Beautiful & Safe: When To Toss Your Makeup

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Let’s talk about one fun thing and one not-so-fun thing: makeup and spring cleaning. You can decide for yourself which is which! I’ve been knee deep in tidying up my house and getting rid of clutter, but for some reason, cleaning up my makeup just didn’t enter my mind until now. Every once in a while I’ll organize my makeup and get rid of some stuff I never use anymore. (That’s a lie- I never do that! You never know when you’ll want to try it again- right?) But it just occurred to me that maybe cleaning out my makeup drawer involves more than just straightening it up. Cosmetics actually have a shelf life, and using things for too long, or past their prime, can actually hurt you. If you don’t know when to toss your makeup, here’s list of different cosmetics and how long it’s safe to use them:

  • Liquid foundation: One year. The liquid makes it an attractive breeding ground for bacteria. And after about a year the ingredients break down, causing it to get streaky.
  • Powder foundation: Two years. Powder will last longer because it has no moisture.
  • Face powder: At least two years. Watch it, though, if you keep your makeup in a moist environment like the bathroom.
  • Blush: Powder is good for two years; cream for one. Make sure to clean your brushes regularly to prevent the transfer of bacteria. Read this to learn how to clean your makeup brushes properly.
  • Mascara: Three months. Mascara should be replaced most often because the moist and dark tube is optimum for bacteria growth.
  • Liquid eyeliner: Three months for the same reasons as mascara.
  • Pencil eyeliner: Two years because as you sharpen you create a new surface. Clean your sharpener with alcohol every so often.
  • Creme eye shadow: Six months since it’s liquid based.
  • Powder eye shadow: One year. You can use it longer than liquid products but since it is in contact with your eye, bacteria transfer is something to think about.
  • Lipstick and lip gloss: Two years.
  • Lip liner: At least two years.
  • Sunscreen: Six months. The liquid in sunscreen starts to evaporate as soon as you open it, which will cause the ingredients to be unevenly distributed and therefore less effective.

I’ve found that it’s a good idea to put a little piece of tape with the date you opened it on each product so you’ll know when it’s time to toss it. Of course this guide is just a guideline- sometimes makeup doesn’t even make it that long. You’ll know it’s time to throw something away if it smells bad or the color or texture changes.

Enjoy your makeup and stay safe!

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