Skip Nav
L'Oréal's New Mascara Might Actually Be Better Than Sex
7 Places You’re Probably Not Shopping For Beauty Sales — but Should Be
The Key to Passing a Physics Exam? Hiding the Formulas Under Your Nails, Apparently

When to Get Rid of Makeup

What to Purge While Spring-Cleaning Your Makeup

Lots of us undertake a big home cleanup come March or April, but few regularly take a good, hard look at our makeup collections. But there's no time like the present to change habits. Plus, purging your makeup on a regular basis gives you more room, allows you to see what items you really do use, and keeps you from accidentally using makeup that's gone bad (yes, it expires, and faster than you'd think). So to find out what to throw away and when, just keep reading.

  • If you use it less than once a month, and it's not for special occasions, or something you truly love, dump it.
  • If it's an opened mascara or eyeliner more than six months old, you should throw it out. After about three months, liquid eye products start to gather a lot of bacteria and can irritate you or give you an eye infection. It's for the best.
  • Any old makeup sponges should go. After about a week of use, they start to harbor bacteria. Unless you've been sanitizing them every few days, using them can lead to breakouts and contact dermatitis.
  • Any opened lipsticks, lip glosses, or lip liners should go if they're more than a year or so old.
  • Nail polish separates and starts to break down after about a year, so anything you've got sitting around that's approaching or past that date and isn't on your fingers all the time should go.
  • Powders — whether pressed or loose — stay good for about two years. So eye shadows, mineral makeup, etc. have a pretty long shelf life. If you're not crazy about the color, or don't wear it at least once a month, consider getting rid of it, though. The likelihood that you'll want to wear it or get any use out of it before it goes bad is low, and it'll just be taking up space.
  • Makeup that's been sitting out in a sunny spot breaks down faster, so if you've got stuff that's been exposed to light or lots of hot days, and it's more than a few months old, you might consider getting rid of it.
  • Makeup that was trendy a year ago and isn't something you love for the way it looks on you should go — it won't be back in before the expiration date.
  • Liquid foundation lasts anywhere from one to two years depending on the formulation. If you've got older foundation you don't use all the time, throwing it out is probably a good idea.

Join The Conversation
cherrypop cherrypop 7 years
i'm such a pack rat i could never throw anything out, well, except maybe those old nail polish have to go 'cos they're starting to separate.
girlfunkmusic girlfunkmusic 7 years
Ok...nope. Not buying it. I've used alot of eye and lip make-up well past the supposed "expiration date" and nothing really happens. I'm not saying some ppl aren't sensitive, but overall this is so exaggerated. I think this is one of those famous campaigns that publications like to push on readers twice a year to boost sales. I have lipsticks that are several years old and they're fine! Eyeliner/mascara I use until it's dried up or doesn't work.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 7 years
Last night I was just rooting around in my train case looking at my stash and thinking it's time for a purge. It's going to be really empty, but that leaves room for new stuff!
ineedcaffeine ineedcaffeine 7 years
i know it is unsanitary and whatnot to keep old makeup, but i just cant rationalize throwing it out! its so much stuff to waste, is there anything useful i can do with all of it???
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
Well, my makeup collection is pretty small compared to some diehards so I pretty much don't have to throw out much. Now my skincare products, just yikes. I need to do some clean house on that one.
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Ughh. I've got 80 tubes of lipstick. Yes, exactly 80! I don't know how it happened either :P and some approaching the two year mark. I heard putting lipstick in the fridge prolongs their shelf life but I don't know if that's true or not.
Daisy-Duke Daisy-Duke 7 years
Thank you for this! I just threw out my favorite nail polish. :( I can never finish a bottle, even though I never go more than 2 days without having my nails painted! I was going through some of my old eyeshadows that it hurts to say I really should throw out. Some are 5 years old!
Too Faced Peaches and Cream Lipsticks 2017
What Is Alcoholic Seltzer?
Monokini Shopping Ideas
Best Tarte Cosmetics Palettes
From Our Partners
Latest Beauty
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds