When to chuck out your make-up

We’ve all been there – you spend hundreds of dollars on make-up you never use and it just sits there looking pretty on your dresser.


And while you may tell yourself that you’ll use it some day, it turns out you might not be able to, as make-up actually has an expiry date.

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We spoke with make-up artist Sonia Allen, who said the golden rule of thumb is that when your war paint changes colour, consistency or smell, it's time to go”.

Wile we all may wish we could keep it forever, it turns out we should be throwing away a lot of our make-up. Photo: Getty

Here’s how to know whether your favourite products can stay in the cupboard or if they belong in the bin.

Powders and "dry products"

According to Sonia, eyeshadows, bronzers, loose powders, pressed powders have a longer shelf life than most of you make-up o your dresser.

“Provided they don't come into contact with moisture or water, they should last you years,” she said.

“Be sure to only work with clean brushes to minimise the possibility of spreading bacteria in order to preserve their shelf life.”

Source: Giphy

Liquids with a pump

Products like illuminators, foundations, liquid bronzers, primers or those in a squeeze tube are usually pretty safe.

“They will stipulate anywhere between 6-12months on the packaging but provided there is no change in colour, consistency or smell, you should be fine to keep using them until they're finished,” Sonia said.

Liquids with a sponge applicator

Concealers and some foundations and lipglosses where the applicator comes into direct contact with the skin shouldn't be kept for more than 6 months, Sonia claims.

“This is because every time the applicator comes into contact with your skin and then back into the packaging, you run the risk of contamination,” she said.

Source: Giphy


We’re guilty of keeping mascara for months (sometimes years) but Sonia says mascaras tend to dry out before they go off and we should really stop using them then.

“Ideally you should never keep an opened and used mascara for more than 4 months,” she said.

“Eye infections are not worth it and protecting the health of your eyes is more important even if you haven't finished the mascara yet.”


You may have a stack of them at home and as long as you’re not sharing them with your mates, they’re usually good to keep forever.

“As long as you follow the colour, consistency and smell rule,” Sonia said.

“Don't share lipsticks and if you've suffered any oral infections and used the lipstick, throw it out immediately.”

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