You wouldn’t go months without scrubbing your bathroom, or eat food that’s been sitting around long past its expiration date, so why doesn’t your makeup bag get the same respect? If you haven’t washed your brushes since—um—never, and your favorite pot of gloss is looking more and more like a petri dish, check out this guide to getting a fresh start.
Clean brushes at least every week, especially those used for blush, foundation, or powder. These are likely your most often used brushes and come into contact with moisture from your liquid makeups and lotions, making them a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause breakouts. Gently massage them with water and your favorite facial cleanser or mild hair shampoo. “Eye shadow brushes can be ‘dry-cleaned’,” says celebrity makeup pro Daniel Martin. “Just spray brush cleaner on a paper towel and rub the brush hairs until the pigment’s gone.”
Change your mascara every three months like clockwork, and don’t try to cheat: bacteria can cause redness, irritation, and very unglamorous pink eye.The best way to know when it’s time: “When you take the wand out and it doesn’t make a ‘pop’ from suction,” says Martin.
Shadow, blush, and any other dry products should be thrown away every 12 months.
Replace your foundation after six to eight months to keep bacteria from growing in the wet environment, and even sooner if the smell changes.
Liners, lipsticks and glosses have a shelf-life of 12-18 months, but get rid of them if the texture starts to change.