Here’s When To Toss Your Makeup, So That You Don’t Accidentally Cause An Eye Infection

Let’s face it, beauty addicts. Makeup is not meant to last forever. So even if you have some cannot-live-without-’em beauty products, take a look through your makeup bag to learn which beauty items you can keep, and when to toss your makeup.


As much as you try to keep your hands clean, icky bacteria can attach itself to your fingers—and make a home in your foundation. So if you’re dabbing your fingertips into your foundation bottle, you should ideally toss your foundation every 6-8 months or so. To extend the life of your foundation, consider buying one with a pump; it will stay fresher longer (up to 8 months or more). And if you can’t remember the last time you tossed your foundation, you’re in luck. Foundation changes color as often as twice a year, so when you see your ivory foundation turning a yucky shade of yellow, you’ll know it’s time for the garbage.

Mascara and Eye Shadow

If you’re using liquid eyeliner, you can keep it for up to 6 months and then get a fresh one. If you’re using regular mascara, you can keep it for 6 months as well as long as it hasn’t gotten clumpy or smelly. That said, if you develop an eye infection, you’ll need to pitch all your eye products in the garbage and buy all new ones. Eyeshadow has one of the longest lives of makeup, lasting as long as 3 years, as long as you use brushes (and wash those regularly), don’t dip your fingers in them, or haven’t reused them after recovering from an eye infection. And if you use pencil eyeliner, sharpen it before each usage for a perfect point, and to keep them clean, too.


Your nail polish can last for up to 2 years, unless you have an infection, in which case you’ll need to toss it. But once the color starts to separate or change, you should throw it out and get a new polish.


All products that make your pout pretty can last up to two years (provided that you don’t finish them first!) However, if you develop a cold sore or infection, lipstick, lip gloss, and even lip liner will need to be replaced.

Face Powder and Blush/Bronzer

Powder face makeup can last over a year, as long as you haven’t had any severe breakouts or skin infections (and yes, an excessively oily face can speed up the lifespan of face powder.) Blushes and bronzers can last longer, especially since you’ll probably be changing your color palette with each season. If you use clean brushes, you stand to get a good 3 or more years out of your bronzer or powder blush.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to use your best judgment as to when to toss your makeup. As a rule of thumb, if your product changes color, has an odd smell, or if you’ve had some sort of infection, you should always err on the side of caution and just throw it out.

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