Mascara expiration


Lean into nature for a fresh and healthy look this spring.

Spring is here — or will be shortly — so it’s time for fresh faces and clean looks. Traditionally, “spring cleaning” means we disinfect our homes, reorganize our closets and generally purge our abodes of dirt and clutter; this means we also need to examine what’s in our makeup drawers and beauty bags.

Sure, we all have our favorite palettes, nail polishes and mascaras but, like food, almost all makeup has an expiration date. Not only can things start to get clumpy and dry out but products can also become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria — especially makeup that contains moisture. Expensive to replace? Yes, it can be. Worth a good case of pink eye, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus epidermidis? Absolutely not.

Here are some guidelines for when to toss your makeup:   

Mascara and eyeliner: every three months. Our eyes are most susceptible to infection, so in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation you should replace your mascara at least once every three months. The same is true with eyeliner — liquid or pencil. I realize you probably have many different shades of liner but once you use one, bacteria can begin to build on the tip.   

Liquid foundation and concealer: every 12 months. Or sooner if you dip your fingers or a makeup brush into the foundation instead of using a pump; this increases the odds of bacterial growth.   

Cream blush and cream eyeshadow: every 12 months. And always use a new applicator when you’re applying them: Q-tip, freshly washed hands, clean makeup sponge, etc.   

Lipstick, lipgloss and lip liner:every 18-24 months. Toss them earlier if they start to dry out or you used them when you were sick or had a cold sore. Lip liners may last a little longer because you can continuously sharpen them, exposing new product.   

Powder products (blush, bronzer, eyeshadow):every 24 months. You can also spray powdered items with 99 percent isopropyl alcohol to help kill surface bacteria.   

Makeup brushes: It’s a good idea to clean these once a week to prevent bacterial build-up. Wash them with a gentle shampoo and then let them air dry. 

My tip: Put a “trash” date on your makeup packages with a marker so you know when to replace them. Also, if any of your products start smelling strange, change color or texture or you apply them while you have an infection, you’ll need to stop using them immediately and throw them away.

Now that you’ve purged, let’s consider a “fresh” approach to your new product selection. While in the past organic makeup didn’t conjure up images of glamorous palettes, things have changed. There are now several natural skincare and makeup brands with a range of innovative, contemporary and actually pretty offerings to consider. Here are a few of my favorites:   

Dr. Hauschka
This brand is famous for organic skincare products, but the company also has a complete line of makeup products including foundation, powders, mascara, lipstick, eye shadows and more. Dr. Hauschka’s organic makeup is certified by BDIH (the Germany-based nonprofit association of industries and trading firms for pharmaceuticals) and contains no synthetic chemicals. Their products are formulated using organic and biodynamic ingredients and pure minerals. My personal favorite: Natural Allure Illuminating Powder — a delightful pure silk powder that gives you a light shimmer.  

Ecco Bella
Ecco Bella cosmetics have some of the highest amounts of organic components. This makeup brand has a complete line of cosmetics as well as skincare products. The company’s products are free of preservatives, artificial colors and gluten and full of natural ingredients like organic jojoba oil, calendula and chamomile. Their products are also reasonably priced. For fresh, dewy lips this spring, check out Good For You Gloss in “Pleasure.” Your lips will thank you; your admirers will compliment you!

Suki Color
Suki Color organic makeup is made using only natural plant extracts and pure minerals. The company’s products are great even for the most sensitive skin (I have rosacea and my skin loves this brand). Suki Color has multiple benefits — you look great and the makeup is packed with organic ingredients including omega oils and plant extracts that nourish and moisturize the skin. For lovely-all-over, fresh skin coverage, try their Tinted Active Moisturizer. You’ll be treated to a velvety finish with cell-turnover benefits.