We all have our beauty favourites. Whether it’s that perfect lengthening mascara or the beauty blender sponge that makes your foundation look flawless, saying “Goodbye” to these treasures is never easy. But it’s critical to do so, especially when it’s about products that go onto your face.


That’s why knowing when you should be replacing beauty products is as important as what you are buying.

With most cosmetics comes the chances of spoilage, bacterial formation and, of course, expiration.

One example is the loofah. It’s a hotbed of bacteria because it exfoliates your body and collects dead skin cells. Ideally, you should replace it within a few weeks, when it begins to change colour or if it starts to smell. Alternatively, you can skip using one and use a cream exfoliator instead.


But this is just one example. There are many products that you should throw away, but don’t.

Like medicine, cosmetics also have an expiration date. If you don’t want to age prematurely, widen your skin pores or get a bacterial infection, it’s time you start replacing beauty products that are way past their expiration date.

Don’t worry. If you don’t know which product expires when, we’ve got you covered.


Replacing beauty products: 10 products you should know when to throw out

Let us take a look at the 10 most commonly used cosmetic products and their shelf-life. It’s time you learned everything you need to know about replacing beauty products.

  1. Beauty blenders and sponges

Let’s be honest, beauty blenders and sponges are almost god sent. They make your foundation sit flawlessly and blend everything on your face to give you a natural glow.

But because they are the products that come most in contact with your face — and you can best use them when damp — they are hotbeds of bacterial deposition.

Maintaining proper hygiene during use and while cleaning them can increase the shelf-life of your sponges. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

Along with your foundation, they also soak up any dirt, grime, dead skin or oil you may have on your face and fingers.

Ideally, you should be replacing beauty products like sponges after every three months. However, if you want to keep them longer, you’ll have to work on maintaining them better.

How to maintain beauty blenders and sponges

Luckily for you, most beauty blenders and sponges can be washed. You can use a mild soap with warm water to clean the sponges at home. But make sure that you run it well under clean water and squeeze excess water out and dry them before storing them away.


When to toss it: every three months

  1. Makeup brushes

You may know that makeup brushes come in all sizes and shapes. Some are made with synthetic bristles while others with real hair. Therefore, their lifespan is also different.

However, with good upkeep and cleanliness, their shelf life can be anywhere between two and 10 years. There is no particular timeframe for brushes and they don’t really have an expiration date.

When cleaning your brushes, make sure you do not soak the metal clasp as it may wet the glue that holds all the bristles together. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

But if you notice that even after keeping them clean, the bristles cling to each other or are no longer soft and have changed colour, it’s time to let go.


How to maintain makeup brushes

Just like your sponges, brushes also constantly touch your face, so they need regular cleaning; once in two weeks minimum. In order to properly clean brushes, you can dip the bristles in a mixture of mild shampoo and warm water. Avoid getting the metal clasp wet because that’s where the bristles are glued together.

Massage the bristles together and then run them under water. Alternatively, you can also use brush cleaners that are available in the market. These are rubber eggs with elevated designs on them and rubbing the bristles against these rubber eggs can clean them even better.

Make sure to dry them out by laying them flat and not keeping them in an upright position.

When to toss it: every two years

  1. Mascara

Who doesn’t love an eyelash lengthening, feathering and volumising mascara? It puts your entire look together, right? But if you have been storing your used mascara for over one year, you’re doing no favours to your eyes.

Like any wet product, a mascara also needs to be chucked ideally after three to four months of use. That’s because it can collect bacteria and germs and deposit them right on your lashes. And that is not a good look!

Make sure you are not pumping the wand too much because this is one beauty product that you don’t need too much of. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

So to avoid any risk of contamination and/or bacterial infection in the eyes, throw away your mascara after a maximum of six months of use.

How to maintain mascara

Unfortunately, there is no way to maintain your mascara. All you can do is keep the wand clean. So after every use, use a makeup wipe to clean the wand and place it right back into the tube.

Also, make sure you are not pumping the wand too much because this is one beauty product that you don’t need too much of. This will avoid building up deposits of the product, minimising the bacteria between the bristles.

When to toss it: every three months

  1. Blush

If you’re a fan of the flushed look, you probably reach for your blush quite a lot. And depending on the texture — mousse, cream or powder — blushes usually have a shelf life of two years.

So you can use powder blushes for about two years because they do not have oils or water. But for cream or mousse-based blushes, one year of use should be enough because they can crack and separate.

You can ideally use a blush for upto 24 months unless its cream, in which case one year is a perfectly good time to say “Goodbye.” | Image courtesy: Pixabay

If you notice that the colour of the blush has changed (read darkened) or if it is separating and cracking, it’s time to chuck the product out.

