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Time to Breakup With Your Makeup? A Guide on When To Throw Out Makeup

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Time to Breakup With Your Makeup? A Guide on When To Throw Out Makeup

How do you know when to throw out makeup that's seen its day? Why should you throw out makeup anyway? This simple guide should help!

The makeup industry continues to grow and it is worth more than $48 billion. Look in your drawer—do you have some old makeup? Old makeup can be bad news because it can cause infections and irritations.

How do you know when to throw out makeup that's seen its day? Why should you throw out makeup anyway? This simple guide should help!

All About the Eyes

Your eyes are one of the first things people see when they look at you. Don't let your eyes get irritated or get an infection by using old makeup. Bacteria can grow in your makeup, so it's vital you throw it out.


Mascara tubes are dark and wet—the perfect place to harbor bacteria. You need to toss mascara every three months to avoid potential eye infections from this bacteria.

Never pump your mascara when applying because it gets additional air into the tube which dries it out faster. Twist the brush and pull along the inside of the tube. You should not share mascara with anyone to help prevent any other irritations.

If you've had an eye infection, make sure you throw out all your eye makeup because that bacteria is still lurking in these products.

Eyeliner and Eye Shadow

Liquid products go bad before powder products. You need to toss all liquid liners and cream eye shadows after about three months. Pencil liners last about six months, and powder shadows are good for up to two years.

Just like mascara, bacteria loves the liquid tube. Pencil liners last longer because you are scraping away the bacteria each time you sharpen it. Use rubbing alcohol to clean your sharpener before use.

Powder shadows last the longest because there is no water. Do not add water to your eye shadow because you are inviting bacteria to come visit. Be sure you change out your eye shadow brushes, too, because they could also cause eye infections.

About Face

If you use liquid foundation, the shelf life is shorter. You can get irritations or breakouts if you don't change out your makeup. Liquid makeup needs to be replaced every six months, and powders are good for about two years.

Liquid makeup can get streaky and have an inconsistent finish if it's old. Oils rise to the top over time and the foundation gets thicker.

Powders don't have the water bacteria need but can get harder to blend and can crumble over time.

You can extend the life of your liquid face makeup by storing it away from sunlight in a dry place. Be sure you seal the lid at all times. You can also extend the life by using squeeze tube or pump bottles of foundation and applying with a sponge.

Replacing Your Makeup Sponges

Using sponges to apply foundation and other creamy makeup like blush or eye shadows are a great way to blend your makeup evenly. How often should you throw these applicators away? You need to pay as much attention to makeup applicators as you do the makeup itself.

Sponges absorb, so they will get contaminated easily. You should replace makeup sponges every three months or when it starts to deteriorate. If you start to break out unexpectedly, this sponge could be the culprit.

Replacing and Cleaning Brushes

You can extend the life of your makeup brushes by cleaning them regularly. Makeup brushes have porous hairs that hold bacteria and oil. Dirty brushes also do not apply makeup evenly.

To clean your brushes, use lukewarm water and light soap. You should clean makeup brushes once a month or twice a month for brushes near the eyes. You should replace brushes every one to five years depending on how often you use them

Keeping Lipstick and Lipliner

Lipsticks have water, so they can easily harbor bacteria. They also dry out over time and do not apply as evenly. You should replace lipstick every two years, while you can keep lipliner for two years or more.

The lipliners last longer if they are the pencil type you sharpen because just like the eyeliner you are removing surface bacteria every time you sharpen.

Lipglosses can be different especially if they have a wand applicator. Bacteria can build up in about size months. Squeeze tube liplgosses are safe for about a year because it is not as easy for bacteria to get in the tube.

Nail Polish Timelines

When nail polish expires, it gets stringy and sticky. You should throw out nail polish every one to two years. You should avoid storing nail polish in the bathroom because the humidity and temperatures can affect its consistency.

Other Cosmetic Products

You should also follow the following timelines to throw out other cosmetic products. Here is a snapshot of these timelines:

  • Acne creams: follow expiration date (or six months)
  • Anti-aging creams: six months
  • Hair products: one year
  • Sunscreen: six months

The best way to keep these products clean is to store in a dry, cool place. You should also look for products with a pump that keeps the air out. You can even get creams that have a tiny hole you push to release cream from the top.

Your When to Throw Out Makeup Timeline

Let's recap the timeline of when you should throw out your makeup:

  • Each new season: Mascara, liquid eye liner, and makeup sponges
  • Every six months: Skin care products, liquid foundations, lipgloss with applicator, and sunscreen
  • Each year: Hair products, tube lipgloss
  • Every two years: Powder cosmetics like eye shadow and pressed powder, nail polish, lipstick

You can extend the life of your product and help it stay fresh by washing and drying your hands before touching the product. When in doubt, it is always best to toss out a product.

You can never have too much makeup, but don't let your makeup go bad. You want to keep your eyes and face glowing for all the right reasons.

Ready for Some New Makeup?

Now that you know when to throw out makeup, you may need to replace a few items. Take a look at our site to find some great replacement cosmetics to keep loving your look. Sign-up for our newsletter to never miss a great sale and to know the latest news.