Monday Challenge – Clean out your makeup drawer

I confess – I am not one of those women who wears a lot of makeup, nor do I wear makeup on an everyday basis. I can go days without even opening up my makeup drawer. However, I do know that I should periodically go through and throw things away. But, sometimes I have barely even started to use something by the time it has expired. Bleh! How do I know when I should get rid of something?

There are guidelines for how long to keep your various products before tossing them. And to be honest, depending on which site or article you are looking at, you can find some pretty wide ranges of acceptable use. Which makes me wonder if the makeup companies themselves might be behind the guidelines, so as to make us toss stuff and go buy more stuff. (You know it happens!)


At any rate, if you’ve had that same color of eye-shadow since high school, it’s probably time to toss it. If you have a price tag on anything that says less than $1.00, it is time to toss it. If it smells bad, definitely toss it!

Here are some generic guidelines for tossing makeup products. Remember, these are just guidelines – use them with some common sense! Dry products typically have a longer shelf-life than wet products, which makes sense.

  1. concealer products – 12 mos.
  2. powder products – 1-2 yrs.
  3. pencil liners (eyes & lips) – 1-3 yrs.
  4. eye shadows – 2-3 yrs.
  5. creams, moisturizers, cleansers – 1 yr.
  6. foundation – 6-18 mos.
  7. lipstick – 1-3 yrs.
  8. mascara – 3-6 mos.
  9. liquid eye liner – 3 mos.
  10. nail polish – 1-2 yrs.
  11. brushes – 2-3 mos.
  12. sponges – wash weekly, discard monthly

So, how many of these guidelines do you follow? I confess, that I probably don’t follow them very closely. I am torn between trying to be safety-minded and trying to be frugal and not waste stuff. And cosmetic products are expensive! Hmmm. A lot of makeup products are similar to art products…..I wonder if I can use my old, expired makeup stuff in my art? Now that would be a good idea!

Here are some other bits of helpful information that you should know.

  1. never share your makeup products with anyone else (risk of sharing bacteria)
  2. clean your brushes & sponges weekly & replace regularly
  3. never use your fingers to dip into makeup (there is a lot of bacteria on your hands)
  4. don’t keep your makeup in the bathroom (really? isn’t that where we use it?)
  5. conduct a smell test frequently – if it smells bad, toss it
  6. use a sharpie to mark the date when you open a product
  7. if you use Natural Cosmetics, the shelf life is much shorter since there are no preservatives

Take the challenge this week and clean out all those old cosmetic products. It is probably not worth the risk of damaging your skin or getting an infection, just to save some money. And don’t forget to check all those products you keep somewhere else (purse, car, work, gym). Your skin will be thankful. (And maybe your art studio will be thankful too!)

About Deb Prewitt

I am an aspiring artist. I love all things creative and enjoy the people around me who are artistic. I live in Colorado which is a great place to be. I enjoy lots of different things and plan on exploring those things in this blog.
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6 Responses to Monday Challenge – Clean out your makeup drawer

  1. Linda says:

    Great information Deb. I just reorganized my make up drawer on November 1st because on Halloween I couldn’t find the good stuff. I will admit, I did not throw “old” eye shadows out as the cheap vs bacteria conflict battles on!

  2. I do get rid of old makeup every six moths or so, and I don’t have too many stuff in my makeup purse. But I also wonder if I could use the old stuff in my art. Will try that for sure! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing the guide lines to safer cosmetics. I very rarely wear make-up, just lip stick, foundation and eyeshadow. Your suggestion of make-up art is very intriguing…. The next time I go to throw a cosmetic away I may just give it a try. 🙂

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