12/12/2011 09:02 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Be Organized: When To Toss Cosmetics

Flickr Photo by denej

Once exposed to air, cosmetics start to lose effectiveness and the ability to combat bacteria. The chart below offers a general guideline, but celebrated makeup artist Pati Dubroff notes that some products (with the exception of mascara) can last longer than indicated if stored in a cool place away from sunlight. Lipsticks, foundations, and other cream-based formulas are more subject to spoilage than powders. She advises discarding a product if there is a change in smell or it has been exposed to heat.

Product -- Shelf Life

Liquid and cream foundation -- 6-12 months
Concealer -- 8-12 months
Pressed powder* -- 1 year
Eye shadow -- 1 year
Blush -- 1 year
Mascara -- 3 months
Lipstick and lip gloss -- 2 years
Eye and lip pencils -- 2 years
Facial cleanser -- 1 year
Facial toner -- 1 year
Facial moisturizer -- 1 year

*Pressed powder spoils faster if stored with puffs, which tend to accumulate oil. if kept separately from puffs and sponges, these powders can last up to three years.

For more cleaning tips, check out What's A Disorganized Person To Do?