Is It time to spring clean your makeup bag?

Light Touch Clinic Cosmetic Medicine Surrey Harley Street London MediSpa Make Up

If your dressing table is overflowing with makeup, it might be time for a cull. Sadly, cosmetics have a lifespan as over time they can deteriorate in quality or become riddled with bacteria (we're looking at you, mascara!). Is it time to throw out your beloved blush? See our guide below to find out how long you should hold on to makeup for and de-clutter your makeup collection.


If you have a shade and finish for every occasion, you might want to cast your mind back to when you opened them as (unfortunately) foundation does not last forever. Depending on the brand and the type of foundation you use, you can typically expect foundation to last 12 months once opened. However, if not stored properly you might notice signs of deterioration before then such as the formula separating in the bottle.


Whilst mascara is a makeup must-have, it has a very short makeup bag life of 6 months.  This is because a) bacteria love wet environments, and b) the wand is directly applied to your lashes which naturally have bacteria growing on them.

Despite the 6 month lifespan, you might want to consider tossing your mascara out before then. A study revealed that after 3 months of use 36.4% of the mascaras tested contained fungi, Staphylococcus epidermidis or Streptococcus species. Lovely! (Source:

The tell-tale sign that your mascara in on the way out is that it takes on a funky odour or you might notice changes in the texture.


How long eyeliner lasts depends on whether it is a liquid formula or a pencil. As the old, exposed surface on an eyeliner pencil can be shaved away before application, they actually have a surprisingly long lifetime. Indeed, your trusty kohl can last up to 2 years! The same applies to lip liners and eyebrow pencils.

On the other hand, liquid eyeliner suffers from the same plight as mascara as it is directly making contact with the skin and bacteria thrive in wet environments. This means you should replace it after 6 months.


Providing you keep it stored properly, lipstick can last up to 2 years! However, if you notice that the lipstick is drying out or smelling a bit off, it’s time to bin it.

Eye shadows

Powder eye shadows can last up to 2 years once opened but their creamy counterparts only last around 6 months due to their high liquid content.

Face powders

Powder makeup such as bronzers, blushers and highlighters have an excellent life span of 2 years due to the lack of moisture in their formulas. To prevent contamination, be sure to wash your makeup brushes regularly.