Spring Cleaning: When to Throw Out Your Makeup

| Beauty

Have you ever come across something in your makeup bag or drawer and thought, “I wonder if I can still use this?” I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had one (or a few!) of those moments in our lifetime; however, it isn’t really common knowledge to know how long your mascara lasts or how long you can keep around that bottle of foundation for! Here are a few tips for cleaning out your makeup drawer and for making sure that your beauty products stay as fresh as possible!


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Every three months, you should be tossing or replacing your mascara. That may seem like a short amount of time to keep replacing it, but when you think about it, it makes sense: You don’t want to put old products on your lashes! Also, by that three month mark, your mascara is most likely dry, cakey, and clumpy anyways.


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Eyeshadow is a little more lenient with its shelf life. Powders last up to two years, while creams should be replaced every year. If you apply shadow every day though, bacteria could build up on the product, so just be sure to keep your brushes clean.

Makeup Brushes

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Speaking of makeup brushes, you should be replacing yours every one to five years depending on the quality, how often you use them, and how often you clean them. Invest in a good brush cleaner, or you can use a gentle formula like Johnson’s baby shampoo.

Makeup Sponges

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These babies are CRAWLING with bacteria, so replacing them at least once a month is your best bet — that is, if you are diligent about washing them daily. The good news is, they’re pretty inexpensive at drugstores.


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Every three to six months, you should be replacing your eyeliner, especially if it’s a gel or liquid eyeliner that you apply with a brush. Eyeliner pencils usually have a longer shelf life because they’re constantly getting sharpened, so about once a year, you should be replacing those.


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Foundation usually lasts about a year if you don’t apply them with your fingers (tons of bacteria there!), so make sure you’re using (clean) makeup brushes to apply it! It’ll help the foundation last longer. Also, make sure you keep it out of the sunlight and keep the lid shut tightly. After a year, the general color and consistency of the foundation will likely change anyways, so toss it annually.


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Most concealers will last anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. Again, if you apply it with a brush, the shelf life will last longer than if you apply with your fingers because of, you guessed it, bacteria buildup!

Blush and Bronzer

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Every two years, you should be replacing your blush and bronzer. A good rule of thumb is that once the color starts changing is when you need a new one!

Lipstick and Lipgloss

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Once you start to see little beads forming on the bullet of your lipstick OR it’s been about a year, you should toss it. Lipgloss has about half of that shelf life.