How To Refresh Your Makeup Bag In The New Year

Even if you're not feeling the whole "new year, new you" vibe, many beauty experts and dermatologists are urging people to go through their makeup bags. Not only is it a good time to get rid of products you don't use anymore, but January is also a great time to check your products and see if they've gone bad. Even though there are no expiration dates listed on makeup products, liquid-based products, especially, have a shelf life you need to pay attention to.

"Unopened, well-formulated cosmetics can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature," Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist at Cosmetech Laboratories, told Good Housekeeping. It's when you open a product, she explains, that you start heading toward its expiration date. Not only are you introducing germs to your products — and then to your face — whenever you touch them, but heat and humidity exposure can cause mold and yeast to grow, says Wilson. So, while keeping makeup in your bathroom is convenient for your morning routine, it may cause your products to turn more quickly.

As for when those expiration dates actually are, there are different ways to tell if a product has gone bad. Byrdie recommends checking the smell of your products because, if there's been a change or the product just smells bad, that's a sign it's time to replace it. But keep in mind that each product in your makeup bag has its own signs that it's time to make a change. Here's how to refresh your makeup bag in the new year.

Your liquid foundation needs to be replaced after six months

There are a few different factors that affect how long it's safe to use liquid foundations and skin tints. For instance, if you're applying foundation by finger instead of pumping it onto some other surface, Byrdie recommends replacing these products every six months because your fingers transmit germs into the bottle of makeup.

According to Health, you can stretch this shelf life to about a year if you use a cotton swab or beauty sponge to apply your product. But, if your foundation or skin tint starts to separate, thicken, or smell like rubber, it's past time to toss it.

This is when you need to toss your mascara

A sign that it's time to throw out your old mascara is when it starts to smell bad or you're getting "more clumps than color" when applying, says dermatologist Jeannette Graf, via Health.

But there's more to worry about than odor, Bustle explains. Since mascara goes by your eyes, old tubes can be veritable Petri dishes for infection-causing bacteria, making you more susceptible to pinkeye or sties. A good rule of thumb, Bustle adds, is to toss your mascara after two months of opening it.

Yes, you do need to replace your eyeshadow

No matter if your eyeshadow is powder or cream, Bustle recommends tossing these products after six months or so. Like mascara, this product goes right by your eyes, so the potential for bacteria growth and infection is greater the longer you hang on to your eyeshadow. Bustle adds that cream eyeshadows generally have a shorter shelf life than powders.

If you want to help your eyeshadows last longer, you need a regular makeup brush cleaning routine. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown told Allure that she recommends cleaning eyeshadow brushes once every two weeks.

You need to replace liquid eyeliner more often than you think

Just like with mascara and eyeshadow, eyeliner is an important makeup product to routinely replace. According to Health, some signs your liquid liner has been in your makeup bag too long include the liquid thickening or smelling like "decaying roses."

Keep in mind that, with liquid and gel eyeliners, you're constantly moving the applicator from the bottle to your eye, making it easy to transfer bacteria back and forth (via Bustle). Three months is the maximum amount of time Bustle recommends hanging onto liquid eyeliner.

These are the signs it's time to throw out your lipstick

Thankfully, lipstick is one of those beauty products that can last a little longer in your makeup bag. Health recommends tossing a tube if it has come in contact "with a cold sore or another type of infection" or once the product's consistency changes. No longer depositing color is another big sign it's time to toss your lipstick.

But Good Housekeeping warns that lipstick can be a breeding ground for bacteria, too. So a year or two is the maximum amount of time it should stay in your bag.