Know When to Toss Out Your Make-up

April 11, 2008 by Deanna Lynn Sletten  
Published in Makeup

Make-up expires just like milk and eggs do. Know when to toss out your make-up to prevent the color from fading and harmful bacteria from spreading.

Make-up does expire even if it doesn’t come with an expiration date. Just as milk, eggs, bread and fruit eventually go bad so will your make-up. Even though you may dread the thought of tossing out expensive make-up before it is all used up it is better for your skin and health if you do. Old expired make-up can cause skin irritation, acne and even cause an infection in your eyes. Learning how to properly store your make-up and when to toss it out will not only keep your skin and eyes beautiful but also healthy.


Once you open up your make-up oxidation begins and the ingredients start to break down. For this reason it is important to keep all make-up bottles, jars and containers closed tightly when not in use. It is also recommended to store your make-up in a cool, dark place because heat and bright light will cause the preservatives to break down and spoil the make-up quicker.

If you keep make-up in your purse for quick touch-ups be sure to put it and the application brushes all together in a make-up bag. Having containers, tubes and brushes floating around at the bottom of your purse can cause problems if tubes or jars open. It’s not only a mess but bacteria can grow on open products and brushes when they are exposed to all the other items in your purse. It’s best to keep everything neat and sanitary in its own bag.

When to Toss Make-up

  • Mascara 

    Because mascara is applied close to your eyes this product is the most susceptible to causing eye infections. You should replace your mascara at least every three months. If you have been sick or have had an eye infection you should not use your existing tube and buy a new one immediately. Be sure to never share mascara because bacteria can be passed along from person to person.

  • Powder-based Products 

    Face powder, powdered blush and powdered eye shadow can last for up to three years. Because there is no liquid involved there is less chance of the powder products breaking down or the color changing. Some powder eye shadows can begin to break up and fall apart as they get older. If this happens be sure to toss it out and buy new ones.

  • Creamy Products

    Water-based foundation, cream eye shadow, cream blush, liquid lip gloss and concealer break down quickly and should be tossed out after one year. Oil-based make-up products can last a little longer and be kept for around eighteen months. If the make-up begins to discolor before that time you will know it is time to buy new products.

  • Retinol Products

    The retinol in make-up products is only effective for about a month after opening it. Even though the make-up can still be used it will no longer have the advantage of the retinol effect. Since products with retinol tend to be more expensive it is best to buy the smallest tube or jar available so you will use it up faster.

  • Pencils

    Eye and lip pencils can last for up to three years since they are renewed every time you sharpen them. Be sure to sharpen a new tip on your eye liner if you’ve been sick or have had an eye infection so you don’t risk getting it again.

  • Lipstick

    The tube style lipstick is the most forgiving when it comes to time. You can keep your lipstick for up to three years.

  • Natural Make-up Products

    If you choose the natural products that contain fewer preservatives you will have to dispose of your make-up more frequently. Experts suggest giving your natural products about one-half the shelf life of regular make-up products.

Brushes and Applicators

You should keep your make-up brushes and applicators as clean as possible and replace sponge applicators often. It is recommended to wash your brushes and sponges with warm, soapy water once a week to ensure you aren’t spreading bacteria on your skin and in your eyes.

Use common sense when deciding what make-up to throw away. If a liquid make-up begins to change color or gets thick and lumpy you should throw it away no matter how new it is. Product that begins to smell bad should be tossed too.

Make-up is fun to use but like any product it needs to be cared for and replaced as necessary. Used properly you can enjoy your make-up and stay free of any potential health problems.

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4 Responses to “Know When to Toss Out Your Make-up”
  1. Meckz Says:

    G0t a break0ut of large maculopustular bumps on my face after using expired face powder. It irritated my delicate skin. It was a mess. I wont use expired products ever again.

  2. Lorrain Emerick Says:

    Once Opened Beauty Expiration Kit
    Once Opened, the clock starts ticking on the life of your cosmetic. In the United States, there are no regulations or guidelines from the FDA concerning expiration dates for skin-care or makeup products.

    So, why can’t you just use a permanent marker to date make-up? While resistant to water, common permanent markers are not resistant to oil. Use oil based make-up or moisturizing cream? If so, touching the marked up product afterwards will rub off the date. The Once Opened Beauty Expiration Kit solves this problem by using attractive self-laminating labels and Beauty Life Expectancy Guide to Mark-Up Your Make-Up with date product is opened – prevents using cosmetics past their prime and risking spread of bacteria and infection

    Organize your beauty products and Mark-Up Your Make-Up with Once Opened Beauty Expiration Kit!

  3. Dorothy Says:

    I’ve used the Once Opened Beauty Expiration Kit and love it!Others (like Beauty Alert) just give labels and the date rubs off.

  4. Sweet Says:

    It’s the first time I’ve read that retinol-based products are only good for one month after opening. I guess this explains why my toner doesn’t do its job anymore after a month of using it. Now I know! And I thought that I could save much when buying the bigger bottle.

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