How Old Is Too Old? When to Toss Your Makeup

How Old Is Too Old? When to Toss Your Makeup

Confession: We have (and shamefully still do) use makeup that we probably should be tossing out. It’s an easy habit to fall into when we’re SO busy and we can just grab what’s already in our makeup bags. Are we right, ladies? It’s not that we’re purposely trying to keep using these expired products; it’s just that we really don’t give it much thought.

The saying “When you know better, you do better.” is true, which is why today we’re sharing some tips on how to determine if your cosmetics need to get the boot. So, get that makeup bag out—it’s time to purge!

1. LIP PRODUCTS

Some of us just don’t feel like ourselves without a pretty pout. Whether it’s our go-to daily color or the occasional rosy red, how do you know if your lipstick or gloss is still good and safe to wear?

A recent article on dermstore.com touched on this very topic with Dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, who suggested that if you use the same lipstick every day, then it’s a good idea to get a new one every 6 to 12 months.

If the shade of the lipstick is not its original color, if it seems dry or is cracked and hard to apply, them that’s when you should say so long. If nothing else, it gives you a great excuse to hit up your favorite beauty store or website and load up on the latest shades!

2. FOUNDATION + CONCEALERS

Would you believe it if we told you that covering your face with an expired foundation or concealer could actually harm your skin? It’s true.

A sign that your foundation is old and out of date is when you go to apply it and you notice that the foundation itself is clumpy or starts to separate. Another tell-tale sign is if you notice that the color and consistency has changed and/or if it smells bad.

So, what’s the shelf life of foundations and cream-based face makeup? Byrdie.com suggests 6 months to 1 year. 

3. MASCARA

Here at The Lash Lounge (and thanks to lash extensions, of course), we rarely use mascara. If we do, it’s one of our lash extension-friendly mascaras. Whether you use mascara each and every day or once in a blue moon, it’s important to know when to toss it out.

Since mascara is something we apply, insert back into the tube, then usually apply again, this means that it’s more likely to carry bacteria—YUCK! That’s why we recommend replacing it every 3 months, especially if you use it regularly.

Signs that your mascara simply is not good anymore are if it’s turned into a clumpy, thick or dried formula, it’s discolored and/or has a foul odor.

4. NAIL POLISH

Who else is hanging their heads in shame on this one? If you’re like us and you know you’ve got bottles that are SUPER old, you’re not alone! Nail polish is one of those products we collect over the years and, for some reason, just can’t let go (we love all the pretty colors!).

When it comes to polish, it’s usually pretty easy to tell when you’ve got an old bottle on your hands. When it’s sticky, overly thick, dry, it applies poorly or has changed color, it’s time to pitch it.

Even if none of the above symptoms pop up, just like mascara, it’s also unsanitary to keep old polish that you use on the regular. The formula can contain and continually grow bacteria, so it’s a good (and safe) idea to toss out and replace your favorite shades every 1–2 years, tops!


Makeup may vary when it comes to shelf life, but if you pay attention to the products themselves, it’s pretty easy to recognize when it’s time to toss them. And when that time comes, go ahead and pitch them right then so you don’t hang on to it for another year.

Need a quick rundown? You got it! See below for the products we’ve discussed and when to replace ’em:

  • LIP PRODUCTS: Every 6 to 12 months
  • FOUNDATION + CONCEALERS: Every 6 to 12 months
  • MASCARA: Every 3 months
  • NAIL POLISH: Every 1 to 2 years

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