Spring Clean Your Makeup Bag

It doesn’t feel like it in the UK at the moment but, apparently, Spring is here.  I often think Spring is a better time to take stock and re-set.  The cold, dark days of January and February are gone and, as the days get lighter and longer, it feels easier to stick to working towards any goals I may set.  It’s also a time of Spring Cleaning so I’m going to work through the house, one room at a time, and sort through all of our stuff to see what we need, what we love, what we can donate for someone else to need/love it and what really needs to be thrown away.

One area which I am fairly good at anyway, having got into a routine of going through it on a regular basis and not buying more than I really need is my makeup and skincare products.  However, if you aren’t in the habit of clearing out your makeup bag and have products in there that you can’t remember when you bought them maybe it’s time to spring clean the makeup bag or box or cabinet or wherever you keep it.

So, how long should you keep your makeup and skincare products for anyway?  Well, as with food, each product has a different use by date.  For skincare products, you may be able to find out how long you can use a product for after opening by looking on the packaging to see if there is a little jar symbol like the ones I found on a couple of my makeup products:


Even if you do find the jar symbol it is worth thinking about whether or not you would be better off discarding some products within the 24 months as shown on these products due to the risk of bacteria build-up.  If you don’t have a symbol to show you how long you should keep a product for then how do you know?  Well, I have done a little bit of research and found the following.  It is worth noting, however, that there is a lot of conflicting information out there so I have stuck to website which I think should be more accurate and trustworthy such as WebMD, Elle, Good Housekeeping and NBC News.

Let’s get that makeup bag sorted!

When to throw it out:

  • 3 months
    • Mascara
    • Liquid eye liner
  • 6 months
    • Cream eye shadow
    • Liquid foundation and concealer (if it has a pump dispenser it can last up to 12 months)
    • Skincare products with anti-aging properties, eg moisturiser, after opening
  • 12 months
    • Liquid foundation with a pump dispenser
    • Sunscreen
    • Haircare products – shampoo, conditioner, styling products, hair brushes
  • 24 months
    • Powder eye shadow
    • Eye pencils
    • Powder foundation
    • Lipstick and lip gloss
    • Lip pencils
    • Nail polish
  • Fragrance – Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette can last over 2 years but you may want to check to see if it still smells the same as it once did if you don’t use it very often
  • Makeup brushes – check to make sure they aren’t losing bristles or getting discoloured.  If they are then they need changing.  Different sources say that makeup brushes need changing anywhere from 3 months to 5 years.

Looking at this list, I think I need to look at my hair brushes!  I can’t remember the last time I bought a new one.  Now, which page of this month’s brochure are hair brushes on?

Good Housekeeping – Have your beauty products gone bad?
NBC News – How often you should replace everything in your bathroom
Radiance by WebMD – How long should you  keep makeup?
Elle Australia – This is how often you should be replacing your beauty products