How Long Is Too Long?


I am definitely guilty of keeping makeup too long but I blame the whole beauty blogger ‘thing’ – my makeup is a collection and I keep things I know I’ll never use again – just in case! That being said even if I wasn’t a blogger I’m not sure I could throw away a half used MAC lipstick so I’m asking.. how long is too long for you? Debenhams conducted a survey to see how long the average woman kept her cosmetics and while the results may be shocking to some I’m more surprised people ever throw things away. I’m very much a hoarder and  will only get rid of something if it appears to have ‘gone off’.. for me it’s the waste factor,  if I threw away all my makeup when it went ‘out of date’ I wouldn’t even want to consider what the cost would be to replace it.

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So.. I pretty much keep mine indefinitely and am quite happy to hold on to my 80s hand me downs but the question is… how long do you keep yours?

Miss BB

*Brought To You By Debenhams



  1. 9 July, 2013 / 8:16 pm

    I use mine indefinitely, but every so often I have a purge of stuff I just don’t use any more, so that gets chucked.

  2. Lianne
    9 July, 2013 / 8:39 pm

    Well, I know for a fact that all of the make up I have right now is no more than 6 months old because I only started my collection 6 months ago, lol. But I don’t wear make up more than twice a week max. so I definitely wouldn’t use anything up within these guidelines. There’s no way I’d ever throw anything expensive like my Naked palettes away, that’s for sure.

  3. Jodie
    9 July, 2013 / 8:47 pm

    I think its all BS designed to make you spend more money to be honest. The only thing touching your make up most of the time is your brushes which only touch your face and sometimes your hands which should be clean anyway. I would never throw my stuff out in the time limits that they’re suggesting and I think people who do are just wasting their money. If you’re worried about bacteria you can spray surgical spirit on powder and pencil products, cream products don’t collect bacteria really because the outer layer gets wiped off when you use it so if in doubt just wipe it with a tissue and liquid products are usually in a tube anyway. As long as you’re spot cleaning your brushes and not breaking out then you’re fine.

  4. 9 July, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    I keep my makeup until I use it or I get something new and prefer it then just never use the others again

    Seaside Beauty

  5. 9 July, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    I tend to go with gut feel on whether the product looks OK or not rather than worrying too much about expiry dates!

  6. 9 July, 2013 / 9:44 pm

    Some of my make up is over 4 years old, oops! The only thing I do chuck after a year is mascara, foundation and well used lipgloss/lip balm. Things like eye shadows and eye liner stay with me until they don’t look/smell right or I’ve used them up!

  7. Christina Freeman
    9 July, 2013 / 9:48 pm

    Shamefully long, things I bought and don’t like I get rid of either to friends or family but things I do like and use I will keep until its gone! I buy lots too so it may be several years before I get through, for instance eye shadow but if nothing else I think I will throw out some of those really old eye liners …. yuck!!

  8. carys emily
    9 July, 2013 / 9:57 pm

    I only threw away a 2 year old masscara the other day ,and that was only because it ran out . Iv got make up in my collection that iv had for years but just don’t want to throw it away because it feels like a waste as there is still product left. Obviously if i have a sort out and there are some products that look a bit off or are starting to smell i will chuck them out but otherwise i keep them until they run out !
    Interesting post

    Beautiful Dreams

  9. 9 July, 2013 / 10:13 pm

    I would never throw things like eyeshadow and blush away! As long as you keep your brushes clean I don’t see the problem. Everything else, I generally use until they’re gone or don’t work anymore – mascara gets gloopy, foundation separates etc. I’d like to see someone who makes a mascara last 6 years! Things like concealer and powder, I use until they’re gone, and generally that’s well before the “use by” dates above. Maybe I wear too much make-up…

  10. 10 July, 2013 / 10:14 am

    I’m a nightmare with keeping hold of makeup, even if it’s stuff I hate. I can’t risk losing anything from my collection! I think the main issue I have with use by dates on makeup is that they’re not clear. I have so many products that don’t give you a date to use by and the last thing I’m going to do is put sticky labels on everything to remember when I need to throw out an expensive eyeshadow or barely used lipstick.

    I use makeup cleansing wipes and spray to stop bacteria build up. A couple spritz of that into the blush pot or foundation disk and it’s good as new! x

    Adrienne | Late Night Nonsense

  11. Alix
    10 July, 2013 / 10:20 am

    Okay so I agree with somethings in that study, but I also think it’s a lot of BS to generate hype.

    As a rule, my foundation doesn’t last 6 months! I wear it every day, reapplying once and then if I’m going on a night out / busy in the evening, it all comes off and we start again. the exception to that rule is my ‘warpaint’ my clubbing foundation which is heavier, longer lasting, full on coverage.. I’ve had that for 9 months and I don’t plan on binning it just because I should have 3 months ago…

    Mascara I tend to use up in 2 months so it’s not usually a problem, when it does become a problem is when I have 3 on the go at once – like now, I have Model Co Fibre Lashxtend for natural day looks, Maybelline Colossal Smokey for normal activities with friends etc and then MAC Haute & Naughty for nights out.. I know the MAC is 9 months old but it’s not clumpy, it applies well and isn’t dried up! I am not throwing out a £15 mascara because Debenhams think I should. Were I to get an eye infection I would think differently.

