Health concerns Archives - QC Makeup Academy

Health concerns Archives - QC Makeup Academy

When to throw away makeup and skincare products Feature Image

When to Throw Away Your Old Makeup and Skincare Products

By Education, Makeup Tips and Tricks, Your Makeup Career No Comments

With the New Year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to sort through all of your makeup and skincare products, and get rid of anything that’s old or expired. After all, there are definite expiration dates that you should be aware of… And not paying attention to them can have damaging effects on your skin. In this article, we’ll reveal when to throw away your makeup and skincare products so you can keep your skin its healthiest!

Let’s get started!


We’re going to break this article into two sections:

  1. Makeup
  2. Skincare

So, let’s start with your makeup products…

When to throw away makeup and skincare products 1

What Happens to Makeup as it Gets Old?

Makeup products don’t last forever. As soon as you open them, they begin to expire due to natural oxidation and the growth of bacteria. When makeup gets old, it can cause irritation, breakouts and other unwanted reactions on your skin.

Are YOUR makeup products bathing in bacteria? Here are 6 reasons why this may be the case – and what to do about it!

How to Tell When Makeup Products Have Expired

There are a few ways to tell when your makeup products have gone bad. The first is the smell test – if it smells rancid, then it’s probably time to toss it. You can also look for changes in texture or color, as this is another good indication that the product has expired. Finally, you may want to check the packaging for an expiration date.

What Happens When You Use Old/Expired Makeup?

Using old/expired makeup can lead to a variety of skin issues, such as:

  • Irritation
  • Rashes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Breakouts
  • Dryness, etc.

Not only that, but it can also make your skin look dull and aged due to the oxidation process. So if you want to keep your skin looking its best, be sure to throw away any old or expired makeup!

So, How Often Should You Get Rid Of Your Makeup?

Most experts suggest tossing out any makeup that you haven’t used in the last 3-6 months. Of course, the shelf life may vary, depending on the product. (We’ll delve more specifically into different products momentarily!)

In general, though, whenever you purchase any makeup products, be sure to find and note its expiration date. From there, you can make things easier for yourself by setting reminders or writing yourself little notes to remind you when it’s time to toss out your products.

And as we mentioned earlier, it’s also a good idea to regularly check your makeup products for any changes in smell, color or texture. After all, these can all be signs that it’s time to throw them away!

Foundation makeup products on aged paper. Selective focus, retro toning. Makeup and skincare products article.

When to Throw Away Makeup Products


Average Shelf Life: 6 – 12 months

In terms of your foundation(s), you should be sure to replace it every 6-12 months. This is because these products contain water and oil, which can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria.

When to Get Rid of Foundation

Some signs that your foundation is going bad are:

  • Changes in color
  • A strange scent
  • Clumps of product forming


Average Shelf Life: 1-2 years

Whereas powder and/or stick concealers can last up to two years, liquid concealers should be replaced after one. When it comes to using these products on your skin, you want to make sure that they’re as fresh and bacteria-free as possible. When it’s expired, the product may not blend as easily, and it can also cause irritation, breakouts or dryness.

When to Get Rid of Concealer

When your concealer has gone bad, you may notice changes in texture or colors. Similarly, there may be flakes forming or a strange scent.

Highlight and Contour

Average Shelf Life: 1-2 years

Similarly, highlighting and contouring products can last up to two years if they are powders. Meaning, you won’t have to worry about replacing them as often. If they are liquid products, however, then their shelf life will be closer to one year.

When to Get Rid of Highlight and Contour Products

When it comes to these products, you’ll want to pay attention for any changes in texture or color. If you notice that they’re starting to look cakey or discolored, it’s probably time to throw them out.


Average Shelf Life: 6 months-2 years

Just like with highlight and contour, powder blush products can last up to two years. If it’s cream-based, however, then it can last anywhere from 6 months to a year.

When to Get Rid of Blush

When your blush begins to look cakey or discolored, you’ll want to replace it. Furthermore, you’ll also want to make sure that your blush products are properly stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. This can actually help extend their shelf life!


Average Shelf Life: 3 months

In terms of mascara, you should be sure to replace it after three months. Mascara is especially prone to bacteria buildup, so it’s important to keep an eye on the expiration date and toss it out when needed. When you open a new tube, be sure to store it away from heat or humidity.

