Before you start stocking up on new products for the warmer months, it’s time to do some spring cleaning.  Makeup has a shelf-life and you should be throwing out expired products.  There are no hard and fast rules as to when they expire but here are some guidelines to help you figure out if that lipstick from 11th grade is still good (hint: N.O.).

Unknown1. LIQUIDS – These formulas typically come in foundations, bronzers and tinted moisturizers.  Their shelf-life is usually about a year or so.  For many people, you’ll have used it all up before it’s gone off, but for others, look for signs that it’s expired:  icky smell and a change in consistency.  Wash your hands before applying or use a clean sponge. DON’T USE OLD SPONGES.  For reals.  They are super cheap (an average pack of 30 will run you about $3.00) and will help keep bacteria at bay.  Keeping clean tools is a big factor in eliminating bacteria, which causes breakouts. So use your sponge once, and toss it.  If you’re using a Beauty Blender or something along those lines (a sponge you wash and re-use) just remember to wash it.

2.  CREAMS –  Products such as concealers and lipsticks that come in a tube will probably last you about a year and a half.  Cream shadows and blushes that come in a pot will expire sooner.  Same reason as the liquids – your fingers or brushes will be touching them a lot more.  You know they’ve expired when they separate from the sides, dry up, or take on a weird smell.  Remember to toss lipsticks you used while being sick and try not to share…fast way to get a cold-sore!

crushed-powder3.  POWDERS – Eyeshadows, blushes, and loose powders can last a couple years.  They have little to no water and don’t collect bacteria the same way as a cream or liquid does.  But remember to keep your brushes clean and lids tight.

4.  LINERS – These will last a long time if they’re the kind you can sharpen. Sharpening regularly (and keeping a clean sharpener) will extend a liner’s shelf-life and can last a few years.  If it’s the wind-up kind, just remember to keep the tip clean and put the cap on when you’re done to avoid bacteria build-up.  An exception is liquid liner, which will probably only last about 4-6 months. They typically start to dry out and take on a smell.

5.  MASCARA – Unfortunately, these have the shortest life-span.  You really only get about 3 months out of a mascara.  The reason is you’re pumping air into the tube every time you use it, drying it out and allowing bacteria to grow.  If you’ve had pink eye, a stye – or any eye irritation – throw it out.  You’ll also know if it starts to go bad, since mascara takes on a pretty potent smell once it’s gone off.

•Keep lids tight.  If you have a lid that leaks or is broken, put the contents in a new, clean container (empty makeup containers can be found at most beauty supply stores) or store in a plastic sandwich bag.
•Wiping around the base of a lip gloss or foundation will help keep dirt and debris from sticking to it, making  for a tighter seal.
•Toss out liners that don’t have lids and keep clean brushes in a separate sandwich bag or a travel brush organizer.
•If your makeup bag itself is dirty, try to wipe it out with a baby wipe or maybe it’s time to get a new one!

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