To prolong the life of any blush, clean your blush brush regularly and store the color in a dark, dry place to avoid promoting bacterial growth. Moisture can come in the form of residue from your foundation and face cream as well, explains Dubroff: “If you’re applying blush over these products, the oils cling to the bristles and transfer to the blush.” This will eventually cause a dull gray film to form on powder formulas, or a white, chalky layer on top of creams. To prevent this from happening, after applying foundation and moisturizer, wait a couple of minutes before putting on blush. You can also blot excess oils from your face first, then, after your blush is on, immediately wipe off your brush with a dry towel.
With powders or creams, texture is also an indicator that it’s time to toss. If the formula has become so hard it won’t budge from the compact, it’s time to buy a new one.
Eye-enhancing shadows? Yes, please. Eye-irritating ones? No, thanks. To keep your eyes from getting red or itchy, replace powder shadows every six to nine months, according to Hammer. Even though they are similar in formulation to other powders, because they’re constantly in contact with a mucous membrane, there’s a higher risk of transferring bacteria to the product and then back to the eyes.
Pay extra attention to cream-based shadows, which tend to grow bacteria more quickly than powders. If you use your fingers to apply, wash your hands before doing so, and be aware of any color switches or off-putting smells.
Liquid or pencil, these eye definers should be replaced about every three months. Like eye shadows, they are applied near a sensitive area and can pick up bacteria and bring it back to the eye very easily “without any visible signs of contamination,” Hammer warns. If you’ve used a dingy liner, you could experience redness, itchiness, or, in extreme cases, conjunctivitis.
Pencils will last a bit longer than liquid liners if you’re steadfast about regular sharpening, but you’ll know they’re dead once a white film starts to develop on the tip that can’t be sharpened off, says Dubroff.
Lipstick and Lip Gloss
The wrong color may spoil your mood, but the risk of a lipstick or lip-gloss formula spoiling (or growing bacteria) is low since they don’t contain water, says Hammer. But since they’re repeatedly exposed to the mouth area, he suggests replacing lip products after a year — or if you’ve recently been sick. Teschendorf agrees, telling Allure, “Traditional anhydrous lipsticks have the potential to last a bit longer since their top surface can be cleaned in between uses, but one year is still a good rule of thumb.”