How long does moisturiser last? Here's when it's time to bin your skincare products

How long does moisturiser last? Here's when it's time to bin your skincare products

It's the question that has transcended time - how long does moisturiser last?

We have been spending billions of dollars on creams that we hope will provide us with eternal youth. Or at the very least, fewer bags.

Everyone has their swear-by product, that they can't live without. And when you do get tempted to try something new it doesn't always go to plan. But that doesn't mean we're willing to get rid of them.

So, when is it time to let your products go? The results may surprise you.

How long does moisturiser last? Credit: Pexels

How long does moisturiser last?

I am a full-on moisturiser addict. So I’ve got more than my fair share of half-used pots stuffed into drawers.

Fortunately, a simple moisturiser should last between one and two years.

READ MORE: Here's when it's time to bin your makeup once opened

Although ones with added vitamins will have a shorter lifespan as the active ingredients expire.

Make a note to use clean hands when you’re dipping into it to ensure you’re not introducing bacteria to the pot.

Face washes, cleansers and toners

Cleanser and toner keeps your skin looking clean and bright.

But after six to eight months these products are more likely to be harbouring bacteria, mostly caused by the germs that come with everyday use.

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Oil and cream-based products will resist the germs longer than foamier water-based versions. But for maximum spot banishing it's worth starting afresh every once in a while.

Face and eye creams

Anti-aging creams often contain ingredients such as retinols and antioxidants that don’t take long to decline in quality.

So, I’m afraid that despite being the most expensive items in your routine, once opened they’re only going to be good for three to six months.

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After that, they won’t do your face any harm, but they probably won’t do it much good either.

Face oils

Facial oils promise to give you silky, hydrated skin. And while some feel a bit nervous about covering their face in something this heavy, the good news is that it can last a really long time. Make sure you store it in a cool, dark place. And some even recommend that you keep it in your refrigerator.

Peels and masks

Face peels and masks can last for up to two years (unopened, duh). But if you’ve got one that’s been lying around for a while then be sure to pay attention to its consistency, colour and texture.

Over time, the chemicals in these products can break down, doing more harm than good to your skin. Unsurprisingly, clay masks can dry out so may last considerably less time. Whatever type you go for, these should have a calming effect. So if you put it on and it stings then whack it off, quickly.


Although spot-fighting products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid might hang around your drawers longer than other products because they’re only used occasionally, they’re actually one of the fastest spoiling products. After three to six months these active ingredients start to deteriorate, so you’re basically just smudging empty sauce on your face and blocking your pores more. Charming.


There’s a reason that microbead pollution in the ocean is such a big deal - it’s because exfoliating products are virtually indestructible. Once opened, exfoliators can easily last for two years although it’s worth keeping an eye out that water and other bacteria-breeding gunk isn’t getting into it, especially if it’s in a pot rather than a squeezy tube. If it looks a bit minging, it’s ready for slinging.


We’ve all got a bottle of suncream in the back of a cupboard somewhere, a nostalgic throwback to that sun-kissed/burnt week in Crete a couple of years back.

And on the rare occasions that summertime actually goes full whack, we slap a bit on and soak up the sweet coconut smell that reminds us of far-flung shores. It’s only sensible, right? Well once opened suncream has a recommended shelf life of just six months, although can last longer is stored in a cool, dark place. Many will have individual instructions on, but if not then it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Body lotion

Unopened, a bottle of body lotion can last up to three years, but check it for smell and consistency before you smear. As with moisturisers, they should last a year or two once they're opened, but keep watch for anything that doesn't feel or smell as it should. There's nothing okay about being smooth and sexy but smelly.

All the other stuff

Of course, none of these quite work without a few other all-important tools of the trade, all of which have their own best before dates, even if not in the traditional sense.

Face wipes, the staple of gym bags and the post-night-out wind-down, should last for a couple of years unopened, but should be chucked when they start to dry out; loofahs should be changed every three weeks, at a minimum; body brushes as soon as the bristles start to look a little beat up.

It’s not only skincare products that go off after a while - make-up does too. And no matter how much cream and overpriced serum we slather onto our face, it’s skin-friendly nutrition that really can make the biggest difference to whether we’re feeling polished or pimply. But hopefully, this little guide on how long moisturiser last as well as other skincare products will separate the spoiled from the saviours when it comes to keeping your skin on top form.