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How You Know When It's Time To Throw Out Your Makeup...

When it comes to food best-before dates, it's relatively important to stick to it as going past a day or two could mean it'll make you sick. But what about our make up? Should we be as strict when it comes to makeup best-before dates? And how do you even know when your make up has gone off?!

When make up does eventually go bad, it can be dangerous to use as the bacteria that eventually grows on the product can cause eye infections and even acne. To find out how long you should keep your makeup and how you can prevent it from going off too early, keep reading...

Foundation and Concealer

When To Ditch

Life expectancy of a foundation depends on the ingredients. A water-based foundation will last for about 12 months, whereas an oil-based foundation will last for around 18 months, as oil is a natural preservative.

How You Know When It’s Time To Toss

You know when it’s time to throw out your foundation when the oils begin to separate. You can also tell as the coverage won't be as good as it used to be and will appear streaky on the skin.

How To Protect

To prevent your foundation from going off so soon, it’s best to keep it somewhere cool and away from the sun, and regularly give it a shake to mix the oils, water and make up. And when it comes to application, try not to touch the applicator of the foundation to keep bacteria at bay.

Blusher, Bronzer & Face Powder

When To Ditch

Many people believe that powder make-up doesn’t ever expire, but we can safely say – it does. The recommended time is 18 months though, as without water it’s harder for bacteria to grow.

How You Know When It’s Time To Toss

When using your blusher or powder, you often transfer oils from your face, to the brush, and then to the powder, which can cause either a dull grey film on the product or a hard rim on it. When you begin to notice that, it’s time to chuck.

How To Protect

Always make sure you’ve replaced the lid after using the powder to avoid oxidation that can change the colour of the powder. Avoid applying oily concealers or foundations before applying powder as those oils can be transferred back onto the powder through the brush you use (and make sure you wash your brush regularly, as always).


When To Ditch

Your mascara is ready to throw out after three months if used regularly and six months if used occasionally. Bacteria can develop quite quickly in wet environments which is why mascara goes off so quickly, and the brush picks up bacteria from our eyelashes too.

How You Know When It’s Time To Toss

Normally your mascara begins to smell off after a little while but either way, throw it out after three to six months to avoid nasty eye infections.

How To Protect

Don’t pump the wand as it causes more air to get into the tube and means the mascara will dry out. Instead, just twist the wand a few times in the tube to pick up more product.


When To Ditch

This depends on the type. Liquid eyeliners are the same as mascaras as they pick up the bacteria from around our eyes, so they need to be thrown away after three months. However pencil eye liners can last for up to three years as you can remove the bacteria when you sharpen them. Useful!

How You Know When It’s Time To Toss

For a pencil eye liner, if a white film appears on the end and you can’t sharpen it off, throw it out.

How To Protect

When it comes to liquid eye liner, clean the tip after every use. For pencil eye liners, sanitise your sharpener with rubbing alcohol so that when you sharpen the pencil, you won’t be adding bacteria.

Lipstick and Lip-gloss

When To Ditch

Normally lipsticks and lip-glosses can last for about 12-18 months as they’re both packed with preservatives to keep germs away, but these do eventually break down.

How You Know When It’s Time To Toss

If there’s an excess of moisture, odd smells or a chalk-like texture, it’s time to toss.

How To Protect

Keep them both in the fridge to avoid bacteria growth!

Make up brushes

Makeup brushes can last a long time depending on their quality and if they’re looked after well.

When to Ditch

When the bristles begin falling out, that’s when you know it’s time to say bye.

How To Protect

Make sure you wash you brush at least every two weeks, this won’t only help prolong their life, but will also make sure you’re not transferring bacteria from the brush to your face.

Simply mix warm water and some soap and swirl the brush around until the water runs clean, rinse thoroughly and leave out to dry.

Final Thoughts

So if we've learnt anything, it's that makeup best-before dates are more important than we thought (and so is cleaning your makeup brushes!) Replace your eye makeup products regularly to prevent eye infections and make sure you skincare is in date so you're not applying bacteria to your face every day and causing unwanted acne!



Annabel Wood


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