Does Powder Makeup Expire?

powder with cosmetic brush, on table wit makeup
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have laws or regulations for cosmetic manufacturers indicating the shelf life or expiry date printed on their product labels. But many manufacturers put an expiration date on their products as a guide and a reminder to get you to buy more! 

It’s often obvious that liquid makeup expires, but does powder makeup expire? Yes, virtually all forms of powder makeup expire. Of course, it’s always important to ensure your products are safe by checking the product’s shelf-life.

In this article, we’ll look at powder makeup longevity and expiration.


Does Powder Makeup Expire? What is the Shelf Life?

The long and short of it is that powder makeup definitely expires, though it will last a while if unopened.

Like every other manufactured product, different types of makeup will last for various lengths of time. For example, dry makeup products can last for up to two or three years if stored in a cool and dry place.

Unopened powder cosmetics are not subject to bacterial growth. But once you start using them, they are prone to bacterial invasion, even when you have only used them just once.

Dry makeup products can last for up to two or three years if stored in a cool and dry place.

Once the seal is opened, your powder makeup will start to degrade. Here are the most common reasons leading to expiry:

  • Using Your Fingers – Dipping fingers may add micro-organisms to the powder products, such as fungi (mold and yeast) and some bacteria, which may cause skin infections and breakouts.
  • Dirty Brushes – Lack of regular cleaning of your brushes and applicators.
  • Moisture – Exposing powder makeup to moisture, such as storing your makeup near the bathroom or accidentally spilling water in the storage where you store your makeup kit, may expose the powder to moisture which attracts bacteria and fungi.
  • Humidity and Sunlight – Storing them at low and humid temperatures or exposing them to direct sunlight and air can degrade or spoil your powder cosmetics.

How to Tell If Makeup Powder Is Expired

Most powder makeup is stable until it’s opened, and then the expiration time begins. It can be very hard to keep track of when you opened your makeup unless you label the open date on the makeup. We recommend that for many types of makeup, including lipstick, eyeshadow, eye creams, etc.

Writing the date when you opened the powder will give you that reminder in a year or so when it’s time to toss it! It will also help you avoid using oxidized products such as face powders, foundations, powdered eye shadows, and setting powders.

Always ensure you check the expiry date on the labels. Most products are labeled with a small symbol similar to a jar with a number or letter on the inside.

For example, you may see it printed: 12M, which means that the product’s shelf life is 12-months upon opening. 

Another way to prolong your powder cosmetics’ shelf life is to reinforce the lids using masking tape when you open the packaging.

Steps to Prolong Powder Makeup Shelf Life

In most cases, how long you will use your powdered beauty products safely depends on how you take care of them. The following are important tips that, if observed, will aid in prolonging your powder cosmetics shelf life and keep them safe for use:

  • Clean Everything – If you have had an acne breakout, clean and disinfect the brushes you were using to avoid introducing bacteria to the product. 
  • No Sharing – Don’t share makeup with other people. While that may seem as insignificant, it may cause an infection. Also, avoid using testers on the counters of cosmetic stores because they are used by different people, some of whom may have had infections, hence infecting you. If you feel the need to test a product before purchasing, you may need to consider applying it with an unused applicator or using a cotton swab.
  • Avoid Heat – Don’t expose your powder cosmetics to heat, as it may cause the preservatives to break down, causing bacteria and fungi to grow faster than if they were properly stored in a cool place. Also, keep your products out of direct sunlight, which may speed their expiry.
  • Avoid Knockoffs – Beware of powder cosmetics sold in a flea market (and even from Amazon resellers. Check the brand store) some of these products may be past their already used, expired, or even counterfeit. Many black markets are selling cheap fake products produced under unregulated contaminated conditions and giving them names of other legit cosmetic brands.

Expired powders can cause skin irritations, rashes, burning sensations, itchiness, redness, and other skin infections. If you experience any skin reactions or breakouts, toss what you’re using. If your breakout doesn’t go away, you may need to reach out to your doctor.

Final Thoughts

It is very important to replace your cosmetics and applicators regularly since they can trap bacteria, causing skin infections, irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes.

Using expired powder makeup may not cause you any issues other than uneven makeup and skin tone.

But in worst-case scenarios, using cosmetic powder products which are past their lifespan can result in skin breakouts, allergic reactions, and other infections.

If you suspect that a makeup product is no longer safe, toss it and get some more. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).