Makeup 101: When to Toss Em and When to Wash Em

[Make-up is wonderful, but it can also be confusing. There are so many shades and colors and sheens and reasons to wear it, that a girl can get completely lost attempting to find what fits her face best. What’s the best blush color for a redhead? How do you really put on lip-liner? Is there such a thing as too much eyeshadow?

In this weekly series, makeup expert Ali will use her makeup know-how to teach us all how to look flawless in class, out at a party, or grabbing coffee with that cutie from Psych 101.]

In order for makeup to keep you looking fresh and beautiful you need to keep up with fresh products. Yes, it can be a sad day to throw out your favorite MAC eyeshadow because its time has expired, but it is necessary for your skin and your overall look (and feel). Below is some important information about how long your makeup should last, and how to stretch out its shelf life. And don’t worry – we won’t judge you if you hold a moment of silence for your favorite products whose time has come.

Mascara: With such close contact to your eyes, mascara is likely to acquire bacteria and, as a result, should be thrown out after 3 months. Don’t believe me? Smell it. Go on, do it. If the mascara is ready to go you’ll notice a different smell, not to mention the mascara will likely not go on as well. Throw it out!

Foundation: Liquid and condensed powder foundations will likely become cakey or cracked after 6 months to a year and then it’s time to toss em. Loose powder foundation will likely last a little longer. Similar rules apply to blush.

Lip-gloss: Will stay fresh for 1 year, maximum 2. When the gloss becomes sticky or gooey it is time to purchase a new one.

Eyes Shadow: Powder shadow lasts about 2 years, and cream shadow should be tossed after 1 year. Again, the make up will become cakey and crease easily when it is past its shelf-life.

Nail Polish: Quality polish will last 2 years, with cheaper polish becoming less effective after a year. To keep polish working great, store it in the refrigerator, and when it becomes thick add a little nail-polish remover to the bottle.

Brushes: When bristles of brushes begin to fall out it is a good idea to throw them out (cheaper brushes will lose bristles first). As brushes are exposed to dirt and bacteria on your face it is important to keep them fresh. In order to preserve brushes make sure to wash them as often as possible, preferably weekly, but at least monthly. Using a small amount of shampoo on your fingers, kneed the brushes in warm water and rinse them thoroughly. Reshape them when they are still damp and allow them to air-dry. (You’ll be amazed how much will come out of the brushes when washing, and you’ll feel much cleaner when applying makeup!)

A few extra tips to extend your makeup’s life:

-Always use brushes instead of your fingers, which will transfer bacteria to the makeup. When applying eye-shadow, disposable applicators can be bought at drug stores and will work just fine.

-Label your makeup with the date you opened it, so you can keep an eye on when to throw it out.

-Don’t keep makeup hanging loosely in your purse where dirt could get in.

-If something smells funny, toss it. And just like with milk or leftovers, when in doubt, throw it out!

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