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This time of year women are frantically cleaning out their closets. The ritual is to get rid of the things we haven’t worn from last season and make room for the new items we will buy this year.

When all is said and done, we always forget the one very important clean out -  makeup.

Ever wonder how long the products in your makeup box and skin care cabinet  are supposed to last?  Do you still have your “favorite lipstick” from high school? You will be surprised when you see the actual “life span” of  these products. Get ready to throw it away!



Replace every three months even if you have some left. Clumpy, thick mascara is a haven for bacteria and can cause conjunctivitis.


Change with the seasons as bacteria introduced from hands and sponges can multiply. Tip: use a makeup brush which is more sanitary as it can be washed.


If it begins to change color and separates, toss it right away otherwise, replace it in the month of the expiration date on the product or box. If you don’t you are exposing your skin to increased sun exposure (if it has an SPF) and skin damage. Same for eye creams. Be extra careful here because this is going around the eye area.


Change every six months even if it is not used up. Lipstick can be a hot bed of germs and never use someone else’s lipstick.


Change seasonally. If it starts to separate around the case and cracks toss it right away. Get rid of the applicator and use a blush brush which you can wash regularly. The regular applicator can harbor bacteria. The same goes for eye shadow and powder compacts.


Eye and lip- Sharpen regularly before each use to help prevent germs. Keep the lids on after applying. If the pencil turns color or breaks apart,  get rid of it.


Quality brushes can last up to three years if properly cared for. Wash them with brush cleaner or a mild hand soap or shampoo. Flatten out and let air dry. Do not blow dry or microwave (yes, someone actually did that and tried to return the “fried ” brush to the cosmetic counter)


Every six months or when it gets thick. Do not thin with polish remover. This dilutes the product and destroys the color. If you have a favorite, refrigerate it and it will last longer.


Usually lasts one to six years but the more air in the bottle, the shorter the life span.If the fragrance begins to develop an acidic smell (like vinegar) the bottle should be discarded.  

Georgia Donovan is a fashion stylist and makeup artist who helps women raise their style consciousness and elevate their self-image. For more ideas, tips, and articles, and a complimentary subscription to her newsletter at

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cradicella wrote Mar 30, 2010
    • To assist you with your “Spring Clean Your Make-up“, may I suggest that you check out my Mary Kay website at [Link Removed]  

      Mary Kay offers:

      • Free consultation
      • Convenient On-line Shopping for women and men
      • Free gift with your order of $40+
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      • Great Deals (check out: “Beauty on a Budget” (where you can get 90 plus products for $10. or less, and “Last Chance“)
      • Free Virtual Make-over
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      What more could you want? Mary Kay is MORE than Okay!
      By all means, if you wish to obtain further information, I am here for you.

      Have a great day

      Clarel O. Radicella
      Mary Kay
      Independent Beauty Consultant

      Cradicella, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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