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Old makeup and makeup brushes are known to carry bacteria that could be harmful to your health. It is important to regularly throw out old makeup and clean your makeup brushes and sponges. So how do you know if it’s time to throw your makeup out?

Some makeup has expiration dates on them but many do not. Mascara and eyeliner are used close to the eye and are usually stored in a dark moist environment. This could be a recipe for disaster and cause bacteria to get into your eyes. It is recommended that you throw out your mascara and liquid / gel / cream eyeliner every six months to prevent infection. If the products have any changes in texture or smell or you recently had an eye infection, you should throw them away sooner. Dry eyeliner pencils stay good for longer because they contain less water and you can clean them with an alcohol wipe. The same goes for lip products because they are usually a cream. Throw out lip products every four to six months or sooner if you get a cold sore. Follow the same rules for liquid and cream foundations and toss them at least every six months. Any makeup products that are powder should last a longer amount of time because they are less likely to grow bacteria. You should minimize how much you touch them with your hands to prevent introducing bacteria to them. Powder products are good for up to two years if they are taken care of correctly1.

Now that you have gotten rid of all your old makeup, it is time to start cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges regularly. Makeup brushes can collect bacteria and cause infection, irritation, and breakouts. How often should you clean your makeup brushes? The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends cleaning your makeup brushes every 7 to 10 days by following these steps:

  1. Rinse the tips of your brushes under lukewarm, running water to remove any residual makeup. Only rinse the tip, as submerging the whole brush head will damage the glue that holds the brush head to the handle.
  2. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of either gentle shampoo or clarifying shampoo. Using plain soap and water can dry out the bristles.
  3. Swirl each brush tip in the bowl. For a good lather, you can also massage each brush tip in the palm of your hand.
  4. Rinse the brush tips under running water
  5. Continue shampooing and rinsing each brush until the water runs clear from the brush
  6. Squeeze out excess moisture with a clean, dry paper towel
  7. Lay your brushes flat to dry on a towel with the tips hanging off the edge of the counter2


  1. When should you toss your makeup? (2021, May 5). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved September 29, 2022
  2. How to clean your makeup brushes. American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2022