The Accidental Housewife: Keep your make-up clean and healthy

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Earlier this week I shared the best way to keep your make up and brushes organized. So as part of organizing these items, it’s important to know that like items in your kitchen you think can stay forever, even your make-up has a shelf life. So today I’m going share simple tips and time when to toss your favorite shade of lipstick or mascara, since one of its favorite visitors are bacteria, which love to grow there.

Bacteria are Beauty Queens

Makeup manufacturers aren’t required in the US to provide expiration dates, so here are a few tricks to help your makeup and brushes last longer and when to toss them:

  • Don’t wet your eyeliner brush with saliva. Doing that will leave it damp and breed bacteria on the product and the brush
  • Lengthen the life of your lipstick and minimize bacteria by keeping it in a cool place like your fridge!
  • Limit pumping your mascara which exposes it to the air and will dry it out faster
  • Chuck any item that comes in touch with your eye or lips if you get an infection
  • Sharpen eyeliners and lip pencils regularly


Baby ‘Em: Most brushes are mad of hair, so clean them as you would your own with a little baby shampoo and warm water, reshape then lay them on edge of sink to dry.

Dip in vinegar or vodka: Use 2:1 water to white vinegar or vodka -- a natural sanitizer and rinse in warm water. Reshape and let them dry on the edge of the sink.

Frequency: Brushes you use to apply liquid or cream-based products, i.e. foundation, concealer, or lipstick, clean weekly with shampoo or vinegar. If really ambitious and are a germaphobe, wipe daily with a clean damp rag. All others: every two weeks or so are fine, unless you have an eye or lip infection, then toss pronto and go visit your favorite make up person.


To begin with…throw away anything that:

  • Smells funky
  • Is clumpy
  • Discolored

Face powder and powder blush: 2years

Cream blush 6 -12 months


  • Water based: 12-18 mo* (If it gets clunky before then, add alcohol-free toner and shake)
  • Oil-based: 18 months

Concealer: 12 months

Lipstick 1-2 years

Lip and eye pencil 2-3 year

Eye-shadows: 2-3 years or until next season’s hot color replaces it!

Mascara: 3-6 months

Make-up brushes: 3-7 years, depending upon care and quality. If they become mishapen or stained, time to go!