Decluttering Cosmetics and Skincare: A guide

We all have makeup and skincare that we’ve hung on to for way too long, hoping that we’d once again use a bygone lip color or eye shadow. But the truth is, we likely won’t, and probably shouldn’t (beauty products have suggested lifespans), use most of our old cosmetics. In reality, all these items are doing is taking up precious storage space in our New York City apartments.  Here’s a guide on when to discard some popular beauty items:


Experts recommend getting rid of mascara after three months. Because the tube is wet and enclosed, it’s a good breeding ground for bacteria and the longer you keep this item, the higher the chances of contracting an infection like an eye sty.


Similar to mascara, liquid eyeliners are best tossed after about three months, whereas pencil liners can be kept for up to two years. That’s because liquid liners encourage bacterial growth and pencils can be sharpened to reveal a new and clean surface.

Creams and Lotions

Some creams and lotions have expiration dates—such as ones containing acne medication. Pay attention to the dates to know when to toss. Products that don’t have expiration dates last six months to a year. Those in pumps can last up to a year and those containing vitamin C and retinol can degrade faster and should be kept away from sunlight and not exposed to air too much.

Eye Shadow

Cream shadows can last about six months. After that point, the chance of bacterial growth goes up. Powder shadows have a shelf life of about two years.

Lipstick and Lip Liners

Lipsticks contain moisture and by now we know that moisture is optimal ground for bacterial growth. So at around two years, it’d best to toss these items. You can keep pencils longer than two years, however.


You can keep most blushes anywhere between one to two years. Again, cream blushes will need to be tossed closer to the one-year mark, whereas the powders can be kept longer.


These guys tend to last more than two years. You might want to toss these if the scent has changed.



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