The other day I looked in my makeup bag and decided it was time for some long overdue “spring cleaning.” I try to be good about this because I have such ridiculously sensitive skin and eyes…but sometimes I lose track. I really wish cosmetics were required to have expiration dates on them like groceries. :-)
Recently I came across a good tip: if you have trouble keeping track of how long ago it was you purchased something (like me!) just use a Sharpie to write down the purchase date on it. Brilliant! Then you can refer to the guidelines below to figure out when you need to TOSS your makeup.
If your foundation has a pump then it will stay fresh longer, but if you are dabbing your fingers into a bottle everyday you should think of tossing your foundation makeup every 6-8 months. Keep in mind that your foundation color can change at least twice a year anyway, so just get in the habit of tossing you foundation makeup every 6 months.
Cream blush should be replaced after a year. To prolong the life of any blush, clean your blush brush regularly and store the color in a dark, dry place. If your blush gets wet, you run the risk of promoting bacterial growth. Moisture can come in the form of residue from your foundation and face cream as well. To prevent this from happening, after applying foundation and moisturizer, wait a couple minutes before putting on blush.
Powder blush and powder bronzers fall into a more extended category since most of us change our colors each season. With proper care, and clean brushes, you can squeeze up to 2 years out of your powder brush or bronzer.
Mascara & Liquid Eyeliner
Most experts suggest throwing away liquid eyeliner and mascara every 3 months. Personally, I usually use it until it starts to dry out, but that is never more than 6 months. You should be fine up to 6 months unless it starts to dry out or get clumpy. The only exception is if you get an eye infection. If that happens you need to toss all eye makeup and buy new.
Powdered eyeshadow will normally last for up to 2 years, as long as you wash your brushes regularly and don’t reuse them after an eye infection. However, since my eyes are pretty sensitive, I replace powder shadows after about 4-6 months. Even though they are similar in formulation to other powders, because they’re constantly in contact with your eyes, they can pick up bacteria and bring it back to the eye very easily.
Lipstick, lip gloss, and lipliner can last for up to 2 years, if you don’t use them up first. The risk of them growing bacteria is low since they don’t contain any water. But since they’re repeatedly exposed to the mouth area, replacing them after a year might be a better idea, or if you’ve recently been sick.
Nail polish is the Energizer Bunny of the beauty world because it just keeps going. It won’t go bad from bacteria, but eventually it will become thick and clumpy, and the pigments will settle on the bottom of the bottle. If you shake it, and it remains separated, it’s time to toss.
While you’re at it… toss anything you haven’t used in the last year. Chances are if you haven’t used it in 12 months, you’re not going to be using it any time soon… so toss it to make room for something you’ll use and enjoy!
If cleaned and stored properly, good brushes can last for years, but when the bristles start to fray or fall out, it’s time for a new set. Click here for tips on cleaning and caring for your makeup brushes.
If you take care of your cosmetics, your cosmetics will take care of you. The above guidelines should help….but make sure to use your common sense as well. If your gloss is gloppy, your nail polish is separating, or your mascara has a funny smell — it’s time to TOSS IT. And any makeup that has come into contact with illness or infection (like eyeliner or mascara after an eye infection) should also be given a fond farewell. Better safe than sorry!