Going off: smelling funky, changes in texture.
When To Throw Your Makeup Away by Beauty Bunny
- Mascara: Three months at most. Most of us have kept mascara longer than this, but once you’ve used the wand and put it back in the tube, it becomes a bacterial haven. (And if you ever had any sort of infection while you used a product, NEVER reuse it or you risk re-infecting yourself. Eww.)
- Cream eyeshadow, eyeliner or blush: Six months. These have a much shorter shelf life than their powder counterparts.
- Foundation, finishing powder and lipstick: One year. That said, if you see any changes in these products’ consistency, texture or scent, toss them immediately. Foundation can have a shorter life of only 4-6 months, depending on the batch - if it starts separating, give up on it. Even if you shake it up so it mixes together (a trick all my cheapy girlfriends will know about!), it won’t stay that way long, and within an hour of wear it’ll melt off your face. Plus, why would you want to wear something expired? Gross.
- Nail polish: One year. This depends on the quality of the polish; the $1 drugstore stuff that starts separating in the bottle as soon as you get it home probably won’t make it a whole year.
- Powder blush or eyeshadow: Two years. This assumes you never share your makeup with any of your grubby friends and you always apply it directly to a clean face with clean hands.
- Pencil liners: Three years, if sharpened regularly (and applied with clean hands and blah blah).
- Makeup brushes: Two years. This assumes you shampoo them regularly (we recommend about once a month - unscented soap or baby shampoo will do) and sanitize them between uses. There are special sanitizing sprays for this, but the girls at the MAC counter simply rub them down with alcohol.
- Makeup sponges: One month. Yep, I said it - even with cleaning after every use (which you should do). Just like the sponges by your kitchen sink, makeup sponges collect bacteria like a ten year old collects Pokemon cards. This includes those right triangle shaped ones you put on foundation with and the tiny ghetto eye makeup sponges your eyeshadow comes with.
I toss my stuff when it starts to smell funky or not apply properly.
Ways that I don't follow the rules: I NEVER toss out nail polish! Never never. I have polish that I bought in high school. Yeah, the texture is way different and it got all thick and hard to spread. What to do: put a little nail polish remover in there and shake it up! It thins it out properly and you can use it again.
I keep mascara past the 3 mo deadline, but never more than, say, 6 months. I've never had an eye infection due to this. Of course, if you do have an eye infection, toss out your mascara straight away. I don't care if it's brand new!
I've only had one lipstick go rancid on me. And it was about 6 years old. Yeah, I didn't use it that often, so I didn't care when I had to throw it away. I definitely keep my lipstick for longer than a year. I have heard that you can keep them for up to four years, as long as it doesn't go off.
Another helpful hint is knowing about the Period After Opening symbol:
Many cosmetic companies include this symbol on there products including Cover Girl, Prestige, Rimmel, Nars, etc (this list was found by pawing through my eyeshadows). These are all pressed eyeshadows. Cover Girl says 36 months, Prestige says 12 months, Rimmel says 30 months, Nars says 24 months. See even the companies can't make up their minds!
It's always sad throwing out makeup, but it's better than getting a breakout or something worse!