Making Over Your Makeup Drawer
Beauty Knowledge Center

Everyone is guilty of hoarding their most coveted makeup – even if it appears (or worse, smells) way beyond its expiration date. In reality, that expensive foundation that you’re not quite ready to introduce to the trash bin may be infested with bacteria that can cause irritation, acne or infections in worst-case scenarios. Here are some basic guidelines for when to toss questionable makeup and how to keep your faves fresh for as long as possible.

Timeline for Trashing Makeup
Because eye-area products carry a greater risk of eye infections, they have the most limited shelf-life – typically 3-6 months. Powder-based products, like shadow, face powder and blush, can last for 2 years in the right conditions. Liquid products, like highlighter and foundation, can last for between 6 months and 1 year. 

Liquid foundation – 6 months
Lipstick – 1-2 years
Lip gloss – 1-2 years
Pressed powder – 18 months
Powder blush – 2 years
Cream blush – 2 years
Loose powder- 2 years
Liquid liner – 6 months
Liquid highlighter – 6 months
Eye shadow powder – 2 years
Mascara – 3 months
Liner pencil – 1 year
Concealer – 1 year

Tips for Prolonging Your Prized Cosmetics

  • Light, climate and air all negatively affect the longevity of makeup. For best results, store makeup in a dark cupboard, drawer or train case away from direct light, keep it away from humid atmospheres and always make sure to re-seal it tightly after each use.
  • You can actually introduce contaminants into your own makeup through dirt on your fingers, so wash your hands before applying or use a clean swab or makeup brush to apply.
  • Dirty brushes or sponge-tip applicators can also harbor bacteria that can breed in makeup after continued use. Make sure to clean brushes and sponges weekly with a mild shampoo or brush cleaner.
  • The type of packaging can have a large effect on a product’s shelf-life. For example, look for foundations that come in airtight pumps or tubes, rather than open jars or bottles that expose the whole product to air and invite contaminants in.
  • Sharpening eye and lip liners every 2 weeks can help them stay fresher and keep their consistency longer.
  • A few words of wisdom:

  • If it has a funky texture, odor or consistency, dump it. Same goes if its cakey, cracked or dried up.
  • If you can’t remember when you bought it, play it safe and toss it.
  • Go through your stash at the beginning of each season. Not only is it a good time to get rid of past-its-prime makeup, but it’s a great way to take stock of what you do have and determine which of the season’s colors you still need.
  • Because “all-natural” products often don’t contain preservatives, they are more likely to “spoil” sooner than other products. Also, many of their plant-derived ingredients are more conducive to unhealthy microbial growth, making them more likely to become contaminated.
  • Sharing makeup, especially eye makeup, can lead to excess oils and germs.
  • Now just think of all the new great products you have a legitimate excuse to go out and buy.


    We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment. One comment to “Making Over Your Makeup Drawer”

    1. Sarah

      Thanks for the brush cleaning tips and the time schedule for tossing used beauty products….all are very helpful.


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