Is It Ok to Use Expired BB Cream?

Is it ok to use expired BB cream? Virtually all makeup wearers have been in that situation where there’s a questionable bottle in the back of your vanity or cabinet. Most find themselves hesitant to use the product, whatever brand it may be, if it’s past its expiration date. Others aren’t even aware that makeup has an expiration date.

And then there are those who’ve seen the expiration date but still wonder if they can get their money’s worth on the unused product without any real risk. One of the most common types of makeup goes by many names, including blemish balm and beauty balm – but everyone knows it as BB cream. If you’ve found your cosmetics drawer depleted and are tempted to squeeze the last out of a bottle that’s clearly past its date, read on before making any rash decisions.

Is it ok to use expired BB cream?

The quick and straightforward answer: no. Don’t do it.

Like many types of makeup, BB creams are water-based. This means that the longer the cream sits in its bottle, particularly after it’s been opened, the more opportunity there is for multitudes of bacteria to grow and thrive.

Once you know that your tube of BB cream has almost certainly transformed into a bottle of bacteria, the last thing any sensible person would want to do is rub it all over their face. Whether you have sensitive skin or not, applying expired BB cream to the face in any amount is bound to lead to breakouts, rashes, or worse. In the most extreme cases, you might find yourself with a bacterial infection.

What if it’s just old?

Even if your makeup is within its expiration date but has simply gone past its prime, you still might be putting your face at risk of breaking out or suffering other unpleasant reactions. When stored properly and in optimal conditions, your beauty creams should stay good until the date stamped on the bottle. However, as all makeup wearers know, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has a 100% track record for proper makeup storage protocol.

It’s not hard to accidentally leave a bottle open if you’re in a hurry getting ready for work or school, and if a lid breaks or is lost, you’re out of luck. When exposed to extreme temperatures, the lifespan of the cream is impacted substantially, sometimes causing cracks in the bottle.

When it comes to any type of makeup or cream, it’s best to use your own judgment and common sense on a case-by-case basis. If a cream seems questionable, it’s probably easier to just buy a fresh bottle than have to deal with the facial fallout.

How do I tell the difference?

Since there’s now this question of whether your makeup might have gone bad even before the expiration date, discerning the difference between fresh BB cream and a bottle that’s gone bad is an invaluable skill. Occasionally, you’ll come across a bottle that was sold in a separate package with the expiration date on that – and is now long gone. And very rarely, the expiration date will have worn off – but if that’s the case, it’s an extremely high chance that the bottle has already expired anyway.

A good rule of thumb is to switch out your creams every year. If you want to be on the safer side, you can switch to a six-month cycle. Most creams last somewhere within that six-to-twelve-month period. You can ensure that you’re keeping up to date on your makeup reserves by labeling each bottle with the date you bought it.

Most of the time, though, you’ll find the expiration date clearly stamped onto the tube or bottle. If you have that, it’s the best thing to go by.

What’s the worst that can happen?

In short, a lot. Far too many people fall under the mistaken impression that if you can’t see or smell anything unusual, it’s probably fine. This, unfortunately, has been the first misstep in countless real-life medical nightmares.

Serious infections can occur which may then grow more serious if left untreated. Since your face includes a number of highly vulnerable areas like the eyes, nose, and mouth, you’re giving bacteria a free pass to enter the body by using an expired product.

Obviously, each person’s reaction will vary depending on the state of the cream and their skin’s sensitivity. Even if the effects aren’t generally life-threatening, the risk of breaking out or developing an uncomfortable rash is a risk that most makeup wearers are still intent on avoiding.

OK, so the BB cream is expired. What do I do with it?

Simple answer: throw it in the trash. The very best thing you can do for yourself is to immediately remove the temptation to give in and make a poor decision for your health. It’s also easy to mistakenly grab an expired bottle when rushing through your morning routine if it’s just sitting there innocently on the shelf. Unfortunately, expired bottles are still generally identical to unexpired ones – minus an emptier appearance and some wear and tear – so it’s important to keep them firmly separated.

Again, the worst possible thing you could do with an expired bottle of BB cream is put it anywhere near your face or the rest of your body. The water content in the solution creates everything to supply breeding grounds for any number of types of bacteria. Even though you can’t see it, your makeup very well might be teeming with life.

Those who are particularly crafty might see this cosmetic hindrance as an opportunity to create something fun and functional. Depending on the size and shape of the packaging, you might be able to turn it into a small planter. Other containers make perfect desktop organizers or pencil boxes. These are all good brainstorming options for you to create your own idea rather than creating more garbage.

The Good News

Since most BB cream users are regular wearers of makeup, it’s not hard to get through a regular-sized bottle before running up the expiration clock. If you’re putting on makeup as part of your daily or even weekly routine, you’ll probably find yourself going through multiple bottles a year. As long as you use each cream to completion, you should be fine.

The problem, then, comes in when a makeup user lets old creams get pushed to the side in favor of some flashy new product. It’s good practice to keep careful stock of your makeup collection because no matter what it is, your best bet is to stay within the recommended expiration dates.

I bought BB cream that was already expired – now what?

If you still have your receipt, it’s always a good idea to return the product. Store employees are almost always happy to exchange it for a new one since they want to keep your business. Sometimes, mixups in the stockroom will lead to rogue expired products being put out on the shelf when they definitely shouldn’t have. When in doubt, you can always call the company that makes the product directly, and they may be able to help you get a free bottle.

An Opportunity to Shop

Most of us who wear makeup love shopping for it, and there are some who enjoy it almost as much as the experience of actually wearing it. If that’s you as well, you can see this expired bottle as even less of a problem and more of a blessing in disguise.

If making it to your preferred cosmetics store doesn’t fit into your busy schedule and you have an emergency situation on your hands, it’s always easy to shop online. Fast shipping means you should have your product waiting for you at your door in as little as one day, so if your situation can wait that long, it’s a smart way to shop.

Covergirl Smothers BB Cream is a popular choice. Their line of cream features multiple skin benefits, including a broad-spectrum SPF 21 to keep your face protected from harmful UV rays. It’s great for facial hydration, strong enough to last all day. No matter how needy or sensitive your skin is, you’ll always feel smooth and soft with any blemishes discretely covered.

From L’Oreal Paris, there’s Lumi Glotion if you’re looking for a naturally vibrant look that accurately matches your own skin tone. While staying true to who you are, this cream accentuates your look with an illuminating tint that highlights your best features. All while doing this, it’s hydrating and protecting your skin starting from the moment you apply it.

If you’re a loyal Maybelline user, their Dream Fresh skin hydrating cream has excellent reviews from users. This hydrating beauty balm is taking care of your face in more ways than one. In addition to smoothing out any imperfections, it’s brightening and enhancing your appearance. With SPF 30, it’s also giving you the protection you need to enjoy the day responsibly. It’s also oil-free, so you don’t have to worry about looking or feeling greasy after putting it on.

The Bottom Line

No matter how desperate you may be, no matter how good or innocent of an idea it might seem at the time, you should never use expired makeup of any kind. This includes BB creams and other water-based products. It only takes one time to learn this lesson the hard way, but you can save yourself the trouble by not doing it at all.

Further reading material

Want to learn more about BB cream? Simply click on one of the links below!

Do You Put BB Cream on Before or After Foundation?
What Goes First BB Cream or Concealer?
What Is BB Cream vs Concealer?

Joy-Lee Founder and writer of wevaluebeauty.com

Joy-Lee

Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of wevaluebeauty.com. As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!