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When to Throw Out Beauty Products

Keep Your Cosmetics Fresh (and Prevent Infections)

I must confess: I don't wear a ton of makeup, but I don't go completely bare either. A little powder, some mascara, a touch of lip gloss, and I am good to go.

Regardless of your daily beauty regimen, cosmetics can be pricey, so I don't blame you for not replacing your products regularly. But makeup does have shelf life after all. Beauty products should be tossed on a regular basis because bacteria can grow in all those slick-looking containers and tubes, which can lead to nasty infections like pink eye, rashes, and cold sores — these blemishes are definitely not attractive. Check out the handy little chart below to see how long your makeup and beauty essentials should last before replacing them.

Product Shelf life
Eyeliner (pencil) Sharpened regularly, will last up to three years.
Eyeliner (liquid) Three to six months
Eyeshadow, blush, and bronzer (powder) Two years
Cream blush or eyeshadow 12 to 18 months

To see the shelf life of other products


Product Shelf life
Liquid concealer Up to 12 months
Loose powder Two years
Cream or compact foundation 12 to 18 months
Liquid foundation 12 months for a water-based product, 18 months for one that's oil-based.
Lipstick One to two years. If it smells rancid before then, throw it out.
Lip gloss 18 to 24 months
Lip liner Three years
Mascara Three to four months
Makeup brushes Wash every two to three months in mild soap.
Sunscreen Check the expiration date, or throw out if it's lumpy, runny, or smells bad.

To help you remember when it's time to throw out your Fresh Sugar Lip Gloss and other products, write your own expiration date on the container with a permanent marker when you open them. And if your products come in contact with an infection such as pink eye, ditch them ASAP. Generally, you can also follow the rule that if it looks or smells funky, trash it.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 5 years
I am so guilty of holding on to old makeup. Before I moved out of my parents house last year, I found makeup that was at least 9 years old. I wasn't using it, but I never threw it away. I have some MAC eyeshadows that are from senior prom and before (that's 6+ years ago). Anon- I've also heard that too. I only buy mineral makeup now, I wonder how safe it is to keep it.
Spectra Spectra 5 years
I am bad about keeping mascara too long. I REALLY need to replace mine more often. I've never gotten an infection or a stye from it, but that could definitely happen.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I am the worst at this! I hate parting with makeup before I've used it all!
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