There's A Super Easy Way To Tell Your Makeup Is Expired That You Probably Never Realized

by Kelsi Zimmerman
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Unfortunately, like most things, your makeup doesn't last forever. And while, unlike food, cosmetics won't necessarily start to curdle and mold when they start to hit the end of their lifespan, they can cause irritation and sometimes even infections when they're used past the point of expiration. But how can you tell if your makeup is expired? It's actually a lot easier than you probably think.

For starters, if you've ever taken a close look at the label of most beauty products, then you've likely noticed a small picture of an opened jar with a number and the letter "M" listed inside the jar. This symbol represents what is known as the "period after opening" date, according to INSIDER. For example, if you see the jar symbol with "18M" inside, that means that the product is typically good for a period of 18 months after you open it.

However, in addition to the "period after opening date," there are quite a few other physical indicators that can be a sign your product has expired. So if you forgot when you first unscrewed your mascara or when you opened your moisturizer, don't fret. I've broken down a few other ways that will help you figure out if it's time to get rid of your makeup.

Courtesy of Kelsi Zimmerman

1. Change In Texture

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Although your makeup might not curdle like spoiled milk, the texture can still change, which is a telling sign that you need to toss it. From nail polishes to mascaras, to liquid foundations, and plenty of other cosmetics, if the texture has changed, that means that it's no longer good to use.

Both mascara and liquid foundation typically get clumpy and dry once they have expired, while your nail polish tends to get thicker. According to Allure, when your nail polish, specifically, has become thick, with the pigments settling along the bottom of the bottle (even after you give it a good shake), then it is definitely time to part with it.

2. Discoloration

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This may seem a little obvious, but it's still just as important as any other sign. If the pigment in any of your makeup products has changed, that's a definite way to tell that your product is no good. According to All Women's Talk, if your liquid foundation has changed in color since you first bought it, you should throw it out, as that is a surefire sign that it has expired. Besides, who wants to use the wrong colored foundation anyway?

3. A Foul Smell

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If your scented products have completely lost their scent, or if a product has otherwise developed a gaseline- or vinegar-like smell, then throw those bad boys out, per No one wants to go around all day wearing a product that has an unpleasant smell, and it'll likely end up irritating your skin.

4. Weird Application

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If your creamy lipstick bullet no longer goes on smoothly and, instead, is hard to apply, then it's time to toss it. "You'll know a lipstick has gone bad when it gets hard and you can't spread the pigment on your lips," makeup artist Pati Dubroff told Allure. "Lip gloss will feel streaky and globby if you try to apply it." This also goes for products like liquid eyeliners, lip balms, and liquid eyeshadows.

5. Skin Irritation

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Let's hope that you figure out your product is expired before it irritates your skin, but if makeup makes your skin red and itchy, then throw it out ASAP.

Mascara, specifically, can be a major cause for irritated skin and eyes if you use it after it has expired. According to INSIDER, the FDA recommends getting a new mascara right when your old one becomes dry, even if that's before the "period after opening" date.

6. Chalkiness Or A White Film

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Dubroff also told Allure if your product has a chalky white film or a white spot that can't be sharpened or scraped off, then it's time to say goodbye.

7. Ineffectiveness

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After all is said and done and there are no other physical signs of expiration but your product just doesn't seem to be working its magic like it used to, then odds are, it's no longer doing you any good. If your hairspray is no longer slicking back your fly-aways or your moisturizer is no longer keeping your skin hydrated like it used to, it's probably time to toss 'em and invest in something new.

While I know it may be hard to throw out your favorite lippie or other products that you want to hold on to, sometimes, you (and your skin) will just be better off without it.