How Often Should You Replace Your Eye Makeup?

A dermatologist weighs in

Corrie D.
ByCorrie D.

We are all guilty of keeping makeup for longer than we should, whether it's that gorgeous eyeshadow palette or that really expensive foundation we just can’t seem to throw away. Cosmetics experts have a simple guiding principle: If your makeup looks funny or smells funny – it’s probably too old and needs to be replaced. For hardcore hygiene fans, dermatologist Dr. Deborah Lee shared more detail on what to toss (and when!) with the team at LOOKFANTASTIC

Photo by Victoria L.

Photo by Victoria L. of Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner

How often should we replace our makeup?


A chart showing when to replace common makeup items

 Makeup Type  Replace Every:
 Mascara  3 months
 Eyeshadow  6 months
 Eye pencils  6 months
 Lipsticks and lip gloss  6 months
 Cream makeup (foundation, blush)  9 months
 Powder makeup (foundation, blusher)  9-12 months

Eye makeup is of major concern as mascara is particularly notorious for causing eye infections. You should hear a popping sound when you pull the mascara wand out of the canister. If that doesn't happen, too much air has got into the chamber, which means it may have become an unhealthy breeding ground for bacteria. Pro Tip: Don't pump your mascara wand in and out of the tube. 

It’s best to store your brushes upside down in a cup, so they are exposed to the fresh air, and not cramped in a hot sweaty makeup bag. And be sure to clean those brushes and sponges regularly!

“Ideally, organize your makeup in a drawer, using dividers, away from heat and direct sunlight. It's better not to keep your makeup in the bathroom, which is a hot humid environment. Some experts advocate keeping mascara and eye makeup in the fridge. Keeping skin creams in the fridge can be soothing, especially if you have a chronic skin condition.”

- Dr Lee

Photo by Fiore L.

Photo by Fiore L. of Lancome Lash Idole Mascara 

For any products where you dip your fingers inside the jar (cremes and masks) or apply with your fingers (like eyeshadows or blush), you potentially introduce bacteria which then lives inside and spreads back to the skin. Be sure to wash your hands well before applying any makeup to reduce this risk. Pro Tip: Try sticking a piece of masking tape on your beauty products with the date of purchase on it, so you always remember when you bought it and when it should be changed.

Lipsticks and lip glosses can also harbour infections and should be changed every 6 months, or more often if you have been ill and had crusty, dry lips, or had a cold sore. Never share these products with others.

Photo by Lia L.

Photo by Lia L. of StylPro Brush Cleaner 

Do you have any tips for keeping your makeup clean and fresh? Share them with us in the comments below!

About the Author
Corrie D.
Corrie D.
Former Influenster. You can see my reviews and product insights on my OG Influenster account: @corriedavidson. Follow me on Instagram @CorrieReviews, YouTube @CorrieDavidson, tiktok @CorrieDavidson.