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03-27-15 | Posted by

For months I’ve been avoiding the cabinet under my bathroom vanity. I open it up, take out what I need to use and close up shop quickly before I allow myself to see how many products are piling up in there. Because I’m a beauty writer, I undoubtedly have more than the average Jill accumulating–it just comes with the territory! If I don’t like a product I’m reviewing it’s easy to toss, but if it gets a thumbs up it’s very hard for me to throw it away, even when I know I’m not going to get a chance to use it while I’m reviewing something else.


Chances are you too have more than you need. Spring cleaning isn’t just for your clothing and linen wardrobes. It’s the ideal time to take stock of what’s hiding in your beauty closet and clear out all that you no longer need, use or want as well as anything past its prime (hello yucky bacteria!) and sure to be ineffective or cause beauty consequences like breakouts or irritation if used. Here, how long you can expect it to last, what to toss and how to make your products last their longest:



Here’s a general guide on the approximate longevity of your makeup and skincare products once they are opened:


  • Mascara – 3 months
  • Eyeliner   – 4 to 6 months
  • Concealer – 6 to 12 months
  • Foundation – 6 to 12 months
  • Powder Makeup (for eyes, cheeks or face) – up to 3 years
  • Lip Balms – up to 1 year
  • Lipstick, Lip Gloss, Lip Pencils – up to 3 years


  • Cleansers:  up to 12 months
  • Toners: 6 to 12 months
  • Alpha or Beta Hydroxy Acid Products: up to 12 months
  • Facial serums and moisturizers: up to 12 months
  • Body moisturizers: up to 12 months
  • Sunscreen: up to 12 months

What to Toss: 

  • Toss any product past its expiration date.
  • Toss any product that’s changed consistency, color, slip or scent.
  • Toss any product if the packaging shows signs of change. Maybe it’s warped, expanded or shows signs of cracking–all clues that the product inside isn’t holding up well.
  • Toss all eye products after you’ve had an eye infection.
  • As the saying goes, when in doubt throw it out!

6 Ways to Make Your Products Last Longer:

  1. Wash hands before using any of your products to avoid introducing bacteria into it.
  2. Don’t share your products with anyone.
  3. Always close securely after using to limit the exposure to air.
  4. Use a sharpie to write your date of purchase directly on the product to keep track of your expiration dates.
  5. Avoid storing products in areas that get direct sunlight. Better yet, store them in a dark place like a cabinet or drawer.
  6. Never add water or saliva to rehydrate any of your products.


This project should take less than an hour to complete and get under control, and the beauty of it is that once it’s done a little maintenance from time to time will  keep it in check for good!

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