How to Tell if Your Skincare Products Have Expired

How to Tell if Your Skincare Products Have Expired
by Truly Beauty

All good things come to an end -- including your skincare products.

Believe it or not, beauty products have an expiry date, too. Most of the time, you'll find a little stamp on each product's packaging or label that tells you its expiration date. It looks like a little open jar with a number inside (officially known as the PAO logo), and it's something we urge you to look for to ensure you're getting the most out of your skincare.

The trouble with using expired products is that they might start to lose their potency, which means they stop working so effectively. Plus, bacteria and fungi can grow which have the potential to irritate your skin and cause everything from redness to itching and flaking.

To keep your cleansers, lotions, and serums working their best, here are some telltale signs to look for that indicate your products need to go.


Signs of Expired Skincare Products

Want to know when it's time to part ways with your sunscreens, moisturizers, and eye creams? Here are some signs to look out for.

1. Change in Smell

Like with food, once your vitamin C serum, SPF, or makeup products start to smell a little funky, it could be because they're a number of months past their expiry date. That's a clear sign they need to be thrown away, and replaced with new products.

2. Change in Shade

Products that start to change color are products that have been in your beauty cabinet for way too long. Splurge on new products to save yourself some unpleasant side effects, such as irritation and skin infections. 

3. Change in Texture

Does your moisturizer feel a little more watery than usual? That could indicate it's past its expiry date, and that it's time to replace it. We know you probably want to get the most out of it before throwing it away, but even if it's half-full, it's better to get rid of it now than to put yourself at risk of redness, breakouts, and flaking. 

4. It's Not Absorbing into Your Skin

When you massage in your serum or night cream, does it no longer absorb the way it used to? Rather it sits on the skin, failing to absorb completely? Warning: your products are out of date and destined for the trash can. 

5. It's No Longer Giving You Desired Results

Those active ingredients in your oils, serums, and acne products don't work forever. Once a product's shelf life expires, these products can quickly become rancid and as a result, active ingredients no longer work as efficiently as they once did. So, if you notice your acne treatments no longer keep you clear, it could be because the salicylic acid inside (aka, the active ingredient) has expired, leaving it less potent and less able to decongest your pores and clarify blemishes. 


What's the Average Shelf Life Of Skincare Products?

Curious how long your opened and unopened products last? Here's a complete list of how long to keep your skincare products in order to get the most out of your skincare routine.


Unopened: Up to three years
Opened: Up to one year


Unopened: Up to three years
Opened: Up to one year  

Products with Active Ingredients (AHAs, Retinol, BHA)

Unopened or opened: Six months


Unopened: Up to three years

Opened: No longer than one year


As for makeup products, mascara, foundation, and lipstick should be replaced every six to eight months, while eyeshadow can last up to two years. 


How to Extend the Longevity of Your Skincare Products 

It isn't just the expiry date stamped on a product that determines its longevity. If you don't handle a product properly, it can impact the shelf life by causing it to degrade faster. For example, storing your favorite glycolic acid serum in a warm, sunny place can quickly cause it to break down and ultimately stop working. 

Other factors that speed up product deterioration include dipping your fingers directly into face creams and mask jars, exposing products to moisture, and extreme temperature changes. 

While it's not possible to extend a product's expiry date, there are things you can do to avoid shortening their shelf life. For starters, always store a product correctly -- usually in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Next, avoid sticking your fingers into your products unless you've thoroughly washed them first. Alternatively, scoop just the right amount of product using Truly's Gold Ice Cream Scoop or Luxury Gold Spoon. These applicators keep everything clean and hygienic, helping to extend the lifeline of your fave products.


Shop Skincare Products

Ready to renew your old, expired products or perhaps you're looking to bring in some new baddies? Here are some of our favorite skincare routines you can try.

Anti-Blemish Facial Kit

Bolstered by blemish-busting ingredients like hemp, salicylic acid, and vitamin A, this breakout-clearing bundle is here to help you take control of your acne! Anti Blemish Facial Kit contains everything you need to get clear once and for all: facial cleanser, facial serum, facial mask, and toning solution.



Vegan Collagen Bundle

Retinol, vegan collagen, and vitamin C join forces in this anti-aging kit to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles while fading discoloration and improving skin tone. Our new revolutionary first of its kind vegan collagen line includes your best weapons for youthful skin: serum, face mask, facial cleanser, and body cream.



Dry Skin Kit

Hydrate, plump, and dewify your skin with our 4-step Dry Skin Kit. Featuring a mist, cream, serum, and lip balm, this dryness-targeting collection secures dewiness (not greasiness!) like never before. It uses powerhouse ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin C to moisturize and rejuvenate your complexion.



While skincare products typically contain preservatives to make them last longer, they still have an expiry date. If you want to ensure your skincare routine continues working its best, pay attention to the date listed on your products as well as any changes in texture, color, or smell. 



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