Does Eyeshadow Expire? How Can You Tell?

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When was the last time you bought an eyeshadow palette? What was your first? Do you still use it? Or a better question is should you still use it? It can take a while before you hit the pan on your eyeshadow — especially if you have a lot of palettes and if you don’t use it too much. You might be wondering “Does Eyeshadow Expire?” 

Unfortunately, your favorite eyeshadow for those smokey eyes won’t last forever. Like many other cosmetic products, it will eventually expire. So when does the eyeshadow expire? What happens if you use one that is expired? And how can you tell when your eyeshadow is expired?

We’ll answer all those burning questions below, hopefully before your eyes are burning because you used old, moldy, expired eyeshadow. Ew.

When Does Eyeshadow Expire?

Eyeshadow palette

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! But unfortunately, your favorite eyeshadow palette  will eventually expire. You just have to let go of that palette. Usually, the expiration of eyeshadows ranges from 3 months to 2 years. 

The exact expiration date of eyeshadows isn’t typically listed by the manufacturer. However, some do have expiration dates printed on them.

There is really no law requiring cosmetic manufacturers to indicate when their products expire. That’s why you, the buyer, should try to take note of when you purchased and opened your eyeshadow.

Remember that there are some instances when you should throw out your eyeshadow even before they expire. That will depend on the condition of your eyeshadow.

So don’t forget to check your eyeshadow collection from time to time. Just throw the bad ones out and don’t risk using them.

Why Does Eyeshadow Expire?

Eyeshadows, like other cosmetic products, likely contain preservatives. These make their formulation stable so you can use them for a while.

However, that doesn’t make them last forever. Some of the components of the eyeshadows can slowly break down and degrade. These could negatively affect their function.

Usually, when considering the expiration date of your eyeshadow, you should think about when you opened it or broke the seal. That is the time when you expose the eyeshadow to the air.

When it was sealed, it wasn’t exposed to any outside contaminants or air. Both air and outside contaminants could affect your eyeshadow negatively.

What Happens If You Use Expired Eyeshadow?

If you happened to use expired eyeshadow, there are a few things that can happen.

No Effect

First of all, some may not have any adverse effects at all from using expired eyeshadows. They could still work and they might not cause harm. Some people keep using their eyeshadows for a very long time even when they are already expired with no problems..

Itchiness and Irritation

However, that isn’t true for all. Many experience itchiness and irritation. Your skin can feel itchy when you use expired products. That is because the ingredients used may n stablo longer be stable.

Also, your skin may not be compatible with the ingredients that have already degraded. The end result is itchy, red, potentially swollen eyelids.

Skin Inflammation

Expired eyeshadow is often exposed to a lot of air over time. Eventually, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. When you apply the eyeshadow over your eyelids, you also introduce the bacteria to your skin. Your skin can also get inflamed and irritated.

Moreover, the worst thing that could happen is when your eye gets infected. 

Eyeshadows are supposed to go over your eyelids, of course! But sometimes it can get into your eyes. When the bacteria also reaches your eye, you can develop conjunctivitis aka pink eye.

And that is why it is best not to risk using expired eyeshadow.

Your health is more important than your aesthetic appearance. Plus, if you develop an eye infection, that wouldn’t look good either. 

How To Tell When Your Eyeshadow Expires?

Assuming there’s no date printed on your eyeshadow, you’ll have to do some detective work.

First of all, you should take note of when you opened the eyeshadow. It is your responsibility to keep track of that date so you can throw it out after at most 2 years.

Another way to tell when your eyeshadow expires is if there are changes to how it looks, smells, or how it is applied. 

Among the signs to watch out for is the discoloration of the pigments. This is obvious but may also be uncommon.

Check the scent but don’t smell it directly as sometimes it could have mold. If you see a cottony white substance on it, that is mold.

tend to develop mold more often than powdered eyeshadow due to their higher moisture content.

Lastly, your experience in using the product will also tell you if it is expired or not.

If you used the product and your eyelid or eye got irritated, it’s time to say goodbye. Don’t risk using it again. Whe in doubt, just throw it out.


Eyeshadows are a great addition to your makeup collection. However, they go bad eventually, and you need to toss them from time to time.

Yes, eyeshadows expire just like other makeup or cosmetic products. Most do not have expiration dates, it is up to you to determine when they expire.

Typically, that would range from 3 months to 2 years. There are signs that tell when your eyeshadow is expired such as change in texture, smell, mold growth, and irritation when used.

The good news is that eyeshadow is generally not super expensive, and new formulations are always being made. It’s time you picked up a new eyeshadow anyway!

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Written by Kayla Young

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