Spring Clean or Fling?

Dear Audrey,
How long should I keep my products? I can’t find an actual expiration date, but I have had some of these around for a really long time.

Here is a set of guidelines to help you figure out what products you can keep and, most importantly, the ones you really should toss.


Has it been open for more than 6 months? Toss it! Liquid Foundations, CC creams, BB Creams and the like can become a harbor for bacteria, cause irritation and possibly an infection. Try using a spatula or other sanitary device for formulas in jars to avoid repeated contact with your fingers. This will also reduce the possibility of bacteria.


Over 6 months? Toss it! This is also a bacterial risk, not to mention most formulas start to dry out and thicken over time. Try to limit the number of times you dip the wand. Repeated pumping can cause more air to enter and dry the product out quicker.


A good rule of thumb is one year after opening. Always try to recap them as soon as possible. Give them a quick turn in a clean sharpener before putting them away. This can help keep them clean, and they will be ready next time you need them. Pro tip: Sharpeners can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol between uses. Be sure to get the inside as well as the outside surfaces.

Pressed or Loose Powders

2 Years after opening. Avoid using your fingers directly and keep your applicators clean. Brushes and sponges are favorites for bacteria so be sure to clean them frequently and replace them after they become worn. Natural bristle brushes can be cleaned with store-bought brush cleaners or a mild, sulfate-free shampoo. Be sure to suds them up well, rinse thoroughly, smooth the bristles into position and dry thoroughly.

Lipstick, Lipgloss or Balm

2 years max. You can clean the surface after use with a quick wipe of a tissue before returning it to the container. Be sure to keep it capped as much as possible, so it doesn’t dry out.


Most products typically last 2-3 years after opening. Again everyone’s circumstances are different. If the products are in pucks or jars, they are more likely to create bacteria from repeated direct contact. When in doubt, toss it out.

These are just guidelines. If you are concerned, please check your packaging and reach out to the manufacturer for more information regarding specific expiration dates.

A helpful Audrey tip: Use a permanent marker or piece of tape and write the date you opened it on it for future reference. This way it won’t be a guessing game in the future!


Ask Audrey

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This newsletter is a compilation of many voices and is not necessarily a single person. We have done our best to represent the subject matter as thoroughly as possible, but we make no guarantees. Please use this newsletter as only one of several sources, as it contains both facts and opinions.


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