When It’s Time to Toss

Every 6 months I go through my makeup collection and sort out what I don’t wear, and what’s gone bad. These things go straight in the trash. When I was a young college girl, it was hard for me to toss out anything. All it took for me to learn my lesson was a nasty eye infection from old mascara, and now I religiously check my makeup for what needs to go.

If you’re wondering what the shelf life of cosmetics are, here’s the rule of thumb.

  • Foundation and Concealer – These can last up to a year if you keep them in a cool, dark place. But who does that? Mine are in my bathroom. The best think to do is to keep your hands out of the containers. Remember that your hands can introduce unwanted bacteria. I buy foundation that comes in a pump, so I can’t contaminate it. It’s also good to keep an eye on the color and consistency. If it changes color or separates, its time to toss it. If it starts to smell strange, definitely toss it.
  • Powder – Any type. Powder Blush, powder eye shadow, face powder can all be kept for up to two years if stored properly. If it starts to change color, consistency, or odor, toss it.
  • Cream Blush or Cream Eye Shadow – These only last about six to eight months. They harbor bacteria much easier than powder products. Wash your hands well before you open them, and seal them well when you’re done using them, and they’ll last longer.
  • Lip Pencils and Eye Pencils – These can last for up to a year. I’ve had some last for nearly two. It’s best to sharpen them frequently to remove any bacteria. Toss them as soon as they get crumbly or get a white sheen to them, that’s the sign they’ve gone bad. You can also do a sniff test on these. If they smell like a crayon, they’re passed their prime.
  • Liquid Eye Liner and Mascara – These shouldn’t be kept for more than six months. I feel like I’m begging for an eye infection after about four months. The hard part for me is to remember when I opened the tube. I’ve started using a small white sticker with the date on it, and I slap it on the tube of mascara, or liquid eye liner. When I’ve gone about 4 months, I replace it.
  • Lipsticks – Experts say that a lipstick should last only one year. I don’t go by a calendar year. Instead, I use my nose. Once the lipstick starts to smell like a crayon, it’s over. Toss it, and get yourself a new one. If you really want to keep your lipstick fresh, keep it in the fridge. I don’t have room for non-food items in my fridge, but if you do, you might want to make a little room for your cosmetics.
  • Lip Gloss – I use a similar rule of thumb for gloss as I do for lipstick. I find that gloss is quicker to separate than anything else. Once that happens, I toss it. I always sniff gloss before I apply. I’ve put on old, yucky gloss before and it tasted horrible.

I hope that’s helpful. As I was tossing out old cosmetics, I reorganized my current stash. I should say I have two stashes. The one I leave out on the counter for everyday use, and the one I have put away in cupboards and drawers if I need to do something elaborate. I have so much makeup, its shameful. Really.

Here’s what my newly reorganized counter top stash looks like.

Pink Makeup Box with "Every Day" Lipsticks, Mascara, Foundation/Concealer, Blush, Gel Eye Liners

Pink Makeup Box with Eye Palettes, BB Cream, Serum, and Perfume

Combs, Makeup Brushes, Eye Liner Pencils, Makeup Remover

And just because I want you to know why I call myself The Lipstick Gal, here’s the rest of my lip collection. (after I thinned it out)

The "Just-In-Case-I-Need-Them" colors of lipstick and lip gloss I keep in a drawer. This photos was taken after I tossed 15 others out that had passed their prime.

Take some time this weekend and look through your makeup bag. Maybe sniff through your make up bag. Get rid of what is past its “best by” date, and replace it. Your face will thank you.

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3 thoughts on “When It’s Time to Toss

  1. Guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

    • Remember how we used to keep everything in college? I don’t do that anymore. All it took was a really ugly eye for a week to teach me my lesson. By the way, the sniff test works really well.

  2. I weeded out my stash, but then added 4 more lipsticks yesterday. It’s an illness. I can’t help myself.

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