How Long Should You Keep Your Make-up?

lipstick makeup

Until recently, my train case and make-up bag were littered with cosmetics that I’ve had for more than two years: Lancome eye shadows in blue and purple that I was too chicken to try. Blood-red and poppy-red lipsticks that gave my lips a strange shape and shocked my face with color it was never meant to experience. Cream and powder blushes that belonged only on display cases and not on my cheeks.

I finally purged all this old make-up. Unfortunately, this mini project began out of necessity, because there was no more room in the bathroom for my all my stuff. Putting unused make-up in the garbage was a great thing, since most of it had gone bad already. How long had I been subjecting myself to make-up that had long expired?

If you haven’t used something in 6 months, get rid of it. You’re likely not going to use it. Use this guide to help you weed out the eyeliners, lip gloss and nail polish:

Concealer – Should be disposed of after one year. Preservatives like propylparaben, which are usually made synthetically for cosmetics, can only prolong the concealer’s life up to a year.

Blush and Bronzer (powdered) – The binders, moisturizing agents and colorants found in most blushes will go bad after two years.

Blush and Bronzer (cream) – pigments and preservatives found in cream blushes are good for up to 12-18 months.

Eyeliner (liquid) – Say good-bye after 3-6 months.

Eyeliner (pencil) – Good up to three years. This time frame only applies if you regularly sharpen the pencil.

Eyeshadow (powder) – Keep for only 2 years. If the powder doesn’t separate easily or is cakey, it’s time to get rid of it.

Eyeshadow (cream) – Can be good up to 18 months. If it no longer goes on your eyelids smoothly, that is one sign that it has gone bad.

Foundation (water-based) – It’s done after 1 year.

Foundation (oil-based) – Keep it only up to 18 months.

Lipgloss – Can last 18-24 months.

Lipstick – Will last 1-2 years. If it smells funny or does not glide on your lips smoothly, throw it away. Store your lipstick in the refrigerator to make it last longer. Lipstick can harbor a lot of bacteria and germs because of the way it is applied.

Lip Liner – Is old after 2 years.

Make-up BrushesWash at least every month to sustain the bristles’ life. I like to use brush cleaners like Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleaner after every use. Merely spritz this cleaner on your brushes and you’ve applied a quick anti-bacterial spray. For monthly or weekly cleanings, use Sephora’s Brush Shampoo, which easily removes make-up residue.

Make-up Sponges – Due to the material, make-up sponges should be tossed out after 1 month. Wash your sponges every week and air dry.

Mascara3 months tops! When using the mascara wand, don’t pump it up and down – you’ll let a lot of air in the mascara tube and germs and bacteria will want to live and populate there. Also, NEVER share your mascara with anyone. It’s easy to pass germs and contract a case of pink eye. Yuck!

Nail Polish1 year. Nail polish should never look like sludge or go on like cement.

Powder2 years. Sometimes, when powder goes bad, it smells funny and it’s difficult for you to apply it easily.

Always make a notation of the purchase date on your cosmetics. I use a Sharpie pen or stick a little paper with the purchase date on it with tape. If your make-up no longer performs the way it used to, or if it smells funny, throw it out immediately. Who knows what rancid little germs are creeping through your make-up?

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