When to Throw Away Makeup Cosmetics Tricks Tips

When to Throw Away Makeup: Guide to Keeping or Tossing Cosmetics

When to Throw Away MakeupWhen to Throw Away Makeup

Somehow, many of us manage to collect a large amount of cosmetics, but only use a fraction of them. As a beauty blogger, I receive a lot of samples and while at least half get donated to charity, that still leaves me with a lot of product to deal with. Our bathroom storage is overrun with lotions and potions, many of which spoil before we can ever enjoy them. Do you know When to Throw Away Makeup?

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The allure of stores like Ulta and Sephora are strong and I do love a good subscription box, I know firsthand, but we have to stay disciplined, and practice not bringing in products in the first place, unless we absolutely need them. What should we do with the collection from beauty boxes we’ve already amassed? Here’s what you should keep and what you should toss, when it comes to cosmetics. We hope that you love these tips on When to Throw Away Makeup.

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When to Throw Away Makeup

Powdered Makeup

  • Keep: Makeup products that come in powder form and have not been exposed to moisture can last quite a while (up to two years). To prevent bacteria growth, clean your makeup brushes regularly.
  • Toss: If you’ve had any sort of skin or eye infection, you need to toss your powdered makeup products, despite their otherwise long shelf life.

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Keep: Pencils can also keep for a long time (up to two years), but you’ll need to clean and sharpen the tips regularly. Be sure to clean your sharpener periodically, too.

When to Throw Away Makeup


Toss: Mascara is a petri dish of bacteria. It’s a moist product that lives in an air-tight container…and the wand comes in direct contact with the very fibers your body grows to catch debris before it has access to your eyeball…Ever thought about it that way?? This is one product you really need to replace regularly. It can keep for a maximum of two months, but if it gets dry or if you have an infection, toss it immediately. Consider purchasing disposable mascara wands to really make your mascara last longer. I have found that I get way less clumps as well.

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Foundations, Concealers, Creamy Liquids

Keep: Foundations, concealers, and other creamy or liquid products can be kept for up to a year. Anything more than that is dangerous (for similar reasons as mascara).

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Toss: Lipsticks that smell funny, have changed in texture or are more than two years old should be tossed.

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Keep: Perfume lasts for up to five years, as long as it isn’t exposed to heat or bright lights for extreme lengths of time. If the color or scent changes, it’s time to call it quits.

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Skin and Hair Care Products (Opened)

Toss: Opened skin and hair care products that are more than two years old must go! (You can keep unopened products for three years.) These include all hair styling products, body washes, scrubs, face masks, lotions, moisturizers, facial treatments…and anything that goes on the body! Many of these concoctions are made in labs, with chemicals that break down or change over time.

If you’re using all-natural products, the shelf life is even shorter. A smart rule of thumb is to only buy as much as you can use up in a year’s time.

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When to Throw Away Makeup

Makeup Brushes

Keep: Your makeup brushes should last forever, but you have to take good care of them. Clean them with brush cleaner regularly and allow them to air dry. If you can, store brushes standing up to dry, so the bristles will be protected. Check out these adorable holders for beauty blenders so they can dry properly.

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Nail Polish

Toss: If your nail polish is super thick, goopy, chunky or separated, let it go. Sure, you could add a few drops of nail polish remover to thin it out and extend its lifespan, but ask yourself how often you really use that shade if it has been sitting long enough to expire.


We hope that you are inspired by these tips for When to Throw Away Makeup. Happy organizing, beauties!

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21 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Mascara is the worst. Even when they’re unopened, they don’t seem to last very long. I don’t even want to think about what’s growing one that has been open for a while.

  2. Kat

    This is a great resource! It’s so easy to forget to clean out the ol’ makeup inventory. I’ve got some work to do!

  3. The word ‘toss’ was so relaxing for some reason. Anyways, yeah, before, I didn’t know makeup expires but after I knew they do, I try to toss them out when it’s not good!

  4. Thanks for sharing these nice tips on when to throw away unused makeup products. My partner will surely love to read it.

  5. Jeanell

    Great post. I just started wearing makeup last year, so I found this to be very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lisa Rios

    Well, now I have sooo much makeup to throw away haha

  7. this is an awesome reminder. i regularly toss makeup that has reached its expiration

  8. This is some great information on what makeup to keep and toss. If a lipstick starts to change color (like white waxy color) or if foundation starts looking watery, I throw it out.

  9. These are such great makeup tips. I always keep an eye on when it’s time to throw away certain items!

  10. Rosey

    I just had to throw my pencils away. I stored them in the bathroom and they got melty (I guess from daily showers?). I usually don’t throw those away though, because like you said, they keep a long time. Shadows and brushes I replace pretty often.

  11. Alexandra Cook

    I actually don’t know where to throw away makeup. I just put them in a box if I found it not useful for me. Thank you so much for sharing,

  12. I needed to read this post! I am so bad at getting rid of my old makeup.

  13. I always struggle with this. Never sure when I should let go of certain mascaras, or whether my eyeliner has expired.

  14. This is such a helpful post ☺ I am so cheap! I use makeup products until I notice any change in their color or texture 🙈 Now, gotta check my beauty stash again!

  15. This post was so informative…definitely think I need to replace some of my cosmetics! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Krista

    I need to be so much more intentional about cleaning my makeup brushes and tossing old stuff. I even struggle with organization of it generally. Thanks for the tips.

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