How Long Do Eyeshadow Palettes Last?

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What’s in your makeup bag? Many of us will include eyeshadow in our answer. It simply makes your eyes pop and look more beautiful. However, it is common for people to buy eyeshadows then use them sparingly. 

Do you find yourself asking “how long do eyeshadow palettes last?” That’s a very good and important question. The short answer is about two years after opening them. 

Although they don’t have an exact expiration date printed on them, the palettes usually have a little sign at the back that tells you how long they’d last after opening them.

However, some may need to be thrown out before the two-year period. 


How Long Do Eyeshadow Palettes Last?

Eyeshadow Palette

Have you ever closely looked at the makeup products you’ve been using? Take a good look at the back or sides. Have you ever wondered about their expiration dates?

There isn’t really a strict rule about putting an expiration date on makeup products. However, most manufacturers advise their customers on how long the product should be used once opened. 

But not all do, unfortunately.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a symbol, usually at the back of the product. It looks like a cream container with the lid open. Inside the body, you’ll usually find the number of months then a letter “M”.

This denotes the number of months you can still use the product before throwing it away.

As for the eyeshadow palettes, it is recommended to throw them out after 24 months or two years. 

If you’ve just used the eyeshadow once and it’s been years since you’ve seen it again, then you might be thinking twice about throwing it out. It’s almost brand new!

Even though it’s older, is it still ok to use?

Can You Use Eyeshadow Past Expiration?

Well, that’s a hard question to answer. Some still use their eyeshadows past the two-year mark without any problems. However, there are risks. 

What Are The Risk Of Using Eyeshadows Beyond Two Years

Eyeshadow Palette

It can be easy to let go of eyeshadow palettes from drugstore brands because you can always buy them again. They are more affordable and readily available. 

However, if you have some limited edition eyeshadow palettes or the coveted Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes , your answer might be a hard no to throwing it away!

We can’t blame you.

Some eyeshadow palettes are on the expensive side.

Eyeshadow palettes are usually powdered so they are more on the “okay to use even if it is expired” side of things.

It’s up to you if you’d still want to use them or not. However, you should take note of the following risks:

Blemishes Due To Bacteria

Do you use an absolutely newly cleaned brush whenever you use your eyeshadow? When was the last time you cleaned your brushes?

Did you know that you can introduce bacteria to your eyeshadow palette just by simply dipping your brush in it?

Worse is if you use your fingertips on them without sanitizing them first. 

It’s tempting to take swatches with your fingertips to feel how creamy it is, and test how pigmented they are.

However, that also introduces bacteria. 

When that bacteria thrives in your eyeshadow and you apply it to your eyelid, you can end up with blemishes. It may not only appear in your eyelids but your face too. 

Eye Infection

To make eyeshadows pop, many makeup artists or makeup gurus suggest wetting the eyeshadow. That moisture could be enough to cause the bacteria to thrive.

When that happens and you apply it to your eye, you can get an infection. Conjunctivitis aka pink eye is a serious eye infection that you shouldn’t ignore.

It is uncomfortable and a big hassle. 

How Do You Tell If An Eyeshadow Palette Is Expired?

Do you put the date on your makeup after opening it? Most of us don’t. Then we forget the exact date when we opened it.

So how do you know that your eyeshadowpalette is expired? Well, first of all, estimate and try to think about when you bought it and when you opened it.

And there are signs to watch out for. 

Some of the signs below may appear before the 2-year mark. You still have to watch out for them and dispose of the product once they happen. 

Change In Scent

Try smelling your eyeshadow palette. Does it smell funky? If it does when it previously didn’t, it is best to throw it away. 

That funky smell might have come from bacteria now thriving in it. Instead of risking an eye infection, just throw it out. 

Presence Of Mold

Unlike bacteria, the growth of mold can be clearly seen by the naked eye. It may look like cotton that grows on top of the eyeshadow, similar to that white stuff that grows on old raspberries. 

It can come in different colors, usually white or grayish to sometimes yellow. If you see something on your eyeshadow that isn’t eyeshadow and you aren’t sure about it, throw it out. 

It is likely contaminated even if you are not sure about what caused it to change. That could cause irritation or infection in your eye area. 

Change In Texture

Some of the best palette eyeshadows feel creamy even though they are powdered. This makes them easily glide over your eyelids and stay there.

However, as time passes, the formulation can change and they can dry out. They’d become more chalky and hard. Using them may not be as nice as they were before. 

Although some are still able to use them at this stage, it is a warning sign about the age of the product.

Even if the palette appears to be just chalky, it could mean that it has already been opened long enough to be exposed to bacteria or molds. 

Change In Color

When you apply that blue eyeshadow but notice that it appears grayish-blue instead of the vibrant royal blue that it used to be, that could be a sign that the eyeshadow palette is past the expiration date. 

The color change isn’t the only problem here. Sometimes, the color change may also be due to whatever is thriving in the product.

Like a chance in scent, discoloration is a sign that you should throw away your eyeshadow palette. 

Does Eyeshadow Expire If Unopened?

You’ve found an unopened eyeshadow palette in the back of your cabinet. But… it’s a few years old, you’d totally forgotten about it. Can you still use it?

This is a tough one.

Unfortunately, the preservatives in eyeshadow will break down over time, even if the product is unopened. However, they will break down more slowly in an unopened package.

It’s impossible to say for sure whether an unopened eyeshadow is bad. We would suggest going through the list above and judging on a case-by-case basis.

Should I Throw Away Old Makeup Palettes?

Many of these makeup palettes can be placed in the recycle bin, assuming you clean out any leftover makeup inside. However, it’s always wise to check your municipal recycling page to confirm you can recycle makeup containers.

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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).