Out with the Old and in with the New: Getting Rid of Expired Makeup

The first official day of the spring season is nearly upon us, which means it’s time for some spring cleaning. This can mean a variety of things for different people, but the main idea is to get rid of the old and make room for the new. Most people would think to clean out their closets and general clutter around their house, not being fully aware that their beauty collection needs some cleaning as well. In case you haven’t heard, makeup does expire, and some of the dangers with using old makeup include bacteria buildup, leading to pink eye, acne and inflammation, according to Women’s Health Magazine.

The unfortunate thing about beauty products is that their expiration dates are not always specified clearly or mentioned at all. To avoid any skin irritations or breakouts, here’s a complete guide on makeup and when you should throw them out:

Out with the Old and In with the New: Getting Rid of Expired MakeupFoundation

One way to make sure that your foundation lasts longer without germs is by squeezing your bottle onto the back of your hand. That way, your fingers don’t touch the spout. Byrdie explains that liquid foundations can last between 6 months to a year, but if the liquid or cream starts separating before then, it’s definitely time to throw it out. Powders tend to last a little longer (up to 2 years), assuming you wash your makeup brushes regularly, clean the top layer once a week and wash your hands before use.


Concealers can last up to one year when taken care of. Some signs that your concealer has expired before the sell by date include a difference in texture, becomes cakey, or a change in smell.

Powders (eyeshadows, bronzers, blush, foundation)

Generally, powdered products last for up to 2 years, although a change in formula or smell is a clear indication that you need to get rid of them.


Pencil liners last up to a year, while eyeliner in pots only last up to 8 months. Pencils are less of a risk for bacteria buildup since you regularly have to sharpen them, getting rid of the top, “dirty” layer. Liquid liners, on the other hand, should be switched every 4 months.


Your eyes are quite vulnerable to infections. That is why ideally you need to be changing your mascara every three 3 months or sooner, if it dries out or smells funny. Also, this is the one product you really shouldn’t be sharing with other people.

Lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss

Both of these are good for up to 1 year. If you apply your lipstick using a makeup brush, it can last for up to 2 years. You’ll also need to occasionally wipe off the top layer to get rid of bacteria.


Beautyblenders and others sponges are perfect hosts for bacteria. Even with regular cleaning, you really should be replacing them every couple of months or so. In terms of cleanliness, brushes are safer to use, as long as you also clean them on a weekly basis.

Natural products
Anything that is free from chemicals and preservatives will expire sooner than your products. An article on the Huffington Post says that storing them in the fridge can make them last a little longer, but the shelf life for these products normally never exceeds 6 months.

If you can’t bring yourself to throw out your old makeup, consider turning it into an art project, switching your face for a real blank canvas. In a video from a Teen Vogue series shared on The Scene, YouTube personality Claudia Sulewski and makeup artist Kandee Johnson put expired makeup to use by painting with old foundations, lipsticks and eyeshadows.