When to Toss Your Makeup
While you might not think of your makeup as something that has an expiration date, you should be using your products within a certain amount of time to get the best use out of them. It’s easy to let makeup products pile up without realizing it, and some of us have a hard time letting go of old products even if we haven’t used them in years. It’s important to know when to let it go, however.
Old beauty products can actually end up damaging your skin. When you have a product for a long time, it gets exposed to a lot of air and therefore a lot of bacteria. This can cause breakouts and other skin issues in the long run if you keep using bad products.
You don’t need to get rid of all of your older products, as some last longer than others. Follow these general guidelines to see how long your makeup lasts and what you should be tossing:
Foundation and concealer
This depends on the formula. Powder foundations last the longest and are good for up to two years. Cream based or liquid foundations and concealers contain oil and break down a little faster. These last about 12-18 months.
Lipstick and lip pencils generally last about two years. Lipsticks tend to dry out with age however, and most people can use up a lipstick before the two year mark anyway. Lip pencils stay clean by sharpening them regularly. Lip glosses should be tossed after about one year, especially if they become extra sticky.
Blush and bronzer
The rules for foundation apply here as well. Powder blushes and bronzers can last up to two years. If you wash the brushes you use with these frequently, you will get a longer life out of them. Cream-based products don’t last as long and should be thrown away after about a year.
As with all powder products, if you keep your brushes clean you will extend the life of your shadows. You can safely use eyeshadows for up to two years. Cream shadows last about six months.
Liquid eyeliner should be tossed after 4-6 months. Bacteria can build up after a few months and the product itself tends to dry up after a while. Pencil liners last longer and are freshened every time you sharpen them, as with lip liners.
Just like liquid liners, mascara can be a breeding ground for bacteria when the used product is sitting around for too long. Mascara is usually okay for 3-6 months. If it starts to get clumpy or dry, toss it before then.
How often you replace your brushes depends on the quality of the brush and how well you take care of them. You should wash your brushes at least once a week. Ideally, however, if you use your brushes every day, you should be washing them every day.
With the right maintenance, a good quality brush can last you up to five years. Clean brushes also lay the foundation for the rest of your makeup and leave your products clean and free of bacteria.
Allison Lundy is a recent college grad, writer, area professional and lover of all things beauty. Raised in southern Virginia, Allison moved to the DMV to pursue her aspirations of a career in politics. She attended George Mason, where she discovered her love of writing at the student newspaper. During the day, Allison works in government affairs for a small trade association in northern Virginia. When she isn’t busy working and/or being a political junkie, Allison focuses on her other passions – beauty and fashion. She is always looking for the newest trends and trying out new products.