When To Throw Away Your Makeup and Skincare Products

With the fresh air of springtime right around the corner, the urge for cleaning out your home will start anew. Your skincare drawer is most likely one of your most-used areas, as you probably frequent this location both day and night. Although you try to keep it as tidy as you can, it is inevitable that it will eventually need to be cleaned out. Cleaning out your makeup and skincare products is not only sanitary, but it could also help alleviate some stress associated with the mess. 

Do you have questions about when to throw away makeup? Perhaps you have had the same eyeshadow for years and are wondering if its time to throw it away. Our guide will cover this and much more! 

When To Throw Away Your Makeup

Conquer The Clutter

Empty bottles, dirty makeup brushes, and expired foundation abound. It may come as no surprise that having your skincare drawer in abysmal conditions can cause a headache. According to Psychology Today, our environment can have a significant impact on our emotions and behaviors. In short, clutter can cause us to experience negative effects like heightened anxiety levels or an inability to focus. Makeup and skincare products, especially when expired, can harbor harmful bacteria. When not disposed of properly, this can linger in your skincare drawer and further contaminate your products. 

To begin conquering the clutter, first make a list of what your “must-haves” are. While you need mascara, you might not need five different bottles of it. In fact, ophthalmologists recommend changing up your mascara every 3-4 months! You might also have some miscellaneous items in your skincare drawer. This might include old hair ties or broken eyebrow pencils. Toss away anything that is considered garbage and then lay out the products you wish to keep. Now, we need to make sure that they haven’t expired. 

All Beauty Products Eventually Expire

You should plan on cleaning out your skincare drawer at least every 3 to six months. Why? That is when a lot of products expire. So, this will help you to stay on top of getting rid of the products once they go bad. There is not one beauty product that will never expire. Eventually, you will have to get rid of everything from makeup brushes to foundations. 

How to Know When a Beauty Product Has Gone Bad

When it comes to determining when a product expires, it might not always be cut and dry. Austin Evans who is a makeup artist and is part of Tomlinson Management Group states, “In general, liquids and creams expire fastest, while powders tend to last much longer”. He dives deeper into why this occurs. 

Many popular skincare products that contain retinol and vitamin C will become unstable if they are exposed to oxygen. This is why open jar products are not always recommended. Eyeliner and mascara have the shortest shelf life, which is around three months. 

Lip products can last around a year, as well as foundation. When using your products, you should always check the label for an indicator of the shelf life, as well as on the packaging. It may even be useful to pull out your label maker and date each product by the date you first started using it.

When To Throw Away Your Makeup and Skincare

When to Throw Away Makeup Guidelines:

  • Liquid Foundation: after 6 months to 1 year
  • Cream Makeup: after 6 months to 1 year
  • Lipstick: after 1 year
  • Powder Makeup: after 2 years
  • Eyeliner: after 3 months (liquid); after 2 years (pencil)
  • Mascara: after 3 months
  • Face Moisturizer: after 6 months (tub); after 1 year (pump)
  • Sunscreen: after 1 year
  • Nail Polish: after 1 year
  • Perfume: after 8 to 10 years

How to Make Your Products Last 

You will always want to take as many steps as you can to ensure the shelf life of your products. The best places to store your skincare products are in a cabinet or a drawer. Always make sure you wash your hands before and after use. It is important to remain clutter-free and to also abide by the expiration dates of your products to ensure a clean skincare drawer

Skincare and Makeup FAQs

Do unopened skincare products expire?

Most unopened skincare products have a 2-year shelf life. Once a product is open it has the potential to be exposed to bacteria. This is the reason an unopened product has a longer shelf life than those that have been opened. 

Does sunscreen expire?

Sunscreens usually have an expiration date printed on the bottle and since sun protection is so important in any anti-aging regimen, there is no use in applying expired, ineffective sunscreen.

Do skincare products expire?

Moisturizers, face creams, and eye creams may last up to six months to a year. The danger does not lie in the cream expiring, but the fact that it becomes less effective as it ages. Creams may also cause irritation or bacterial infections if they are open too long. Open products risk being tainted with harmful bacteria. This is something you do not want to introduce to your face. 

When to throw away makeup brushes?

You will need to care for your makeup brushes each week by gently cleaning them with warm soapy water. Allow them to air dry. This will help decrease the number of bacteria that are introduced to your face. When your brushes start to show wear, it is time to get a new set. In general, brushes made of synthetic fibers may last up to a year, but need to be cleaned at least twice a week. 

When to throw away a makeup sponge?

According to Allure, blenders and sponges need to be washed out once to twice a week. Once the applicators have reached the three-month mark it is time to throw them away. If your sponge is high quality and you give it proper care, you may be able to extend its life. 

How long does eyeshadow last?

It is recommended that you ditch your powder eyeshadow every two years. Cream eyeshadows have a shelf-life of 6 months. 

Does makeup expire?

Yes, all makeup has an expiration date. Some can be found on the containers, others you may have to use general guidelines which we have listed above. 

How long does makeup last?

As a guideline: Foundation, primer, blush and eyeshadow may last up to 2 years. Lipstick should last for one year after it is opened. Eye makeup such as mascara and eyeliner would need to be replaced every three months. See our guidelines above for more details. 

How long does lipstick last?

Lipstick can last up to 12 months. 

How long does foundation last?

Liquid foundations can last up to one year, while a powder foundation may last up to two years. 

How long is mascara good for?

Because of the bacteria that eye products can hold, it is recommended that mascara be replaced every 3 months. 

Our Blog

Are you looking for tips to help your acne? Perhaps you have rosacea and do not know what type of skincare products to use. Our blog focuses on problem areas and helps bring you the best tips around. Check out “The Edits By The Skin Spot” for more guidance on skincare.



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Thank you so much for this!

I now have a better understanding of how to care for and cycle through my products!

Stephanie Jenkins

I am a 50 year old women looking for the right skincare for aging skin and the right foundation/makeup that Dr. Nazarian uses.

Rita Herberger

I am a 50 year old women looking for the right skincare for aging skin and the right foundation/makeup that Dr. Nazarian uses.

Rita Herberger

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