Spring Clean Your Cosmetic Case

Makeup has a shelf life, according to beauty expert and Entrepreneur in Residence Nikol Johnson Sanchez.

From Nikol: Have you ever looked into your makeup bag and wondered if the products inside were still safe to use? Spring is the perfect time for an overhaul. If you’ve avoided getting rid of your favorite mascara or hit pan on your two-year-old eyeshadow, your beauty routine is suffering. Here, I’ll share my secrets on when to toss and keep your makeup.


Expires after: 3 months

When it comes to expiration dates, mascara is one of the most essential makeup products to watch. Print out a label with the date you first open the product and attach it to the side of the tube. The main reason why you should toss mascara after three months is to prevent an eye infection, as the tube becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. By this time, your mascara is probably dry and cakey, anyway. Remember not to pump the tube of mascara since that will cause it to dry out faster.


Expires after: 2 years (powder) and 1 year (cream) 

If you apply a specific palette everyday, use caution as bacteria could build up and cause an eye infection. Also, make sure the brush you're using is clean. With cream eyeshadows, remember to wash your hands before applying.


Expires after: 3-6 months (gel + liquid) and 1 year (pencils)

Just like mascara, this product is applied near your eyes and should be tossed after a few months. Gel and liquid eyeliners applied with a brush should be thrown out every six months. Crayon pencils and retractable liners have a little bit of a longer lifespan (about a year) because they are continually sharpened and worn down.


Expires after: 1 year

For foundations that come in a pot, bacteria growth is much more common. Try to shop for foundations that come in a glass pump dispenser. If you’re using your foundation with sponges or brushes, make sure you regularly wash them to keep bacteria at bay.


Expires after: 1 year-16 months

How you apply your concealer and how it's packaged will determine how long you can keep it. If you have a concealer that's formulated in a pan, it can last up to a year when applied with clean brushes or a sponge. If you use your fingers (as so many of us do since they warm up the product for better application), you’re more likely to transfer bacteria to your concealer. If you buy concealer in a tube, you can keep it for 16 months before having to toss it since it’s not exposed to air and constant contact with brushes.

Blush and Bronzer

Expires after: 2 years

When you see your blushes and bronzers darken or cake up, you’ll want to toss them. Powders don’t contain oils or water, so they have a longer shelf life than most other cosmetics.

Lipstick and Gloss

Expires after: 6 months-1 year

If you’re using your lipstick or gloss on a daily basis, you’re likely to finish it before six months. A good beauty tip to remember if you’re feeling under the weather is to use a Q-tip for application to avoid contaminating your product.


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