Unmasking the Truth: Do Face Masks Expire?

Some make you look scary, some make your skin tingle, some add beautiful gold accents to your face, and others feel incredibly refreshing. There are thousands of different types of face masks.

Unless you’ve recently participated in spring cleaning, the chances are that there are at least five forgotten-about face masks in your bathroom cupboard right now.

But are these forgotten-about, dusty masks okay to use? Do face masks expire?

Sadly, the answer is yes, but the shelf life of these miracle workers varies by product.

Continue reading as we explore some of the most commonly asked questions about face mask usage, expiration, storage, and more. 

How Do Face Masks Work?

Before we discuss storage and expiration, we need to talk about how face and sheet masks work so you can understand why it may not be okay to use an expired one. 

These skincare products create a mini-environment by creating a barrier between your skin and the air. Here, moisture is trapped, and the mask can give your skin the special concoction that you chose.

Masks can help with hydration, acne, redness, dull skin, dark spots, fine lines, and more. 

This mini-environment allows the beauty product ingredients to penetrate your skin and pores deeply in a short period of time. 

How Long Do Face Masks Last?

First of all, every face or sheet mask you have should have an expiration date printed on the packaging. Read the entire label because some masks include a manufacturing date and expiry date, which will clearly be very different.

Generally, they last for about one to three years. This time period changes depending on the ingredients, how you store them, and if they have been opened or not. 

If the mask is unopened, it is probably safe to use an expired sheet mask for about six months after the printed expiration date. If it has been opened, I would stick to the date printed on the package. 

Products with natural ingredients are great, but they can expire faster than chemical-based products. For example, face masks with vitamin C or vitamin E will lose their functionality and potency faster. 

How Should I Store My Face Masks?

While the bathroom cabinets are a popular place to store face masks, there is actually a better location. Many women swear by storing their masks in the fridge.

If you are wondering, do face masks expire in the fridge?

Yes, they still do, but they protect some active ingredients more than a dark, warm environment, helping them last longer. 

Another benefit of storing the masks in the fridge is that the cold temperature helps to increase blood circulation when you apply it.

This helps you to absorb the special nutrients in your mask, feel refreshed, and lessen any puffiness. 

Is It Okay to Use an Expired Face Mask?

Well, it depends.

Is your skin sensitive? If so, you might not want to risk it.

An expired face mask can lead to burning, itchiness, a rash, acne, or other conditions. However, if you’re really set on using the mask, cut a small piece of the expired mask off and do a patch test.

If you do not have a bad reaction, you can most likely use it on your face without fear. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that an expired face mask might not work as well as you expect. The ingredients may have lost their potency by the time you get around to using it. 

If you are unsure if your mask is expired, and also if it is, examine it.

Check the color, consistency, and smell of the product.

If anything seems off, it’s better to toss it and take it as a loss. 

When Should I Use a Face Mask During My Beauty Routine?

First of all, depending on the type of mask, some should only be used once a week, while others can be used every day.

Either way, the beginning stages are the same. 

  • Remove any makeup.
  • Start with a clean surface – this includes your hands and your face. (If you’re feeling lazy, you can use the face mask right after cleaning and drying your face. If you want to get the best benefits, you’ll want to follow a few more steps.)
  • Exfoliate your skin. This will get the dead skin off, allowing the nutrients to penetrate your skin even deeper. (Again, after this step, you can apply the mask… or prepare your skin even further)
  • If you wish to continue, now is the time to use a toner. 
  • If you usually use a serum, apply the serum, wait ten minutes, and apply the face mask.

Depending on the mask, some will be worn for a matter of minutes, while others can be left on overnight.

While you may think leaving a mask on longer than instructed is good for your skin, it can actually dehydrate it. It’s always best to follow the instructions.

After removing your mask, you can apply toner again to help close your pores and rebalance the skin.

Then, apply a light moisturizer to keep your skin glowy and hydrated. 


Using a face mask during your beauty routine is a great way to unwind, relax, and improve your skin. As much as we all love to hoard them for a rainy day, it’s best to use them within one to two years of purchasing them. 

While the answer to the question, “do face masks expire?,” is different for each mask, it’s best not to risk it.

Even if it doesn’t irritate your skin, you will likely not receive the nutrients and results you expected if the product is expired.