When to discard your makeup

discard makeupI have been wanting to write this post for a long time now but something or the other more interesting thing came up.

I am a bacteria freak. It drives me mad at times but I really cannot stand the unclean brushes, the accumulated cream/lotions on sides of the lid, retractable pencils and what not. I also sanitize my makeup stuff with alcohol every now and then. I wash my brushes and wipe my powder domes every time I use them on someone else. I am just finicky about cleaning all the stuff that goes directly on my skin. I also discard my makeup after a certain point of time. I waste whole lot of tissues and shampoos in cleaning and washing but that’s just me.

Apart from caring about my personal hygiene, I also do all this because a lot of times I give away my stuff to people around me. So, it doesn’t make sense to pass on infected products when I have a choice not to.

How about you? Are you a bacteria freak or do you keep things in moderation?

Following list will give you an idea about when should you discard your makeup. If I have missed any of the products that you use, do let me know. I will add it. 🙂

Makeup Foundations:

  • Liquid Foundations: 1 year
  • Cream Foundations: 1 year
  • Mineral Foundations: 1 1/2- 2 years


  • Powder Blushes: 1 1/2- 2 years
  • Cream Blushes: 1 year
  • Mineral Blushes: 1 1/2- 2 years
  • Loose Powder- 2 years
  • Pressed Powder- 2/12- 3 years


  • Stick Concealers:6-7 months if you apply directly from the stick; 1 year if you apply with clean brushes.
  • Cream/Liquid concealers: 1 year
  • Powder Concealers: 1 1/2 -2 years

Eye Makeup:

  • Liquid Eyeliners: 3-4 months
  • Mascara: 3 months
  • Kajals: 3 months
  • Pencil liners: retractable- discard after 5-6 months. Sharpened ones: You can keep them as long as they don’t expire. The sharpening would remove the bacteria every time you use it.
  • Cream eye shadows: 6-7 months
  • Powder eye shadows: 1-1 1/2 year if used with clean brushes
  • Eyeshadow Sponges: Discard after 3-4 months if you use them regularly

Lip Makeup:

  • Lip liners: Retractable- discard after 5-6 months. Sharpened ones: You can keep them as long as they don’t expire. The sharpening would remove the bacteria every time you use it.
  • Lipsticks: 1 year
  • Lip Glosses: 6-7 months

Makeup Brush Cleaning:

  • Powder Brush:Wash at least once a week if used daily.
  • Foundation Brush: Wash after every use.
  • Eyeshadow Brushes:If you are using cream/ gel eye shadows, clean after every use. With powder eye shadows, wash at least once a week or depending on how much you use them.
  • Blush Brush:At Least once a week, if used daily.
  • Eyeliner Brush: After every use
  • Lip Brush: After every use

The basics of cleaning brushes is that if you are using anything liquid/ gel based, was your brushes after every use. The moisture is the breeding ground of bacteria so wash your brushes with a mild shampoo or an anti-bacterial soap. If you use sponges for your makeup, use after very use and discard after a month or so.

Perfumes: Can be used until their expiry date.

Face/ Body Creams/ Lotions: 1 year

Nail Polishes: 2 years

Face Washes: 1 year

Clean the tops of your pressed powders and blushes every once in a while. This would keep your stuff clean and bacteria free. Also, if you see any discoloration, thickening or change in smells of your product, just discard your product instantly.

Disinfect your makeup with alcohol at least once in two months. This would keep your products clean and your skin in a better shape.

It feels pathetic to throw away your favourite lipstick or an eyeliner but rather than breeding bacteria on your face, it’s better to discard your stuff.

So do you have any tips and tricks to share disinfect your makeup and keep it clean?

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35 thoughts on “When to discard your makeup

  1. I agree with you Rati, and since I have a masters in microbiology I can also safely say that most of your tips are on the spot!

    Just a few things tht I think you missed:

    Lip Balms: I always prefer to buy the tube form. The tub form exposes too much of the product to air and fingers arn’t always clean 😀

    The pump bottle is your best friend: Always try and buy products in the pump format or else transfer to empty disinfected pump bottles that you have, that really helps prolong the life of lotions by preventing oxidation and also limits contamination. Neutrogena products have this feature, plus an additional swivel lock where you can even lock the pump after use.

    Also Rati, just a point about yr alcohol use (no pun intended). Having worked in lab for 5 years and using alcohol daily to disinfect, I have noticed that alcohol is terribly drying. Feel free to use alcohol to disinfect the outside containers of your cosmetics, but I am not sure it is right for your blushes, cosmetics or brushes. Alcohol disinfects by working on the principle of dehydration – so essentially you are drying out your products – which can affect their efficacy and also make them more brittle and prone to disintegration.

    Further while it may seem that alcohol has evaporated completed post application, it does tend to absorb into the products. Thereby again affecting their composition and also your skin when you apply them – This is again just from my experience as microbiologist. 😀

    Not trying to be preachy here, just thght wld share my views. If alcohol works for you with no adverse reaction, by all means continue 😀

  2. That completes my post Tanveer, thanks for the inputs. I don’t know how I forgot adding the pump bottles and tubes when I myself hate these wide mouthed tubs. 😛

    I don’t use alcohol every time I use my products , it’s once every two months or so I do that and I have never had issues with it. In most cases I uses dry tissues to wipe off the tops of my blushes, powders etc. and wet tissues to clean the sides of my bottles, etc.

