How often should you REALLY be replacing your make up and perfume?

If you can't remember when you bought that mascara, it's time to chuck it out...

Hands up, how long have you hung on to your favourite mascara? If you're planning to declutter, your beauty stash is a good place to start - but when should you be replacing your make-up and how long does it last?

And what about that lipstick, the one you've been meaning to chuck out since 1999? Editing your stash is not only better for your skin's health, it will also make getting ready quicker and easier.

With research from showing that the average lipstick has been used by nine different people, and mascara often being shared amongst as many as four friends too, it's more important than ever to keep your make up bag fresh and bacteria free.

Here's when you should be replacing your make up bag staples...


Bag life: 6 months to 1 year after opening If it starts to smell odd, seperate or change in colour, ditch it. Keep your fingers away from the neck of the bottle so that it stays germ-free for longer. Instead, tip onto the back of your hand before you apply.


Bag life: 3 months Pumping the wand in and out (we all do it!) causes bacteria to build quickly. When it starts to flake or look clumpy, you know what to do. Plus, replacing it is so important to avoid eye infections. There are some amazing mascaras on the market for less than £5, so no excuses.

How often shoould you be replacing make-up

Alamy Stock Photo


Bag life: 1 year When using to cover a blemish, don't touch the spot with a brush, then dip it back into the pot, as this spreads bacteria. Instead, pour the product onto the back of your hand and apply it from there. If your concealer starts to change in texture, replace it.


Bag life: 12-18 months after opening Lipsticks are more waxy than 'watery' so don't pose the biggest threat, but if you notice it becomes dry or a bit gloopy, chuck it, even if it's your favourite! Keep lipsticks in a cool, dry place and they'll last longer.


Bag life: 3 months Like eyeshadows, liners can pick up bacteria and bring it back to your eye very easily. So if your eyes start to feel itchy, seem a bit red or in some circumstances, you develop conjunctivitis, ditch that dodgy pencil! If you regular sharpen, pencils rather than liquid eyeliners should last a bit longer  (opens in new tab)

Powder eyeshadow and blush

Bag life: About 2 years The longest-lasting of all of your products, but when they become hard or chalky it's best to buy new. And be sure to clean applicators regularly to prevent germs spreading from product to face and back again.


Bag life: 3 years with good care It's a faff, yes, but a little regular maintenance wil keep your brushes bacteria-free, and prolong their lifespan too. Every few weeks wash them with a baby shampoo in warm water, then stand them in a mug and leave to air-dry.

Nail polish

Bag life: 2 years Once a bottle is opened some ingredients will start to evaporate. So if you notice a thick, goopy, separated consistency where the pigments settle on the bottom, even after a good shake, toss it out. If you're a manicure lover, read our genius nail painting hacks (opens in new tab).


Bag life: 3 – 5 years Perfumes can last you years without expiring but keep them out of direct sunlight and make sure the lid is on tightly, as air can contaminate the product causing it to oxidize. And if it starts to small a bit wrong, throw it! If you're planing to replace yours, check out the best perfumes of all time (opens in new tab) - and these perfume dupes (opens in new tab) that smell like designer scents.


Bag life: 1-2 years If the texture of your lotions changes or it starts to small a bit 'off' before the 1 year mark, toss it. The more active ingredients it contains and the more bacteria it comes into contact with (e.g. when you dip your fingers in the pot), the less stable it will be and the more quickly it will expire.

Anna Bailey
Digital Editor

Anna Bailey is the editor of GoodTo. She joined the team in June 2018 but has been a lifestyle writer and online editor for more than 14 years. Anna graduated from Bournemouth University in 2004 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism and went on to gain her NCTJ and NCE  journalism qualifications. She began her career in local journalism, working as a reporter for the Basingstoke Gazette in Hampshire.  As Lifestyle Editor for she managed the websites for the broadcaster’s best-loved shows including This Morning, Loose Women, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Coleen's Real Women, and Britain's Best Dish. Before joining she was also a Features Editor at MSN UK and Digital Lifestyle Editor for the broadcaster UKTV. She’s also contributed to The Mirror, The Sun, LoveFood, LoveExploring, and TBSeen.