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When To Throw Out Makeup and Beauty Products

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I have a confession to make. I have never been big on makeup. Sure, there have been moments over the years that I tried more than others to perfect my look but as the years and lines have progressed, I have found that less is more. There is nothing worse than spending hours doing your makeup only to have it accentuate all those lines more.

Skin care has become more of an obsession for me now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited by a new lipstick or a free offer. I mean who doesn’t like free?! Unfortunately, because I rarely have an opportunity to get dolled up, my makeup sits dormant. Sometimes for years! And that can’t be good. 

As I been decluttering my house room by room, I have finally got to my bathroom and “the drawer”. You know the one. Filled with samples and eyeshadows and lipsticks and brushes galore. Ew. What a breeding ground for bacteria this is! Am I seriously thinking of putting this stuff on my eyes and skin? It’s hard I must admit, to throw some of these things out. I do love some of the makeup in here but some products I knew right away I didn’t like them but I spent a mint on them so I was reluctant to just toss them out.

But it is time for some tough love. I mean seriously, for someone that admittedly doesn’t do makeup often, why the heck do I have so much?

Since most don’t come with an expiration date on it, it may be difficult to know when to throw out makeup and beauty products. Click through for a printable cheat sheet. #makeup #declutter


It is pretty appalling how much makeup I’ve stockpiled and managed to shove in my makeup drawer. 

I started tackling this drawer by getting rid of the stuff I know I didn’t like or have never used. Like ever. And that was the easy part.

The makeup and skincare I do like was a little more tricky. Because most makeup doesn’t come with an expiration date clearly written on it, it is hard to know when it is time to to throw it out. I searched the internet and I’ve put together a rundown and cheat sheet to help figure out when it is time to throw out makeup and beauty products by product type. I did have to try and remember when I purchased some of this stuff. But when in doubt, to be safe, I pitched it.

Makeup Expiration Dates Including Beauty Products

  1. Anti-aging and acne products.
    Beauty and anti-aging skin products contain active ingredients that can lose their potency quickly. Some beauty product active ingredients last only 3 months. Others can last a year. Watch for a change in colour and consistency, or a change in the smell of the product. If any of these 3 things have changed, don’t chance it.  Throw it out.
  2. Mascara/liquid eyeliners/eye shadow.
    Mascara can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Replace your mascara every 3 months. Same with liquid eyeliner. Those dark, moist tubes are breeding grounds for bacteria. (And while we’re talking about mascara, make sure that you don’t “pump” your mascara. Pumping only mixes the bacteria even more into the tube, and dries it out faster.) An expired eye shadow will start to get cakey and not sit well once it’s applied and will flake off easily. The best advice for products like shadows and liners that are applied so close to your eyes is “when in doubt, toss it out.”
  1. Lipgloss/lipstick. Lip gloss and lipsticks can last up to two years. Lip pencils last the longest since they can stay fresh just by sharpening them. You can easily tell if a lipstick is past its prime if the tube is dried out and if the consistency seems chalky when applied.
  2. Nail Polish. Nail polish can last from one to two years. You can tell the polish is no longer good if the consistency has changed. If the polish gets stringy when you remove the brush from the bottle or if the polish seems thicker and doesn’t apply easily, it’s time to get rid of it. To make your polish last longer, store in a cool, dry place (not the hot, humid bathroom.) Also, always store nail polish with the bottle standing upright, so the polish doesn’t seal the bottle and make it hard to open. 
  3. Foundation Liquid foundation makeup only lasts about six months. Powdered formulas can last up to two years. If you’re not sure if it’s worth keeping, give your foundation the smell test. If the smell seems off that means it’s past its prime. Also, it’s time to get rid of your liquid makeup if the formula is separating in the bottle.

Click on the following makeup expiration chart to download and print or pin it to save it for future reference.

Since most don’t come with an expiration date on it, it may be difficult to know when to throw out makeup and beauty products. Click through for a printable cheat sheet. #makeup #declutter

Don’t forget to check the makeup you have stashed in your purse and briefcase (and car) too. Makeup and beauty products that are exposed to heat and changes in temperature, don’t last as long and can turn bad much faster.

Good luck cleaning out your makeup and beauty products stash. I hope this guide helps you get rid of some of your makeup clutter and helps you decide when it’s time to throw your makeup out too!

About the author:

Rosemond is a divorce blogger who shares tales of divorce, dating, and all things that make up life over 40. You can follow her at

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