Over the last month I havMakeup bine been vowing to clean my house thoroughly.  Now that I have two weeks off for the holidays, I thought this a great time to start throwing things out and just de-clutter.  So I started in my room and just re-organized.  One area that was in need of a serious cleaning was my makeup bin.  It is filled to the rim with make-up that I use and some that I didn’t even remember that I had.  I must admit that I am a collector of sorts.  I am not quite a hoarder but I have some hoarder tendencies.   I sifted through about 20 lip glosses, 10 lipsticks,  6 or 7 eye shadow compacts, and at least 8 different mascaras. I actually had lip gloss that has been in the bin for at least 7 years.  Yet, I  found it difficult to choose what to keep and what to get rid of; partly because I didn’t want to get rid of  anything.  So it got me to thinking about when should I dispose of used make up.  I found this great article by Faith Lawless on the About Style website called “When to toss out your makeup” that provides some awesome guidelines.  Looks like I have more work to do.


Let’s begin with the life span of a foundation. If your foundation has a pump then it will stay fresh longer, but if you are dabbing your fingers into a bottle everyday you should think of tossing your foundation makeup every 6-8 months. If you are prone to breakouts and are using the dabbing method, you should toss you makeup no later than 6 months. If you are using a pump foundation, it should be good for at least 8 months. But keep in mind that your foundation color can change at least twice a year anyway, so just get in the habit of tossing you foundation makeup every 6 months.

Face Powder and Blush/Bronzer

Powder face makeup can last over a year, if there is no shiny build up on the surface and you have not had any major skin irritations during use. Honestly though, most people won’t be able to make a face powder last for over a year anyway. And as a general rule of thumb, if it smells funny or looks strange you should toss it. Powder blush and powder bronzers fall into a more extended category since most of us change our colors each season. With proper care, and clean brushes, you can squeeze up to 4 years out of your powder brush or bronzer.

Eye Products

Next, let’s cover our eyes. Most experts suggest throwing away liquid eyeliner and mascara every 3 months. Personally, I keep my liquid eyeliner and mascara for at least 6 months and then open a new one. As for mascara if it isn’t dry, clumpy, or smells foul then you should be okay for 6 months. The only exception is if you get an eye infection; eye infections mean that you need to toss all eye makeup and start over again. Powdered products, such as eyeshadow, will normally last for up to 4 years, as long as you wash your brushes regularly and don’t reuse them after an eye infection. And as for pencil eyeliner, it can last up to 1-2 years, if properly stored and sharpened regularly. Sharpening your pencils before each use will keep them clean, which will allow you to use them for 2 years or longer.

Lips and Nails

Finally let’s cover the lips and nails. Nail polish is a pretty sturdy product and can last up to 2 years, unless you wear it with a fungal infection. Anytime your makeup items come into contact with an infection, they should be tossed immediately. As for lipstick, lip gloss, and lip liner; they can last for up to 2 years, if you don’t use them up first.

Final Tips

So in the end, use common sense and if it smells funny or looks strange it should be tossed out. As a general rule of thumb, change out your foundation makeup every 6 months, since your skin will normally change shades during that time. If your using a product that contains anti-aging benefits please be advised that they will turn rancid quicker. Overall, if there is ever a doubt about whether to keep it or toss it, you should always just throw it out.

The best tip is to regularly clean and maintain your makeup items so they will last you longer, and keep you healthier as well. This also includes cleaning your brushes at least every month with a little dish soap or baby shampoo.

Finally, if you have switched to natural makeup make sure you give the products a regular smell check, since they could turn rancid quicker because of the lack of preservatives.


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