    Lipstick, I have some BEAUTIFUL Tom Ford for Estee Lauder lipsticks, they’re about 2yrs old, I use them regularly but am no where near the bottoms of them, am I binning them? NO! I will keep those until there is not an iota of lippy left!

    If you are hygenic with your make up, wipe it down with a sterilising agent now and again, keep all brushes scrupulusly clean, and ensure your make up storage area is spotless then you’re minimising your risks, so why shouldn’t you keep your make up? Especially prized pieces??

    I have a Dior highlight and blush compact I got when I was 18, I’m now 26… It’s so pretty, I use it now and again but I wouldn’t EVER throw it! My Benefit Dallas I got when I was 19…. Not even touched pan yet… 😉 Soz Debenhams.

  12. 10 July, 2013 / 10:42 am

    I use mine until it has all gone. I have things in my collection which are 4 years old! (Mainly eyeshadow) you can tell when it has gone off – it separates, gets gloopy, goes hard and flaky. Or maybe I’m just a makeup grot lol * hangs head in shame* x

  13. Lauren
    10 July, 2013 / 12:58 pm

    Very helpful post! I must admit that I don’t usually check the expiry dates.. maybe I should start to!

  14. 10 July, 2013 / 1:23 pm

    I think most of it is to encourage you to buy more but I think it’s mainly common sense. I usually add a few months on to the lifespan given – mainly because I forget when I bought it. I know some people get stickers from ebay to say when it was bought etc.

    What an interesting post though, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Paula ♥ | xo

  15. 10 July, 2013 / 1:30 pm

    I only throw things out if they look/smell funny. I always thought that you could keep powder products forever. I wish companies would make things like eyeshadows in half sizes and for half the price, so that we could actually have a chance at using them up before the use by date!


  16. 10 July, 2013 / 3:44 pm

    Mascara I do tend to chuck every six months or so (I only buy cheap stuff though so not costing me a bomb). Everything else indefinitely! Foundation I use every day so that never lasts past it’s date anyway. Eye shadows and lipsticks I have had for years (oh the shame) as I don’t wear them very often so it kind of grates to throw away something that’s 95% full!

  17. 10 July, 2013 / 5:13 pm

    why throw foundation away when it’s in an air tight pump container? It makes no sense to me, although I usually finish one quicker than that anyway! #bahhumbug

  18. Victoria
    10 July, 2013 / 9:46 pm

    I think half of that is rubbish thought up by companies wanting to scare people into binning their makeup to buy new.
    I probably keep mascara for over 6 months, but if it seems too dry, or was to irritate my eyes I’d bin it.
    I didn’t think powder products went off for years, no way would I bin all my eyeshadows after one year.
    I think with cream products you can use your common sense, if they smell bad, bin them.

  19. 10 July, 2013 / 11:13 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a product go off?

  20. 11 July, 2013 / 12:21 am

    Published by the same Debenhams who make ££ from us buying their makeup – a little biased maybe?

    I keep mine until it’s dried up/starts to look or smell a little funky. No diseases or infections yet!

  21. 11 July, 2013 / 11:18 am

    I have a large collection of makeup, and palettes that I have paid a lot of money for. I don’t (and couldn’t) use all of my items everyday, but I rotate many lipsticks, eye shadows, blushers, bronzers, and different foundations and concealers. Doing like this my items could last for years and it really feels like a waste to throw things that have only been used a couple of times. What I do is maximum hygienic care: I don’t work the make up directly on the pan or container, but take a small amount and place it on a palette or back of my hand, so the when the tools touch my skin they never go back to the product container, that helps avoiding contamination of the product. I sanitize my hands before doing my makeup, and I sanitize brushes and tools after every use, and even sanitize cosmetics in their pans (yes, you can apply beauty soclean on eyeshadow palettes, lipstick palettes or bullets, etc) MAscara is the only item I discard every three months.
    All my makeup is in excellent condition and when I spot a problem I discard the item. But of course, it’s much more profitable to the makeup industry to say “you little pig throw your filthy old makeup away and BUY NEW” instead of explaining that you could keep a makeup item for very long time with the right care and hygiene.

  22. Marianne
    19 July, 2013 / 9:53 am

    I am guilty of this too however I see expiry dates as more of a guide. Mascaras and any liquid-type product I would replace and throw out accordingly but eyeshadow palettes etc are too expensive, sentimentally and financially, to be replaces every year! If you go through ur makeup regularly and check its all ok – smell, consistency, is it dried up? – and keep your tools clean then I see no harm in keeping them past ur expiry date. The only time I’ve ever really had a bad experience with makeup breaking me out or having a reaction is due to some ingredients or sharing with others.

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