According to experts, you should throw away your foundation, lipsticks and eye shadows every six to twelve months, and mascara every two to three months.
Are you freakin kidding me?
I have the biggest problem with the mascara one. I'm very lucky to work from home, so I wear makeup once or twice a month. So according to experts, I should get about two to six uses out of my $30 Lancôme mascara, then chuck it? Puh-lease.
I have an enormous makeup collection. (refer to exhibit A), much of it well over five years old and all of it in perfect condition. I'm going to tell you how to make ALL of your make up last a long time.
1) Get it out of the bathroom. Are you really wearing makeup often enough to justify it being in the bathroom anyway? That's prime real estate! You are? Good for you! Get it out anyway. The temperature and humidity changes are going to destroy everything. I store mine in the closet next to the bathroom, but it really doesn't matter where you put it, linen closet, sock drawer, with your Christmas decorations. Just get it out of the bathroom.
2) Put it all in one place. Okay, this isn't so much about making it last as it's about me hating it when makeup is scattered randomly all over the place. You can pick up a cheap cosmetic bag pretty much anywhere, or check out Caboodles. They have a lot of options to choose from. Or you can go high end and get a nice train case. And for those out there with serious addictions, I recommend a good tool box from your local hardware store (refer to exhibit B).
3) Clean your brushes. This one is important, especially if you only wear your makeup once in a while. If you let a dirty brush sit there for a week, it's going to grow bacteria. Then you dip it into your eyeshadow or whatever, and boom! You've contaminated the whole thing. Do not, however, buy commercial brush cleaners. These are usually loaded with alcohol and will trash your brushes, not to mention usually totally overpriced. I use a great product made for artists called Master's Brush Cleaner, but you can use any gentle cleanser (shampoo or face wash both work fine). Brushes can wait a couple days before you wash them, but sponges you should wash immediately. Honestly, if you're using the little cosmetic sponges that are $3 a dozen, you should just toss it every week if you apply makeup daily or after every use if your an occasional user.
4) Don't use your makeup when you have an eye infection. Or a cold sore. Or anything else weird going on. Do I really need to tell you that? If you do use anything, clean it with an alcohol wipe after. My advice is to not use anything you are too attached to, as alcohol will sometimes damage your product. Mascara of course, you just buy a new one for the week of your eye infection. If you're like me and enjoy a pricey mascara, a good drugstore option is L'oreal Voluminous mascara in Carbon Black. If you want to pick up a cheap shadow palette you can chuck at the end of the week, go with Wet'n'Wild. (I'm not kidding. They make great eyeshadow. I have several in my permanent collection.)
5) Don't pump that mascara brush! You're mascara is going to dry out eventually. It is a sad fact of life. I usually get about a year out of mine, sometimes longer. Why? I never pump. That injects air into the mascara, which dries it out faster. To load the wand, unscrew the cap, then without removing the brush, swirl it around a few times. Works better than pumping anyway. You will get a gob on the end of the wand, so be mindful to wipe it off on the tip of the tube before applying.
Now, I know most of you aren't following the expert's advice anyway. I know I'm lucky if I feel well enough to get the science projects and biological warfare out of my refrigerator, much less start checking my makeup bin for expiration dates. I use the same rule of thumb with my makeup as I do in the fridge: if it looks or smells funky, probably better to let it go.