MAC Makeup Expiration

Hey Guys and Dolls!
I get a lot of people asking me how long a certain product is good for, and while it would be impossible to answer you all individually, I can give you the knowledge of how to figure it out yourself. I’m basically going to be giving you information that is only relevant to Estee Lauder Brands,Β  however, some general guidelines for all makeup is available here.
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So, on every product made by Estee Lauder Brands such as MAC and Clinique, there is a “batch code”. This is a code that will help you figure out when your product was made. It will have 3 -4 characters (depending on the month), a letter, and two numbers. The first character is a letter that represents the batch, so the letter “A” would mean the first batch, “B” would be the second, so on and so fourth. the second character represents the month, so 1 would represent January, 2 would represent Febuary, and so on. The last character represents the year, so 7 stands for 2007, 8 would be 2008, etc… 

So, A17 would mean it was the first batch of January 2007; M38 would be the 13th batch of March 2008. Get it? Got it? Good. Now here’s a few pictures as examples. They use different methods and colors, some are white, some black, some stamped, and there are different fonts:

Now that you know when your products was made, you need to find out how long it’s good for. On the box or packaging the product came in, there will be a little picture of a open jar with a number next to a M. The M represents months. So something that says 12M that means that the product is good for 12 after it has been opened; 24M= 24 months and so on and so on. This “logo” is on the backs of all kinds of products from all different companies. Even my shampoo has it.Β  Here’s an example of what that looks like,

MAC Makeup expiration5

All of this taken into consideration, theΒ  product SHOULD say good until you open it, and expose it to light and air.Β  Things you should never EVER use past the expiration dates are Eyeliner, Mascara, Skin Care, and Foundation. Most e/s and blushes are good for a LONG time, especially if you sanitize your makeup regularly, but that’s another blog entry…. ^_^

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Cora (vintageortacky)


  1. Anjali
    March 14, 2010 / 7:13 pm

    I know I’m reading this almost 10 months after you posted it, but this is SO helpful to me! Esp. when buying products @ the CCO since they carry a lot of d/c’d products. I recently bought a cream shadow & the consistency sucked! I quickly resigned it to the back of my drawer – come to find out its batch code is A68! No wonder it’s crap. I’ll now be throwing it out. Thanks so much for making this video! I’ve looked at tons of other sites for expiration info, and yours is by far the most helpful!

  2. Alana
    February 11, 2013 / 10:23 pm

    Hey Cora! Since they only provide one digit to represent the year, how do they distinguish between years ending in the same number? like 2000 and 2010, etc.?? Thanks.

    • Cora (vintageortacky)
      February 11, 2013 / 11:21 pm

      I think the idea is that if you’re still holing on to makeup from 2000, it’s time to toss it out.

  3. Nadee
    March 27, 2013 / 6:29 am

    Thanks this is really helpful.

  4. Kei
    February 27, 2014 / 3:35 am

    Like I would toss away a MAC blush after its expiration date. πŸ˜‰ It really depends on how much you use it, how good care you take of it, where you store it, how you make sure to sanitize it after use and so on. I would never use up a MAC blush even in 5 years time! Maybe if I used it every day but I have a couple of them, not mentioning other brands… πŸ™‚ So I think that maybe makeup artists should be very careful about the exp dates, because they use products on many people. But a normal user just needs to make sure it’s stored and sanitized well. And the blush will live a long and happy life haha πŸ˜›

    • affy
      February 20, 2015 / 4:20 am

      Hey I really need your help here … I just purchase MAC foundation today and it shows B24 …does that mean its manufactured in 2004??

      • Gauri
        April 13, 2015 / 2:42 am

        No it means feb 2014
        Even i have one with A44 on it

  5. Shilpa Bakshi
    June 20, 2016 / 3:40 am

    Thanked so much useful information

  6. Nina
    July 8, 2016 / 11:51 am

    Hey…I’ve got a liquid eyeliner of MAC which shows ” AC2 ” …how do I read this? Kindly advise.

    Thank u πŸ™‚

  7. September 5, 2016 / 12:12 am

    Hi Ms. Cora. I have MAC Retro matte lipstick and the batch code is A95 – Sept 2015. I cannot see an open jar icon on the box and so I am not sure how long the shelf life of my MAC is. Can you help me? The lipstick is not yet used.

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