When to Get Rid of Mascara

If you’re unsure whether or not your mascara is starting to get old, look for any of the following indicators:

  • Clumping
  • A strange smell
  • Crumbly texture
  • Stiff/hard wand

Lipstick and Lip Gloss

Average Shelf Life: 6 months-2 years

Lipstick typically lasts between one to two years. Lip gloss, on the other hand, is usually good for six months to a year.

When to Throw Out Lipstick and/or Lip Gloss

When it comes to these products, you’ll want to pay attention to any changes in the texture or color. When it looks dry and cakey, it’s time to say goodbye!

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Eye Shadow

Average Shelf Life: 2 years

Most eye shadows can last up to two years, so long as they’re stored correctly. Meaning, you’ll want to make sure that they’re away from heat, humidity and direct sunlight. That said, you should still check for any signs of expiration before using them.

When to Throw Out Eyeshadow Palette

When your eye shadow starts to look too dry, too powdery, or discolored, it’s a sign that it’s time to replace it.

Eye Liner (Pencil)

Average Shelf Life: 1-2 years

Pencil eyeliners usually last between 12 months and two years. When using these products, remember to always sharpen them after each use.

When to Get Rid of Eye Liner Pencil

When the pencil tip becomes dull or dry, it’s time to replace it with a new one!

Eye Liner (Liquid)

Average Shelf Life: 3-6 months

On the other hand, liquid eyeliners should be replaced every three to six months. When purchasing liquid eyeliners, be sure to check the label for any expiration dates or other important information.

When to Get Rid of Liquid Eye Liner

If you notice that your liquid eyeliner has changed color, texture or consistency, it’s time to toss it out and get a new one. For instance, one telltale sign that liquid eyeliner is going bad is if it starts becoming more clumpy.

Fake Eyelashes

Average Shelf Life: 6 months

Granted that they’re properly taken care of, fake eyelashes have an average shelf life of six months. Fake eyelashes can easily collect bacteria, so it’s important to keep them as fresh as possible.

When to Throw Out Fake Eyelashes

When the lashes start to look worn, dry, or clumpy, it’s time to throw them away!

Makeup Brushes

Average Shelf Life: 3-5 years

Your brushes are probably your biggest long-term investment when it comes to your makeup products! If you care for them properly and clean them regularly, they should be able to last you anywhere from a year to a whole decade! That said, a good average is that you’ll probably need to replace most brushes every three to five years.

When to Throw Away Makeup Brushes

A good indicator is that when the bristles start to flake off or become dry, it’s time to get a new set. Remember that you should always be gentle and careful when cleaning your brushes – harsh cleaners can damage the bristles!

PRO TIP: You may be cleaning your brushes (and other makeup products) the wrong way. But don’t worry, we’ve put together a little guide to help you clean your products the RIGHT way!

Makeup Sponges/Beauty Blenders

Average Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Lastly, makeup sponges should be replaced every three to six months. We know, this may not sound like a whole lot of usage time… And if you’re on a budget, we totally understand that paying to replace them this frequently can be a challenge.

But, if you’re trying to keep your skin healthy and free from bacteria, it’s essential that you replace them regularly! After all, this is one product that’s especially susceptible to bacterial buildup.

When to Throw Out Makeup Sponges/Beauty Blenders

When your beauty blenders start to look dry or discolored, it’s time to say goodbye and invest in a new set!

How to Tell When Makeup Products Have Expired

Specifically, where should you be looking to find the actual expiration date on the product itself?

Well, most makeup products should have an expiration date printed somewhere on the packaging or label.

If you don’t see anything that explicitly says ‘expiration date’, then it’s a good idea to check for a ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ date. You should be able to find this by looking at either the bottom, side, or back of the product. This will tell you how long the product is good for and when it should be replaced.

Finally, it’s also important to keep in mind that your makeup products may expire sooner if they’ve been exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity. When in doubt, replace your products as soon as you can to make sure that your skin stays healthy and free from bacteria.

Do You Really Need to Throw Out Makeup?

Now, you may be wondering, “Can’t you simply clean old makeup?”

The short answer is no – you should not attempt to clean old makeup products. When it comes to eye shadow, eyeliner, and other products that come in a powder form, the bacteria buildup may be too deep into the product and simply can’t be removed.

