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Makeup has a surprisingly short shelf life, but we're all guilty of hoarding mascaras like nobody's business and gleefully hanging onto all of those freebies you get with "spend over $40" offers. Using crusty mascaras can lead to conjunctivitis, dodgy lipstick to cold sores and old pressed powder to shiny pores, but this is easily remedied by knowing exactly how often you should be replacing your makeup.
We're not going to tell you to religiously throw out your mascara every 3 months (although that is the suggestion), but to follow these general guidelines - not only for hygienic reasons, but also to make sure that it stays in tip top condition.
With that said, let's get started! Here's your SteadyHealth guide to replacing makeup.
Generally, foundation will last around 6-8 months provided that it has a pump. If you use the pump to dispense the foundation onto a surface like the back of a hand or the inside of a compact mirror, then use your fingers or a brush to apply it, you're not transferring any bacteria into the bottle and so it'll be good until it runs out. If, however, you use your fingers to wipe it from the bottle you'll be transferring bacteria and so it'll have a longer shelf life. Keep in mind though that for most of us, our foundation color will change once or twice a year as our skin tans and pales with the seasons, so you'll probably need to bin it every six months anyway!
Powder Blush, Pressed Powder, Bronzer And Eyeshadow
Powders are the most hygienic makeup item of them all, which is good, because they make up the bulk of most of our makeup bags - well, mine, anyway! Generally, provided that you use clean makeup brushes with natural fibers and the powder doesn't turn shiny, it can last for up to four years. Once it turns shiny, it tends to mean that there is some bacteria present, but it also becomes quite difficult to use as it hardens, which means that you'll be unable to load your brush with product.
Mascara, Liquid Eyeliner, Liquid Shadow
Liquid eye makeup generally should be replaced every three months, but provided that your makeup is still "wet" (as in, not dry or clumpy) and still smells fresh or fragranced, it should be okay for a little while. Try not to get it actually in your eye when you're applying it and make sure that when you apply it, you apply it to clean skin. That sounds obvious, but it helps to prevent infection and also to prevent the spread of bacteria - if you have conjunctivitis, for example, and apply makeup, it'll transfer to the brush or wand and could cause infection in the future.