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Post in Beauty Confidential

Does the expiration date on a cosmetic item being before or after being opened?

I am going to a CCO tomorrow, and I really need the answer to this question. Cosmetic Company Outlets sell cosmetics that were manufactured (early this year to late last year) and sell them for a discounted price. These stores are raved about online and I can't wait to visit one. The only problem is that I don't want to buy something that was made last year and is expired now. For example, I don't want to buy a foundation that was made in August 2009, and find it to be ruined by the time I get to actually use it. All the items they sell are in their original packing, unopened, and 100% real.

Re: Does the expiration date on a cosmetic item being before or after being opened?

There was an article on Yahoo today about this. It said foundation that has never been opened can last up to 2 years. 

Powders (foundation, blush etc.) have a longer life span than creams.


I have bought MAC products at a CCO before and never had a problem. But MAC changes their items so often that most do not get old before they are retired.


This article did say that we should throw away eye shadows after 3 months because of the risk of infection. I have never done this nor have I had an eye infection (but that it just me).


The best suggestion in this article was for us to not keep our makeup in the bathroom (the moisture can breed bacteria) and it should be kept in a dark cool place.

Most cosmetics have a shelf life of a few years before be...

Most cosmetics have a shelf life of a few years before being opened.  So if it was made in 2009 for example it will still be good (if unopened) for a couple more years.  Once opened, they are good for anywhere from a few months (mascara) to a few years (powders).  Many products have a picture of a little jar with a number inside of it and this is the number of months the product is good for once it has been opened.  (Keep a Sharpie in your makeup drawer and write down the date you opened it on the sticker.)  As long as it is an item you know you're going to use often you shouldn't have to worry that it will go bad before you use it.

The exception to the above "rules" is natural and organic products.  These will have an actual expiration date printed on the product and you want to pay attention to it for the same reason you pay attention the date on food products.

CCOs are great resources for getting really deep discount...

CCOs are great resources for getting really deep discounts, but I don't suggest purchasing foundation or skincare from them. The expiration date isn't a solid number you have to abide by, but it's a good guide. If the foundation was manufactured a while back, it won't necessarily be bad by the time you get it, but once you open it, you'll have a much shorter time to use it up before the texture/smell/whatever goes wrong.


Short story: Probably best to think of it as "before being opened", not "after".

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