn't perform well and can even harm your skin in extreme cases.

Expiration dates aren’t something you always think of when it comes to beauty products. But old foundation doesn't perform well and can even harm your skin in extreme cases. You'd toss bad milk or eggs in a heartbeat, but are you letting your skin absorb expired beauty products?


What's the Shelf Life of Foundation?


The One-Year Rule for Foundation Freshness


The rule of thumb is that most liquid, cream, and stick foundations deteriorate in quality about one year from the date you open them. It’s not necessarily dangerous to use foundation at this point, but the integrity of the original product is no longer there.

Generally, formulas packaged in airtight pump containers are fine a bit past that year. But a bottle, tube, or jar with an open top exposes the product to air every time the cap is unscrewed. Such foundations are more likely to go off in terms of quality within the first year of use.

Due to their packaging, stick foundations are exposed to quite a bit of air with regular use. Thus, stick makeup usually becomes dry, brittle, and useless over time. The same holds true for cream foundations packaged in compacts.

Adding water or other liquids to 'revitalise' a formula is not advisable, however. Your product won't perform like new by a long shot, and introducing foreign moisture into an old product is a great way to grow bacteria. After a year of use, you should probably chuck those sticks and cream compacts in the bin.

 

What's the Shelf Life of Foundation?

 

An Exception to Every Rule


Powder foundations are the one exception to this rule. Because they contain no major hydration component, they last double the amount of time of a normal foundation. It's safe to wait up to two years before tossing out a powder.

However, your powder puff or brush picks up oil, skin cells, and germs from your face and transfers it to the product. Keep an eye on your powder to ensure it’s not harbouring bacteria. It’s important to clean all your makeup applicators regularly to help maintain the quality of your cosmetics.


When in Doubt, Toss Your Foundation


Overall, if you don't remember when you opened your foundation, it’s probably time to throw it away. There’s no good reason to hold on to expired makeup.

In the case of a beauty emergency, that old product isn't going to do you much better than a drugstore replacement. You might as well just grab a cheap dupe or spring for a brand-new product.

Once you clean out your stash of all the old junk, you'll have lots of room for more new foundations. And who doesn’t like new things? So go ahead and do a seasonal review of your makeup bag, and reward yourself for being mindful.

 

What's the Shelf Life of Foundation?