Beauty Files: The Life Span Of Your Makeup

 In Style

I was going out with a girlfriend the other night and she admitted to keeping her mascara a little longer than she thought she should. This prompted a great conversation about the age of beauty products that I wanted to share.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Optometrists recommend switching out your mascara every two months. When I worked at MAC, most people thought I was saying this just to sell more mascara, but it’s true! The best way I have heard it described is this: We have little furry friends on our lashes that help eat all the dirt and debris off so it does not get into our eyes. When you share mascara or keep mascara for too long, germs can fester, leaving you at a high risk for infection.

Similarly, I am asked how long one should keep a lipstick or lip gloss. Lip products are usually considered the least likely of all liquid-based makeup to grow bacteria. Yes, you want to make sure you aren’t sick if you are sharing (think about sharing a glass of wine), but your own germs aren’t as much of a problem. Most doctors will recommend keeping a lip gloss for up to 6 months and lipstick for a year. Sadly, I usually keep my own ’til they start to go bad. I can tell this by the smell. They smell like a Crayon. If the lip gloss starts to separate, I know it is time to toss.

Powders are essentially worry-free because there is no cream for bacteria to grow in or dust to get stuck. The recommended time to keep one is a couple years. The only things to worry about are cleaning sponges or brushes before you use the powder. Too much oil on a sponge can start to create a hard, solid barrier that is not desirable. My suggestion here would be to try to change out your sponge once a week if you are very oily. Also, if a product is not classified as something you can wet to intensify, such as an eye shadow, and you still wet it, make sure it dries before putting the top back on. Trapping liquid in a powder can create a breeding ground for bacteria.

If you are going to share your makeup because you dance, model, are in theater, etc … there are a few ways to be extra cautious. Grab 70 percent Isopropyl alcohol. For lipsticks, dip the tip into the alcohol for about ten seconds and wipe the product off. This does soften the lipstick, so do not submerge. Let it drip into the tube, and do not use pressure when wiping. For lip liners, dip in alcohol and wipe to clean. Use your sharpener and sharpen away the outer layer. Dip again in alcohol in case there was anything undesirable in the sharpener. For mascaras, always use a clean wand and never double dip. For lip glosses, use a different wand or swatch some on the back of a clean hand and transfer to lips using a clean brush. Last but not least, the top layer of a powder can be swiped clean before using. Make sure whatever you use to transfer the powder is clean.

I hope this information inspires a healthy makeup spring cleaning!

Kat Hinkle has worked in the professional hair and makeup industry for ten years. After graduating from Cosmetology School, she spent four years working for MAC and six years in affiliation with top agencies such as Factor Artists in Chicago and ABTP in New York City. Kat’s clients include Nigel Barker, Sports Illustrated, and The Duchess of York to name a few. Her passion for the industry has only grown over the years. She is equally happy creating beauty for her individual clients as well as Fortune 500 companies.

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