Here's Exactly When You Should Replace Each Item In Your Makeup Bag

We all have those beloved products that we have a really hard time parting with. But let’s face it, our makeup products don’t (and shouldn’t!) last forever. There comes a point when you have to let go and accept the fact that your favorite beauty product becomes less than beautiful and bacteria ridden. Cosmetics trap bacteria, which means replacing them regularly is necessary to avoid skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes.

If that doesn’t gross you out enough, here’s another scary fact: cosmetic products are not required to contain an expiration date and for those that do, they can be very difficult to read. Therefore, there is no way of really knowing when they should be thrown out.

So to make it super simple and to help avoid you some seriously gross learning lessons, here is how to know exactly how long you can use your favorite products without worry.


Lipstick can last quite some time because of its formula; but the biggest reason that it spoils is because it is repeatedly exposed to the mouth area. Lipsticks and glosses contain oily ingredients that start to smell like stale cooking oil over time. You can also keep an eye out in a change of texture, lipstick becomes hard and no longer has a smooth application, it’s time to throw it out.

Tip: Keep your lipstick in a cool, dry place. Also, apparently you can put your lipstick in the freezer overnight to kill bacteria… I mean it wouldn’t hurt to try!

Liquid Foundation:

All non-powder foundations are water based, meaning they are bacteria magnates. Liquid foundation has shelf life of a couple of years, but as soon as the seal is broken, it is best to replace it in six months to a year. Foundation is the one product that is usually labeled with an expiration date; however, if it starts to have an off smell, begins to separate, or has a slight change in color, it’s best to just throw it out. Applying expired foundation can cause breakouts and irritation. To decrease the shelf life, keep foundations out of moist environments (like your bathroom) and away from heat, high temperatures can speed up the process of spoiling.

Tip: Keep your fingers out from the opening of the bottle. Simply pour your product on the back of your hand (of course, make sure your hands are clean) and apply product with a brush or sponge from there.


Concealer is used to cover blemishes and breakouts, not create them. This it what would happen if your product is too old. Liquid concealers usually last up to one year, while powder and stick forms can last up to two years. Pay attention to the pigment and the change of color to determine if it is time to replace your current concealer.

Face Powders- Foundation/Blush/Bronzer/Highlight:

Face powders are the one product that can last you forever, especially when it comes to blush, bronzers, and highlight. Texture is an indicator–– if it becomes too hard and looses it powdery consistency, it’s time to buy a new one. To prolong the life of any powder, clean your brushes regularly and store the products in a dark, dry place.

Tip: You can also put isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and spray over pressed powders to disinfect them.


Mascara is probably the worst of the bunch, and goes bad the quickest; just think the brush it taken out, applied then put back in the tube with bacteria picked up and transferred along the way. Bacteria can cause redness and itchiness, or even conjunctivitis (a.k.a pinkeye) and sties. One of the easiest ways of knowing that it’s time to replace your mascara is it becomes clumpy and dried out. It can also start to smell bad, giving off a gasoline type smell.

Tip: Don’t EVER share mascara, that’s just asking for trouble!


Because eyeliner is applied near a sensitive area, it can pick up bacteria and bring it back to the eye very easily without any visible signs of contaminations. You could experience redness, itchiness, or, in extreme cases, conjunctivitis if a contaminated liner is used. Sharpening pencils have a longer shelf life because they are regularly sharpened, removing the contaminated layer.

Tip: You can spray a little bit of isopropyl alcohol on a tissue and lightly wipe off the tip to clean off.

Which one of these surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!