How to maintain blush

You may have seen several Instagram videos of makeup gurus trying to save their cracked blushes. And yes, you can do that if it’s a brand new blush. But if you’ve been using one for more than a year, you need to replace it.

It comes in close contact with sponges and brushes. So to keep it clean, you should regularly clean your makeup tools.

When to toss it: every two years

  1. Eyeshadow

Typically, eyeshadows have a good shelf-life. They can last you for more than one year, if kept in good condition. So if you are replacing beauty products, you don’t have to throw this one away unless it’s totally battered.

Generally, you can keep the powders for up to two years and the cream textured shadows for one year.

Throw away powder formulas after two years and your cream formulas after one year of use. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

Since you are constantly dipping your brushes and sponges and placing the product on your eyes, you might also want to keep the makeup tools clean.

How to maintain eye shadow

When you use a product in a pan, it becomes difficult to keep it clean. So one way to do it is by constantly wiping the product after use. You can do this with a makeup wipe or clean tissues.

It also helps if your makeup tools are clean for each use.

When to toss it: Powder formula — every two years. Cream formula — every one year.

  1. Eyeliner

Unlike a mascara, an eyeliner has a shelf-life of two years. However, the biggest similarity is that both are applied directly onto the eyes.

So whether you use different textures in pots and pans, liquid eyeliner or gel, the applicator will directly touch the eyelids.

Liquid eyeliners need to be thrown out after three months, as is the case with mascara.

As far as pencil eyeliner or kohl is concerned, they can last you longer since as you sharpen them, you clean them — in a way — each time.

How to maintain eyeliner

If you are used to applying pencil eyeliner, sharpening them when needed can increase their shelf life.

For in-built applicator eyeliners, avoid pumping too much product on to them as that can attract bacteria and dirt. If it dries up or becomes clumpy before three months, you should throw it out.

When to toss it: every three months

  1. Foundation

This is one beauty product that is applied to your entire face. Therefore, you expose it to dirt, oils, bacteria, germs and even your dead skin cells. That’s why this should be replaced every year.

Generally, after one year, the colour, smell and even texture of a foundation changes.

Regularly clean the tools including the brushes and the sponges to prolong the shelf-life of your foundations. | Image courtesy: Google

The condition of the foundation also depends on the container. If it is an open pan or one that doesn’t come with a pump, it may get dirty sooner.

How to maintain foundations

You can prolong the shelf-life of your foundation by not touching it that often. Keep your fingers away and instead use makeup tools for its application.

In addition, regularly clean the tools including the brushes and the sponges. And, most importantly keep the foundation bottle tightly sealed when not in use.

When to toss it: each year

  1. Concealer

If you keep the container closed tight and maintain  proper hygiene, your concealers can last up to two years. Since their consistency is slightly thicker than foundations but still very similar, their upkeep and shelf-life is also alike.

After one or one-and-a-half years, you may notice that the concealer has changed smell or colour (read become darker).

That’s an indication of change. Even if you have a bit of it left, you should avoid using it because most of the time it is applied under the eyes, which has very sensitive skin. So while replacing beauty products, you might want to check your concealers as well.

How to maintain concealers

You can begin by keeping the container clean. Wipe it from the outside after every two uses and you can even use a different wand if you are that particular.

Also, if they are in a pan or a tub, you can avoid getting it dirty by using it with your fingers. Instead, use it with makeup tools like brushes and sponges. This way, you also do not waste excess product.

When to toss it: every two years

  1. Moisturiser

Any skincare products that go straight onto your face must be stored properly and kept clean. But they also have a shelf-life. For instance, moisturisers have a shelf-life of two years. The active ingredients in a moisturiser mostly only work for six months to one year

That’s why moisiturisers have an expiration date that is mentioned on the container. It’s best to stick to this date.

Avoid dipping your fingers directly into the tub so no dirt or germs transfer onto the product. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

You don’t want to end up with acne and blemishes and dry or excessively oily skin, just because of an expired product.

How to maintain moisturisers

To increase their shelf-life, keep the lids of your moisturisers tightly closed. Do not keep them in sunlight and if possible try to avoid dipping your fingers in the pan or the tub.

When to toss it: every two years

  1. Perfumes

Believe it or not, but perfumes also have a shelf-life. You can use them for a maximum period of 36 months.

After that you may notice that the scent changes, the colour becomes dark and the texture may also not be as fresh as before. So while replacing beauty products, you may also want to check the expiration date on your perfume.

To increase their shelf-life keep your perfumes away from direct sunlight. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

You may feel the need to hold onto your expensive perfumes a bit longer, but you do not want to a risk a rash or headache now, do you?

How to maintain perfumes

You can maintain your perfumes by wiping down its nozzle once in a while, and if you are upto it, after every use.

Also, make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

When to toss it: After every 36 months

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com

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