    The discoloration of the products might occur if you are using a solution has has less percentage of alcohol in it and a high percentage of other chemicals. I use disinfectants that have more than 70-80 percent alcohol content. Infact, I am happier to use alcohol on my products than use the products that might have got infected with bacteria. I guess a bacteria infected product would harm my skin more.

    What you said about alcohol being drying is true but it keeps my stuff clean and more so, it works for me. 🙂

    And of course, I do respect with what you have said. We guys are here to learn from each other. What could be better if we could rectify our mistakes and not repeat them. 🙂

  3. Hey Rati,

    Very informative post and as you rightly said, Tanveer’s points completed it.

    The body butters which come in large tubs(eg:TBS), could be moved to smaller containers with a plastic spoon/spatula and used.

    Two cents on the subject from me 🙂


  4. Poornima,

    I was so inclined to buy body butters from the sale this time but the large containers became one of the factors why I didn’t purchase them. I might purchase them in winters. And the inclusion of a spoon/ spatula is a good thought. It would make the process so clean and nice. 🙂

  5. luks like we shd get 2 name plates ready! one for rati and one for tanvi! god, will i ever have one? SIGH

    really damn useful tips! tanvi and rati, kudos! ok, i am officially jealous NOW 🙁

  6. Call me freak , but I dont have heart to discard make up !!
    Only wen they start smelling bad or if I figure some change in texture

    This dont mean I let bacteria breed on my make up !!
    I wash my brushes every week and even condition them

    but this has been a helpful article , will make a point to get a BIG tissue box to wipe my blushes and all other pressed powders and compacts 😀

  7. Palak,

    Actually it’s painful to throw away the stuff but really I can’t go on stocking a whole lot of products even after they have expired. I am extra careful about kajals and eye pencils, especially. I have a weak eyesight because I practically live and breathe on my laptop so I just need to be extra careful with my eye products.

    Sometimes when I get bored of my products and they are still in usable condition, I just give them away to my friends, neighbours etc. So at least someone uses the products to their full potential. 😛

    Seriously get yourself a big box of tissues to wipe off your pressed products once in a while. 🙂

    How is the prep for farewell coming along?

  8. hi rati,

    i can say ALL IS WELL…

    i do not use much of make up products on daily basis..
    just lakme intense shine eyeliner in black, smoky grey or brown colur wid a colorbar lipstick and dats it…

    eye shadows are for party purpose only…n also crazy abt designer suits as well as bindis…

    bye for now

  9. Okz. 🙂 I am not too fond of bindis because I am mostly in my jeans and tees. But when I wear suits and sarees, I love to get all dressed up with bindis and bangles and what not. 🙂


  10. Very useful post Rati! But it has upset me coz I’m like Palak…it breaks my heart to discard anything. If they don’t smell or look bad I’ll still use them. If i go by yr deadline that means I have to say goodbye to half my stuff…nahhhiiii!!!! LOL 😀
    Gosh! I need to go check the expiry dates of all my perfumes NOW (fingers crossed X)

  11. 😛 These are to give a general idea about when to discard or discontinue your makeup. People go on using their stuff until they don’t get over. That’s pretty unhygenic and then people complian that makeup ruins their skin.

    I think a lot depends on how you store and use your makeup as well. 🙂

    Good luck for your perfumes. 🙂

  12. so hard to let go of makeup 🙁
    lolz u know i consider random.org my enemy too.. lolz
    thanks for entering in my new giveaway 🙂
    yar am here jus my laptop crashed couple of days ago and all data was washed away, had to reinstall windows . so was out of blogger world for few days.:P

  13. Oh! that’s pretty long that you have stored your lippies and it’s surprizing that the stuff has been in great shape for 10 years. I think that’s what makes Chanel such a big name. 🙂 I have not reached to such high end brands right now but our Lakmes and Revlons definitely need to be tossed out after a point of time. Dry things definitely have a longer shelf life because it’s the moisture content that is the source of bacteria growth in your products.

    Thanks for the SPF tip. I’ll keep that in mind. 🙂

    How’s school and exams?

  14. I will keep a look out for the Chanel lipsticks. 🙂 Thanks for the reco. I am doing well, sweez. Yes the liquid and the cream foundations especially need a goog goodbye after an year or so. There is no point taking chance with something that goes all over your face. 🙂

  15. some how i missed this post… 🙁
    very informative. tnx..even though its hard to throw away our favorite makeup.
    i have never seen any expiry date on perfumes. i used to keep them for years. since i am a perfume addict.
    let me check them ..

    1. Hi Ani,

      This is just to give a rough idea about when the makeup products should be discarded. People go on using the same product for years and ultimately the products start harming the skin. Glad you liked the post. And oh! I would like to see your perfumes. 🙂

  16. I didn’t know cleaning was that important, I do clean but not very often.
    On the other hand, I never share make up and I don’t use it daily.
    I think my products could use extra cleaning. thanks:)
    .-= Sunaina´s last blog ..Turkish delight 2 =-.

  17. hello,
    I am not into regular makeup… only kajal & lipstick… so do you think I need to throw my blushes and eyeshadows of more than 2-3 yrs some shade i am sure not have even once touched with a brush.(‘coz they dont match my dress 😉 )

    Please reply :waiting:

    1. smell and see their texture. If they smell funny or you see change in colour or something I suggest that you discard them. Also , please check the manufacturing dates. If they are expired, I suggest that you dont use them.

  18. Hey Rati…

    Was just browsing thru the older posts and came across this one. Indeed very informative…dint know abt lotsa stuff. The only not so good thing is tat now I have to throw away some stuff 😐 which u know is so difficult to do 😉
    But very nice post…


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