When it’s Time to Toss it

posted in: Tips and Tricks | 1

When to dispose of old makeup

We all have our favorites and they are hard to part with – a favorite mug, sweater, or bag. Even though we can become quickly attached to our makeup, this is one of our favorites we should not hold on to.

We can often come across the perfect shade of lipstick or eyeshadow that we randomly found months or even (true confession) years ago, and can’t find again. So it’s naturally tempting to just keep using it sparingly until it’s completely run out. The problem with that is that make-up does have a shelf life, and bacteria builds on it from usage which can do more harm that you may realize.


Here’s a little list of what should be replaced and when:


Mascara & Eyeliner

Your eyes are sensitive and can easily be affected by even a small amount of bacteria. That’s why it’s so important to replace mascara every 3 months and liquid eyeliners every 3-6 months. Plus, most of us were taught to pump mascara, but this actually dries it out even faster because it introduces more air. Instead, swirl the brush inside the tube. But it still won’t last much longer than 3 months. Sorry.

Liquid liners with an application brush should be replaced every 6 months but pencil liners will last much longer because you reduce bacteria buildup every time you sharpening the tip. But once the pencil starts tugging on your skin, that’s a sign that it’s ending has arrived.


Lipstick & Gloss

The ingredients in lipsticks start to break down after one year, and the longer you have them, the more bacterial build-up there is. Gloss used with an applicator also should be thrown away after about 6 months, but glosses that come in a squeeze tube will last about twice as long since it’s less easily contaminated with bacteria.

When to dispose of lipstick and lipgloss



If you have a favorite eyeshadow, rest easy: the powder forms can last a good 2 years and the creams can go for about 1 year, so long as they are applied with a clean brush.


Foundation & Concealer

Foundations in a tube or pump will last you about 1 year, so long as it’s stored in a cool dry place. If yours comes in a small container, bacteria is more easily introduced to it if you use your fingers, so try to remember to use a clean brush or sponge to apply it.

Concealers can last around 12-18 months when applied with a clean brush or sponge before their color starts to change.

Makeup with Fake Tan


Blush & Bronzer

Since they don’t have any oils or water, blushes and bronzers last longer than other make-up and can be replaced about every 2 years. If you notice that the color starts to cake up or darken, then this signals it is time to toss it.


Makeup Brushes & Makeup SpongesChristie Brinkley Authentic Skincare Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Depending on their quality, brushes should last you from 1 – 5 years with regular cleaning and good maintenance. They need a good scrubbing at least once a week to keep it free of bacteria and dirt. (See Clean Your Makeup Brushes! for more information)

Sponges, on the other hand, should be washed after every use and then tossed after about 2-3 weeks. They come in large bags that are fairly inexpensive so there’s no need to hold on to them past a few uses.

Nail Polish

Ingredients in nail polish start to turn yellowish in color and thicken after about 1 year.


Keep all makeup in dry cool places and remember, if you find a new favorite, buy two and keep the spare sealed until you’re ready to use it.

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