How long to keep your makeup before discarding…

I, like many women, find it really hard to part with my makeup. There are some items I just love, and want to continue using it until it’s empty. But the truth of the matter is, all makeup has an expiry date and this expiration date should be adhered to. So even though it might upset you to throw away your favourite Chanel Mascara or YSL Foundation, it’s best to get rid of it if it’s past it’s “used by date” and replace it with a fresh, new product. And anyway – what better excuse to indulge in some new cosmetic purchases $$$???

So the question is often asked, how long should I keep my cosmetics before I throw them out. Well the answer isn’t that simple, as it depends on the product. Some products have a longer life than others.. for instance, foundations outlive mascara.

It is also important to remember that sharing makeup should not be encouraged… this is not only unhygienic, but effects the longevity of your makeup. Contamination can occur at any time as makeup usually comes into contact with areas prone to germs, like your eyes and lips. Sharpen your pencils regularly to get rid of germs, and try not to double-dip into things like cream shadows and foundations. Store makeup in a dry, cool place, preferably away from the bathroom.

So how can you tell it’s time to throw away your makeup?

As a general rule, throw away any makeup that has a bad smell or has changed in consistency. Also, if you can’t remember when you bought it, it’s best to just throw it out!!

Follow this general table as a guideline (NB: this is only a guide):

– Cleanser and Moisturisers – 6 months;
– Liquid Foundation – up to 12 months (but ensure you don’t insert your fingers into the bottle. Use an applicator or sponge instead, and wash them after every use). A tip is to write the date you opened the foundation on the bottom of the bottle in permanent marker… that way you’ll know exactly when to throw it out! Another tip to keep foundation fresh and to increase its longevity is store it in the fridge;
– Creme or compact foundation – up to 18 months;
– Mascara – toss after 3 months. Mascara’s are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria, so it's so important to replace them regularly;
– Stick products like concealer, blush sticks and lipsticks – 6-12 months. For hygiene (and therefore to increase longevity) do not apply directly to lip or skin – use an applicator wand, wash after every use, and don’t double-dip!!;
– Powders, eyeshadows, non-stick concealers, blush, bronzers, lip gloss – up to 2 years;
– Lip liner and eyeliner – 2 years (remember to sharpen regularly);
– Liquid eyeliner – 3-6 months;
– Nail polish – 12 months.

It is also important to remember that if you are using natural and/or organic cosmetics, they should be discarded sooner as they don’t contain the same preservatives as regular cosmetics.

Hope these tips help!!


Rebekah Foxe
Makeup Artistry by Rebekah

2 thoughts on “How long to keep your makeup before discarding…

  1. Andrea

    Thanks Rebekah 🙂
    I love reading you posts. Your make-up work is beautiful too, thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us.
    Just wondering, you mentioned to wash applicators/sponges every use, does the same go for brushes for blush and eyeshadow?

  2. Rebekah

    Thanks Andrea! It’s my pleasure. It’s particularly important to keep all brushes that touch the eye clean. Clean these with a professional brush cleaner (you can buy these from most chemists and stores like Priceline) and air dry them. Powder and blush brushes can be cleaned less regularly (like every fortnight) with soap and water, again air-drying. It only takes a minute or two but it’s so worth it. Obviously you can be less strict with your own brushes as they’re not being shared or used to apply on anyone else.

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