HELPFUL TIPS: When To Dispose Of Makeup Products

A woman wears makeup to highlight her best features and sometimes hide small flaws. Makeup should never contribute to flaws or skin issues, so it’s critical that a woman clean out her makeup collection on a regular basis by removing items past recommended use dates, items she no longer uses, or colors that are out of date or don’t suit her new hair color.

Always dispose of makeups that change texture, color, or smell. And do throw away items that are past these dates for safety and health. No one wants to break out or worse.

Woman Eye

Mascara – three months is the limit for mascara. The brush wears and doesn’t function optimally, and because the brush is dipped into the bottle again and again with the brush, bacteria can breed in the bottle. Mascara also starts to dry out. Replace mascara regularly to protect eye health.

Eye color – liquid eye liner, similar to mascara in the applicator being stored in the bottle, liquid eyeliner needs to be replaced more frequently than its cream and powder counterparts. Liquids are good up to six months; creams can last a year; powders are usually good for two years.

Powders – blush, eye shadows, facial powders, etc. – powders that are applied with brushes (and do clean brushes regularly) are good up to two years. To extend use, wipe pressed powders with a tissue to keep them clean and fresh, and always seal tightly.

Lipsticks – lipsticks will last up to two years. Wiping them from time to time (and never sharing) will extend their life.

Lip gloss – glosses are good up to six months. As with liquid liners and masacara, the applicator is used on the lips and places back in the bottle, which means the possibility of bacteria.

Foundation/Corrector/brightener – these are usually creams, and these will last up to one year. Using a cotton swab, in place of applicators that are stored in the bottle, will extend the life of the item. Pumps are more likely to be good for that full year.

Pencils – both eye and lip pencils will last up to two years. These are regularly sharpened, which serves like a cleaning.

With all makeup, avoid exposure to extended sunlight and high temperatures. In other words, don’t leave makeup in the car.

While these limits can appear expensive, there are some favorite brands that will recycle used product containers.

MAC has a recycling incentive program: Recycle six primary packaging containers and receive a free lipstick. That’s right, recycling old colors means a new color. Awesome! (Aveda will recycle caps for customers (no incentive), and Kiehl’s sometimes has incentives to recycle but will always accept empty containers for recycling.)

Mamasita Amber
Mama of three children and proud new mama of a standard poodle named Prince Miguel.

26 Responses to “HELPFUL TIPS: When To Dispose Of Makeup Products

  • I’m a naughty make up girl. I keep my mascara until it runs out. OMG. I’m literally going to soak my make up brushes now.

  • Yikes lol I have some cleaning up to do in my makeup bag! Thanks for the tips I have lip gloss older than my son!!! 0.0 hahahaha

    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    7 years ago

    This is good to know. I don’t wear makeup, so I don’t have to worry about it 🙂

  • I tend not to wear make up 90% of the time but I do have a huge collection of lip glosses.

  • this was really helpful thank you!

    Jennifer Williams
    7 years ago

    I had no idea that the time for expiration was so short for these, I knew it was there but wow. I am way over on all of them.

  • I don’t wear makeup as I never learned how to apply it properly but these are great tips should I ever start.

  • I am not a makeup girl. I very rarely use any. I do have lots of Makeup though (I used to sell Avon). You know that saying, out of sight, out of mind…I don’t use it, so I seldom bother with it. I really should go through and sort it out.

  • I never knew expiration was really so short on most make up! I always went with a 2 year shelf life. Even if make up doesn’t last that long I am surprised and now paying attention

  • thank you for sharing I always wonder when I should throw out my make up. I tend to keep things forever.

  • Nice. I did not realize makeup expired but I guess keeping products close to the face can build up bacteria.

  • It’s always good to be reminded of these things – I always forget to go through things whoops! x

  • I had no idea MAC did that, how cool. I haven’t bought make-up in years, because I don’t wear it very often and when I do it’s one of the mineral powders that I apply with a brush, but I have a couple MAC eye shadows that should probably be recycled

  • I am guilty of going past dates with some stuff! I have soo much beauty products!

  • What great tips! Thank you so much for sharing. I didn’t know that about lipstick, I better clean out my collection! LOL

  • Wow. This is all brand new information for me because I know very little about make up. These are really helpful. I do wear lip gloss a lot and I’m sure they last more than 6 months. Uh oh!

  • I use makeup occasionally. I would have never thought about discarding mascara after 3 months. Thanks for the tip.

  • I did not realize that mascara only lasted 3 months. I don’t wear much makeup anymore now that I am retired so I haven’t been switching out my mascara that often. I will have to remember to do so.

  • I have so much makeup my husband thinks it’s some kind of disorder, I wear very little now being a stay at home mom but I still love to look good when I leave the house. The kids joke and say she can’t go to the store with out her makeup on and hair done while it’s true you never know who you will run into right ? I do throw out the old stuff after 3 months usually the pigments start to fade and the mascara’s start drying out

  • Thanks for these tips. I don’t wear makeup very often but have been trying to wear a little more these days. I always wondered how long things like that last. I remember being younger and keeping eye shadows for years and mascara….can you say Ewww!

  • Great tips! The mention of liquid eyeliner made me wish for youth for half a second. That was my favorite eye look but now I’m getting fine lines and liquid liner’s not pretty with those at all. 😉

  • I never know when to chuck mine. I so rarely use them I feel like they could last longer.

  • I don’t wear too much makeup, I want to but I don’t go out too much to wear it. Thank you for sharing these tips!

  • Great tips! I usually just throw them away when they’re out.

  • I am horrible about throwing stuff out. I need to do a makeup purge.

  • These are some great tips. I don’t think I change up or dispose of my old makeup often enough. I’m going to be more mindful of that.

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