Here’s When You Need To Throw Out Your Beauty Products

Because your products don't last forever *sob*

The piece of advice we’re about to dish out is painful but necessary; sometimes, you just need to throw out your old make-up and skincare products. We know, we know; you beauty hoarders have been adding to your burgeoning collection since you were teenagers, but if those days are just distant memories (they are for us, unfortunately) then you better listen up, because your feel-good go-to could potentially harm your looks.

Sorry to say it, but all beauty products, whether that’s makeup, skincare or haircare, aren’t invincible. As much as they work wonders, they can’t last forever. Superheroes they may be, but eternal they are not. Over time, oxygen, light, bacteria, heat and humidity slowly affect these products. With continued use, they have the potential to cause nasty reactions or irritations on your skin. But how do you spot it? Watch our quick video for the expiry dates of almost every product you’ve got hiding away…


SIGNS: Your mascara might be on its way out if it’s beginning to clump or crust, or isn’t evenly coasting your lashes like it used to.

HOW TO CONSERVE: Make sure you secure the lid tightly, and whatever you do, don’t every pump the wand – this only encourages air pockets to enter the tube, drying out the formula. And as much as it might be tempting to try out your BFF’s latest mascara, you only run the risk of spreading bacteria and nasty germs. NOT something you want near your eyes!

VANITY SHELF LIFE: 2-3 months.


SIGNS: If the formula has separated, there’s a change in the texture, or you get a liquid coming from the tube, it’s no good. You won’t get an equal amount of moisturisation, and risk irritation. Lotions often contain AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids); after time their concentration may have increased with the evaporation of any water. High concentrations can cause persistent redness and scarring, which frankly isn’t worth risking.  2 years.

HOW TO CONSERVE: Opt for packaging with a pump rather than a jar or bottle – this reduces its contact with air when opening and closing.



SIGNS: Fragrances lose potency if left too long, and can change in smell and colour. If you’re suddenly repulsed by your once-favourite scent, it might be past its best. The air can oxidise the scent, turning it musty.

HOW TO CONSERVE: Store in a cool, dark place away from heat or bight lights.



SIGNS: We’ve been good; after listening to the doctor, we now religiously apply sun protection throughout the year. But unfortunately, SPF doesn’t last too long before its potency is dramatically reduced, and if there’s one beauty product that really needs to work, it’s this. SPFs typically contain lots of oil, which only reduce their ‘good to use’ window. When the colour changes or the formula separates, it’s time to be chucked.



SIGNS: If the formula in the bottle isn’t one uniform colour, then there’s no guarantee that it won’t be just the same on your skin. And no one wants blotchy two-tone skin.

HOW TO CONSERVE: Keep it in the fridge! It’s sure to wake you up first thing in the morning…

VANITY SHELF LIFE: 6-12 months.


SIGNS: You’re probably aware of this one already; polishes go thick and gloopy after time, and certainly won’t give you the perfect mani you’re after.

HOW TO CONSERVE: Nail varnishes also last longer in the fridge, and it won’t hurt adding a few drops of nail polish thinner to the formulation every now and then.



SIGNS: Unwashed brushes carry germs and bacteria that can cause breakouts and nasty skin conditions like eczema and acne.

HOW TO CONSERVE: You should be washing your brushes at least twice a month to keep them in tip-top condition. There’s plenty of cleansing sprays and solutions on the market, but gentle shampoo and warm water will do fine too.

VANITY SHELF LIFE: Care for them properly, a good makeup brush should last forever!


SIGNS: If you have conjunctivitis or a stye, or an eye infection, DO NOT use any eye products unless you’re prepared to throw them out afterwards. You increase the risk of infection if you do use them. As a whole eyeliners and eye shadow can last a long time, depending on their consistency. Liquid eyeliners/ Cream eye shadows last for three to six months. Pencil eyeliners/ Powder eye shadows can last up two years. But try avoiding using a wet brush with Powder eye shadows, as it can make the product become hard. Using water also makes it a place for bacteria to grow.

VANITY SHELF LIFE: Dependent on type.


SIGNS: Lipsticks generally tend to have a longer life span, but if your lipstick is dry and no longer retains its creamy luster on your lips, it could be because its time to throw it away. The water content in most lipsticks formulae’s also make it a place for bacteria to grow… The thought of cold sores and blisters doesn’t sound worth the risk, does it?



Beauty companies aren’t required to put expiry dates on their products. Some have a symbol of a jar with an open lid and a number and either ‘M’ or ‘Y’ – expiry from when the product is opened. Just because your product doesn’t have one, doesn’t mean it’s ageless! So if you’re a beauty hoarder; always choose quality over quantity.

Use your instinct: if it’s gloopy, dicoloured, runny, lumpy, smelly or feels different – you know it’s time to say goodbye. Preservative free means bacteria! There aren’t any natural preservatives that can protect products against bacteria. While it may seem safer to preserve a product with natural ingredients, they’re not as effective as their synthetic counterparts.