For liquid makeup products such as foundation or concealer, they tend to expire much faster due to the bacteria that can form from being exposed to air. When it comes to makeup and skincare products, we always recommend replacing them as soon as they become expired or look like they have been used too much.

Bottom line? When in doubt, throw it out! Not only will this help you stay safe and healthy, but it will also help you stay looking fabulous!

Pink beauty tear-shaped blender, dirty and clean egg-shaped sponges isolated on light background. Cosmetic tool for makeup in hand. Makeup and skincare products article.

Skincare Products

Now let’s move onto the second section of our article – this time, all about skincare products.

What Happens to Skincare Products as They Get Old?

Most people don’t realize this, but using expired skincare products can actually be really damaging to your skin. When skincare products get old, the active ingredients start to break down and become ineffective… Meaning that they won’t give you the same benefits as when they were fresh!

Additionally, bacteria can start to form on the surface of the product, which can be really bad for your skin if you don’t clean it off regularly. When this happens, it’s important to throw away the product and invest in a new one.

What Happens When You Use Old/Expired Skincare Products?

Using expired skincare products can cause a number of issues, including:

  • Irritation
  • Breakouts
  • Dryness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Redness
  • Bacterial infections

Furthermore, as we mentioned above, using expired skincare products won’t actually be beneficial for your skin – or helping you achieve the goals you have for your skincare routine.

Basically, when it comes to skincare products, you should always check the expiration date and replace them as soon as they become expired. This will help keep your skin healthy, safe and looking/feeling its best!

What is the Shelf Life of Skincare Products?

In general, most skincare products (once opened) have a shelf life of 6-12 months. If left unopened and stored correctly, many skincare products can last up to three years.

However, the shelf life ultimately varies, depending on the type of product and how you store it.

For example, products that come in a pump or spray bottle often have shorter shelf lives than products that come in a jar or tube. Additionally, storing your skincare products in areas with excessive heat or humidity may cause them to expire sooner than expected.

As we suggested earlier, the best way to keep track of your skincare products’ expiration dates is to check the bottom, side or back of the product for a ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ date. Then, set yourself reminders to replace them as soon as they become expired.

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How to Tell When Skincare Products Have Expired

Next, let’s talk about how you can tell when your skincare products have expired. When it comes to liquids, the product may change in consistency or color – often becoming darker or runnier than usual.

For powders and creams, they may become lumpy or discolored. When this happens, they should be immediately thrown away.

Additionally, you may notice a foul odor or a change in the scent of your skincare product when it has expired – this is often an indication that bacteria has started to form on the surface of the product. When this happens, it’s best just to throw it away and invest in a new one.

What Happens if You Get an Infection?

Whether the root of the issue is your makeup products or your skincare products, what should you do if you use old products and it leads to an infection?

While you may be tempted to just wait it out and hope things clear up on their own, we don’t recommend this. If your skin has become inflamed, red, or irritated after using an expired product, then it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the infection, they may prescribe antibiotics or other treatments to help clear it up.

Better to be safe than sorry, right?

After all, in some cases, infections caused by using old makeup and skincare products can be serious! For example, staph infections can lead to long-term skin damage and even scarring. So, it’s important to take the necessary steps towards healing as soon as possible.

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How to Make Your Makeup and Skincare Products Last

Finally, what can you do to make sure your makeup and skincare products last as long as possible? Well, it all boils down to properly taking care of your products!

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep them away from heat and direct sunlight
  • Check expiration dates regularly
  • Don’t share or swap old products with friends (as this can lead to bacteria and infections)
  • Store them in a cool, dry place
  • Clean brushes and beauty blenders regularly (with soap and warm water)
  • Throw away expired products immediately

By following these tips, you’ll be able to maximize the shelf life of your makeup and skincare products, as well as avoid any potential infections.

When to Throw Away Makeup and Skincare Products: In Conclusion…

And voila! Now you know when to throw away makeup and skincare products. When in doubt, always check the product labels for a ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ date – this way, you’ll be sure to stay on top of your beauty routine!

Importantly, don’t forget to see a doctor if you experience any signs of infection after using old products – it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Finally, remember to take proper care of your products and store them in cool, dry places. This way, you’ll be able to make them last as long as possible!

Happy shopping (and throwing away)! 😊

NEXT UP: Dream of an exciting, successful career as a professional makeup artist? This Ultimate Guide reveals how to become fully trained, certified, and booking clients in just 3 simple steps!