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How long is makeup is good for Guideline (Organic and Non-Organic)

Updated on February 18, 2013
Time to toss!
Time to toss!

Although you may think that your mascara is good as long as it comes out of the tube, it probably isn't. When it comes out clumpy and flakes off its time to kick it to the curb.

It is best to toss out old makeup before it gives you an eye infection or makes you break out when it didn't a month ago. Below is a guideline for how long each item of makeup lasts.

Time to inspect and toss!
Time to inspect and toss!

Non Organic Makeup and Other Cosmetic Item Guidelines

From the first use of makeup:

  • Mascara should be kept no longer than 3 to 6 months. I replace mine every 1-2 months depending on which brand I am currently using. If it starts to flake, change odour, texture or colour it is time to toss.
  • Oil-Free and Cream Foundations should be kept no longer than 12 months. When they start to thicken, change colour or odour they have gone bad.
  • Concealer is good for 12 to 18 months. It is time to toss them when they change colour or thicken.
  • Powder should not be kept for longer than 18 months. When the texture changes when it is applied or the colour changes it should go in the trash.
  • Blush & Bronzer are good for 18 months. They are powders that is not applied to your eyes. Toss once they change texture when applied, the dry out or the colour is off.
  • Cream Blush is good for 12 months. When the texture, colour and odour change it is time to toss.
  • Eye shadow is good for 18 months. Toss once it becomes dry, application is harder and the colour changes.
  • Eyeliner is good for 12 months. It has gone bad then the texture, colour or odour has changed. Be sure to sharpen before every usage to cut down on bacteria picked up from application.
  • Liquid Eyeliner should be tossed after 6 months. The liquid is a hotbed for bacteria as it is exposed to the air and your eye.
  • Lipstick/Lip Gloss is good for 18 months. Time for the trash when the taste, odour or stickiness changes.
  • Lipliner is good for 12 months. Sharped after each use. It should go in the bin once it changes colour, texture or odour.
  • Nail Polish should be tossed after 12 months. It starts to change colour and separation is harder to mix back up.
  • Perfume is usually good for 2 to 3 years if stores in a cool dry place, such as a dry basement. Time to toss them when the scent changes and goes off.
  • Sunscreen is usually good until the expiration date on the bottle. The expiration date is for the SPF, when it expires the SPF is not guaranteed to work.

Organic Makeup Guidelines

If you use Organic cosmetics they expire sooner than non organic cosmetics due to not having preservatives in them. This is the only down side to organic makeup. You must be vigilant with expiration times.

From the first use of organic makeup:

  • Mascara is good for 1 to 3 months or until it smells bad.
  • Eyeliner and eye shadow should be tossed after 2 to 3 months.
  • Eye liner pencils can be kept for 1 to 2 years if regularly sharpened to keep germs away that could of been picked up during application.
  • Lipsticks can be kept up to a years or until it smells bad.
  • Lipgloss and balms should be tossed out after 6 to 12 months. Being a liquid and applied to the lips creates a haven for germs and bacteria to breed.
  • Liquid Foundation is good for 6 to 18 months depending on it is an open-top bottle and/or you are using your fingers to apply it.
  • Cream foundation is good for 6 to 12 months. If you using you fingers to apply then it should be discarded sooner.

The Bottom Line

You don't want to be applying to your face something that has bacteria growing in it or is rancid. The last thing you want is to give yourself a terrible infection over a $22 eyeliner or mascara.

With the idea of bacteria living in my makeup, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea to change my makeup out more often. Plus then you get to try new things more often as well. You can extend the life of your makeup a short while if you change and clean your applicators and brushes often, daily clean with a weekly deep clean and sanitize. Also by keeping containers tightly shut when not being used, not sharing with others and to keep away from moisture, so storing your stash outside of the bathroom. These time periods are not set in stone but once they start to change texture, ordour or colour they are definately ready to be tossed.

Regardless of whether it’s organic or not, an expired cosmetic can contain many harmful bacteria that can cause you serious health problems. Conjunctivitis, or pink-eye, is one of the lesser conditions that can be caused by bacteria in expired makeup. The bacteria that cause perioral dermatitis (which is a burning, acne-like rash around the mouth, nose, and eyes, can also be found. Additionally, you could get a staph, yeast, or fungal infection.

Better safe than sorry!

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