Every girl needs to clean out her makeup bag regularly, and get rid of any makeup that's past its best. Using makeup that's too old can cause skin infections, or the consistency may be spoiled. So should you trust the use-by dates on makeup, and how else can you tell that your mascara or foundation needs replacing? Here are some tips to help …
1. Throw That Frightful Foundation
Liquid foundation tends to spoil sooner than powder foundation, because of the water content. So pay attention to when you opened it; you shouldn't keep water-based foundation more than a year after you opened the tube. Oil-based foundation will last up to six months longer. If it's going bad, you'll find that the foundation has separated or that the color has changed, so it's time to toss it out.
2. Retire a Mature Mascara
Mascara has a very short shelf-life, so if you don't use it often then stick to cheaper brands that you don't mind throwing away without finishing them. Keep it no longer than 3-4 months after opening and get rid if it smells bad. Since it goes near your eyes (and sometimes in them!), it's not worth taking any chances with mascara, as it can easily get bacteria inside.
3. Lob That Liner in the Bin
Here's another eye product that you shouldn't use if it's past its best. Liquid liner will start to dry up or clump, while pencil liner may develop a white film that you can't get rid of even when you sharpen it. Keep your liner longer-lasting by sharpening it regularly, and always pop the lid back on.
4. Love May Last a Lifetime, but Lipstick Doesn't
Is your makeup bag full of ancient half-used lipsticks? Bin them. Lipstick should last a year, but if it's showing signs of getting hardened then it's time for your lippy to go. To keep it in good shape, use a clean brush, and if you've got a cold or lip sore then use a cotton bud to apply your lipstick.
5. Everlasting Eyeshadow? Alas, No
Your cream-based eyeshadow should bid farewell to your makeup bag once it hits its first birthday. A powder eyeshadow can make it to birthday number two. But since shadow goes near your eye, it's really important to keep it free of bacteria by using clean brushes.
6. Concealer? See Ya!
Concealer in a tube may be ultra-convenient, but it's only going to last a year. If yours is in a pot, it will last six months longer. But for optimum shelf life, use a clean brush or makeup sponge to apply it - otherwise you risk transferring bacteria from your fingers to the pot.
7. Brush Away the Old
We shouldn't forget that brushes and sponges don't last forever either, although quality brushes will last longer if properly cared for. Sponges will last for a month if washed after every use. If your brushes are starting to shed hairs, get rid - they won't apply your makeup effectively. Also if you're getting a lot of breakouts, your brushes may be dirty and past their best.
If you don't use makeup items very often, buy budget versions so that you don't feel bad about throwing them away. It's not worth keeping old, dried-up makeup. Are you always trying new makeup?