Keep or Toss? When It’s Time To Replace Your Makeup

Last week I woke up with two flaming red eyes that were weeping with gunk. No, it wasn’t pink eye. Instead, I had broken a cardinal law of makeup and eye health. I didn’t throw away all my makeup after a previous eye infection. And while my violet kohl eyeliner rocked, it had, in fact, re-infected both my eyes with disgusting bacteria.

woman with big eyes

The violet devil went into the bin.

I knew better. I really did. But I desperately wanted to hold on to that eyeliner. So, a week before when my eye had first shown its wrath, I took the eyeliner and tried to clean my eyeliner to save it from the trash. That’s right. I was so insane for my makeup that I actually thought sterilizing the eyeliner would actually work.

Obviously, it did not work. And, thankfully, both my eyes are once again happy and healthy. Although, I do miss that purple eyeliner.

In honour of my lovely lesson of makeup horror, I will now impress upon you the importance of cleaning out your makeup to keep your eyes infection free. It’s a great excuse to go shopping and replace your makeup! And I may save your skin from a few breakouts, too!

Should you keep or replace your makeup? Get your bin ready!

How often should you replace your mascara?

If you have a mascara that’s one month old, that’ ok, keep it, unless, of course, you’ve had an eye infection, then—for the love of all that is good—TOSS IT! Mascara lasts up to three months.

When should you throw away your eyeshadow?

If you still have eyeshadow palettes from several years ago, toss it! You can keep powder shadow up to about two years, but after that toss it out. And, if the colours seem dated, feel free to toss it. Again, though, any eye infections mean toss everything! EVERYTHING!

makeup collection

How long can you keep lipstick?

If you still have last year’s lipstick, keep it! Lipstick has a fairly long shelf life. Usually about two years. So hold onto that balm or lipstick. If it’s broken, you can toss it. Or scrape off the top to refinish it. If you’ve had a cold sore, though, I’d toss that balm and buy a new one.

How long does foundation last for?

If you live in an area that has seasons, Autumn (fall) and Winter often signal a paler complexion. But there will be a transition point, so you may need to hold onto your summer foundation to mix with a paler colour for the ideal shade. Don’t keep liquid foundations for more than six months max, though. For me, I don’t want foundation sitting any longer than six months…that’s just gross.

When should I throw out my nail polish?

I don’t throw away nail polish until it becomes so gloopy that it doesn’t apply evenly. I have held onto one limited edition shade since 1997. No, I’m not kidding…and, no, it isn’t any good. But it was such a fantastic colour! Good Housekeeping says that you should toss nail polish after two years, though. So if yours is older than this…unfortunately…TOSS!

How and when to clean your makeup brushes

You also cannot forget to deal with your makeup brushes when cleaning out the beauty stash. Make-up brushes need to be cleaned regularly. You put these brushes on your face daily as part of your beauty routine, and they can harbor disgusting bacteria. Use a gentle soap (like baby soap) to clean the bristles and disinfect the handles with rubbing alcohol. How often you need to clean makeup brushes varies on the type of brush. In an article by Allure, the writers noted that most dermatologists recommend cleaning brushes used on the face—for foundation, powder, blush and concealer—on a weekly basis and that  brushes for eye products should be cleaned a few times per month.  I clean my brushes weekly…just to be safe!

makeup brushes

When you’re looking out for your skin and eyes, don’t forget to look down at your hands, too. Many of us wear rings on a daily basis. Some of those rings almost never come off. Clean those rings! Otherwise you may end up with a scaly itchy finger when soap or debris becomes trapped under rings. If you’re worried about cleaning fine jewelry like diamonds, don’t be. You can clean rings at home…just be careful (and don’t ever leave a drain open!). Use hot water and mild dish soap, soak the ring for about 15 minutes then use a soft bristle toothbrush to get the yuck out!

Now go forth and clean out your beauty stash. Throw out all your old nasty products that could hurt your skin and eyes and clean those rings and brushes! Good health is beautiful…but infections are not!

Gwen Lewis

Gwen Lewis

Gwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the fashion and health industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf.
Gwen Lewis

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