Cosmetic Safety: How To Spring-Clean Your Makeup

By Alexis Wolfer

Every season, without fail, makeup trends change. Regardless of whether they change ever so slightly or daringly dramatically, it can be tempting to dig through that bathroom drawer of yours (you know which one we’re talking about: the one overflowing with eyeliners from decades ago and lipsticks from high school) in search of the hues that are back in fashion. But while it’s true that what’s old will inevitably be new again (someday), with regard to your makeup, looking for that lilac eyeliner you know you rocked back in 1994 is never a good idea – unless, of course, pink eye (no, not pink eye makeup!) is your idea of a good time.

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Yet waaay too many of us (when answering honestly, anyway) have makeup that’s lurking near (if not well within) the “danger zone.” Just like food, your makeup has an expiration date, after which point bacteria can form, infections can occur and effectiveness can dwindle. Bottom line: you need to spring clean your makeup – and we’re here to help.

So, where do you start?

While unopened, well-formulated and properly stored cosmetics can remain fresh for a couple of years, when products are stored in hot or humid conditions (like your bathroom) or exposed to air when opened, bacteria can form and some ingredients can degrade. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell when your products pass their prime – so it’s wise to spring clean your cosmetics.

Your cosmetic-cleaning schedule:

Every Week: clean your makeup brushes and sponges with baby shampoo and warm water.

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Every Month: Disinfect your eyeliner and lip liner sharpeners with rubbing alcohol.

Every 3 Months: Throw away your mascara and liquid eyeliner – not only will the consistency start to change, but the preservatives start to break down, leaving you susceptible to eye infections.

Every 6 Months: Throw away your liquid and cream foundations, concealer (although it can last up to 1 year if you apply it with a clean applicator), facial cleansers, lotionscreams (unless they are in a pump dispenser, in which case they can last up to 1 year), cream eye shadows and anything with SPF.

Every Year: Toss your powder, blush, powder eye shadow, lipstick, lip-gloss, lip liners and eyeliner pencils (although anything that can be dipped in alcohol or sharpened can last a bit longer).

In addition, toss anything if you notice a change in smell, color or consistency and keep products fresh longer by ensuring that all packaging is closed tight and stored in a cool, dry place (like a refrigerator or linen closet) And never share makeup – even with family members!

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