If you’re like most of us, your beauty regimen has dropped a few notches during the last year and you’ve been relegated to eyebrows, liner and mascara only — since that is the only thing most people see on your face these days while wearing a mask.

For those of us who meet virtually through Zoom, we’ll throw a little concealer on the dark under eye circles if we have discovered the wonderful ring light that makes you look soft and glowy, or we just laze out and put up a profile picture. 

Chances are our makeup usage has dwindled and our products have lain dormant for quite some time. We are all looking forward to resuming our full makeup regimen in the near future when we are all safe and can show our beautiful faces again. 

At this point, the entire world has been educated on sanitation protocols. With that being said, it makes sense that cosmetic sanitation and beauty hygiene are important for good skin health. Ask yourself “How long have I had this makeup?” In case you haven’t considered it, makeup has an expiration date, though manufacturers are not required to include it on labels.

All products contain ingredients that degrade at some point. So how do I keep up with what is expiring? Best recommendation is to date your products with a permanent marker — just a suggestion.  

The following information will provide toss out guidelines and sanitation tips to keep your makeup “safe”. 

Most formulas — liquids, creams, and compacts — can last up to a year if kept out of sunlight and heat. Remember, once the air hits your product degradation begins. Always wash and dry your hands when using your fingers for beauty product application.

Toss Rule

Liquid foundation and cream: after 6 months to 1 year

Mascara: 3 months 

Eyeliner: 3 months (liquid and gel) 2 years (pencil)

Powder products: 2 years (bacteria does not fare well in dry powder products)

Lipsticks: 1 year

You can sanitize makeup with a spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) from the drugstore; do not use ethyl alcohol. Keep in mind that these disinfecting tips can help clean items, but they can’t completely get rid of bacteria. It’s always safest to buy new products. Below is some great information from the experts. 


Powder cosmetics, such as eyeshadows, are one of the easiest things to disinfect. First, take off the top layer of powder gently with a tissue, since that’s where most of the grime will have collected. Then, give the whole thing a spray with 70 percent alcohol, and set it out until dry.


You can clean your lipsticks in much of the same way you clean your powders. Use a tissue to wipe the top layer away, then dip the exposed end of the lipstick in 70 percent alcohol. Keep it in for about 30 seconds, then let it dry. However, keep in mind that lipstick will go bad faster than powder, thanks to its high oil content.


Liquid cosmetics (like foundation) are harder to clean up and go bad sooner since moist environments harbor more bacteria than dry ones do. However, you can at least clean the cap, nozzle and outer parts of a bottle using a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.


You can either wipe off the top layer of a pencil with a tissue or sharpen it away. Then, spray the exposed part with rubbing alcohol or dip it inside the alcohol, as you did with your lipstick. Make sure it’s completely dry before using it.


To sanitize your tools — like sharpeners and eyelash curlers — place them in a bowl of rubbing alcohol for a few minutes, then wipe them off with a clean cloth.

Unlike makeup, these tools can last a very long time with proper care and cleaning. Change out the pads on your eyelash curlers every few months, but clean them with alcohol in between replacements.

Don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes regularly, too. Use a brush cleanser of mild shampoo.

With these cleaning tips, plus regularly replacing items that are too old, you can avoid infections, breakouts and more while still using your favorite products.

Stay healthy and beautiful!

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Marion Edwards is a Licensed Esthetician, Professional Makeup Artist and Certified Trainer for Motives Cosmetics. She can be contacted at 828.773.1500.

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