Make-up Clean Out: Get Rid of the Old and Make Room for the New

There is no better time than the beginning of the year to de-clutter and get rid of the old and bring in the new especially when it comes to your makeup.  Makeup and toiletries can be very expensive so it is understandable that it can be hard to throw away. However they do go bad and most companies are not required to post expiration dates, therefore you must be diligent in ensuring that your collection is safe to use.   As soon as you open your products, bacteria begins to grow.  Here is a guideline of timelines for certain products but remember you have to use your own judgment.  If you have had a product for over two to three years and you don’t use it get rid of it, if the color or odour has changed get rid of it, if it does not perform the way it used to, get rid of it.

Also if you want your products to last longer make sure to store them in a cool, dry place, always use brushes, sponges and applicators, and try to buy pumps instead of jars to avoid contamination. However, if you can’t, try to use disposable spatulas with the products.  Also make sure if you are sick or have an eye infection that you do not use your makeup and if you have throw them away.


Mascara – three to six months
This is a huge breeding ground for bacteria.  Be cognizant of this, because it comes in contact with the most sensitive part of your face – the eyes – so don’t risk it.  If you want it to last longer try to avoid over pumping of the mascara wand as this exposes the product to the air, which will make it dry out much faster.

Liquid Eyeliner – up to six months

Liquid eyeliner is similar to mascara, it comes in direct contact with your eye so if you notice an odour change or change in consistency discard the product.

Concealer – twelve to eighteen months

Cream Blushes – twelve to eighteen months

Powders – up to three years

Powder blushes, bronzers, face powders and eye shadows last the longest because for the most part they are not exposed to any moisture.  With proper care and storage these can last you up to three years but be sure to use your judgment, if you notice a white chalky texture or cracking then you need to toss it.

Loose powders can last for many years but make sure that it is stored away from light and heat and if you notice that moisture has got into the product throw it aw ay.

Pencils – up to three years

Eyeliners and lip liners can last up to three years.  Make sure that you sharpen prior to each use and keep them sharpened regularly.  Keep their caps on!

Brushes & Sponges

Keep all of your makeup applicators clean at all times.  It will help to extend the life cycle and keep it more hygienic.  I spray a napkin with alcohol and I wipe my brushes across it until clean in between colours and upon completion of my makeup.  Every two to three months you should clean them thoroughly with a mild detergent such as a shampoo or a brush cleanser. You can get a good one at MAC or Quo at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Sponges should be washed weekly and discarded on a monthly basis.

Foundation –twelve to eighteen months

Water-based and cream foundations can last up to 12 months while oil-based foundations can last up to 18 months.

Lipsticks & Glosses

Lipstick can last anywhere from two to four years but you must watch the smell of the product.  When lipstick goes bad it will have a rancid smell so you will know when to toss it. Some experts say if you want them to last longer, keep them refrigerated. Lip gloss can last anywhere from 18-24 months.

Nail polish – up to two years

Nail polish is tricky – I have definitely had polish for over two years however this is a circumstance where you want to use your good judgment.  Storing polish in the refrigerator is supposed to extend the life of the product.  Watch out for separation of the pigment and oils.  If you give it a good shake and it doesn’t mix then it is time to get rid of it.  Note the smell of the product as well.  If it gets hard or thick it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad, sometimes you just need to use a thinning product to bring life back to that perfect nail color.

Perfume – up to 10 years

Perfumes from department stores are in bottles that have been made to protect the product from the air.  The scents can last up to 10 years but you must store your perfume in a cool dry place, possibly keep it in the original box and put it in a linen closet.  The bathroom is one of the worst storage spots for any cosmetics because of the heat and moisture.  Also keep away from windows as the light can affect it as well.  Watch for a change in colour and smell, a vinegary smell will alert you and you should toss the product.


Moisturizer – six -12 months

Moisturizers can last six-12 months with proper care for the product. Make sure to use clean hands or a clean disposable spatula to use the product. Keep lids tight.  If you notice a strange odour get rid of it.

Toner, Exfoliants, Eye creams – six -12 months

Cream & Gel Cleansers – up to one year

Until next time stay fabulous!

Samantha Fayman

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