When It’s Time to Toss Out Your Makeup Products

New year, new cosmetics collection? Once you find the perfect mascara, foundation, or lipstick, it can be pretty hard to let it go (no product-shaming here). However, keeping your makeup products for too long can lead to nasty consequences – namely skin irritation, unwanted breakouts, or eye infections. Not to mention, some ingredients lose their potency after a certain time. Just like medicine and food, your cosmetics have a shelf life and are not made to last an eternity. While you should always look for an expiration date, not all products have them, so you may need to do a bit of guesswork. Here, your guide to knowing when to toss out your expired makeup products.

Liquid Foundation and Concealer: 8-12 months

The consistency of the product will begin to change over time. You’ll be able to tell it’s time to toss when the solution becomes watery and begins to separate (because oil is heavier than water). Applying foundation or concealer that is past its prime can lead to skin irritations or pesky breakouts.

  • Foundation should be kept in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
  • To help prevent over contamination in both your concealer and foundation, wash your applicators frequently. Recommended: at least twice a week.
  • A powder-based formula has a longer shelf life than a liquid or cream base.

Mascara: 3-6 months

With products like mascara, err on the side of caution. Although the general rule is 3 months, do note that some brands say that it has a life span of 6 months before it should be tossed out.

  • Mascara is a breeding ground for bacteria. Excessively pumping the wand into the tube will trap air and potential germs, so moderately do this.
  • Never, absolutely never, share mascaras, as it promotes cross-contamination.
  • If it is clumpy, has a bad smell, or has dried up, buy a new one.

Powder Eyeshadow & Blush : 2 years

Pressed eye shadow and blush can be kept around for a lot longer. They are less prone to contamination because of their low water content. After some aging, they will start to look packed down and become difficult to apply.

  • It’s important to watch their performance, as they can dry out over time and not deliver the best results.
  • Do not use your eyeshadow if you have an eye infection.
  • Keep your palettes closed to prevent them from coming in contact with dust and bacteria.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss : 2 years

The water content of these products can cause them to dry out as the water evaporates. Creamy lipsticks can lose their smooth texture and apply unevenly.

  • If it starts to feel scratchy, dry out, smell funky, or the color changes, say goodbye.
  • When a lipstick becomes dry it’ll be difficult to apply, which means it’s time to let it go. When the gloss becomes tacky and hard to separate, it’s past it’s peak performance.
  • Be sure to wash your lipstick brush at least once a week, if this your method of application.

Liquid Eyeliner : 3-6 months

Liquid eyeliner should be treated similarly to mascara, particularly because it comes in direct contact with your eyes. Since there is no way to effectively sanitize liquid liner, it’s better to be safe than sorry: throw this product out after 3-6 months.

  • Do not add water to prolong the shelf life of your liner. This increases bacteria and can lead to can lead to itchiness, redness and possibly conjunctivitis.
  • Pencil liners will last a bit longer than liquid liners, as you can keep your eyes safe from bacteria by sharpening your pencil before each use. 

So, now that you have a general idea of when makeup actually expires, go through your collection, toss out those old makeup products, and have a new year decluttering session! Which products are you guilty of keeping way longer than recommended? Mine is definitely mascara.

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