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Expiration Dates: When to Toss Your Beauty Loot

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Just like your wardrobe, you can hold on to items for years and not use them. But unlike clothing, beauty products can go bad, and when they do, using them can be unhealthy and even harmful. The best way to avoid this is to keep from hoarding multiple products with the same purpose at the same time. But if it is unavoidable (don’t worry, we do it too!) stay on top of each item's expiration date with Beautylish’s helpful guide.

1. Moisturizer

Face cream can lose its freshness after six months. Make sure to seal correctly to make it last longer and avoid bacteria buildup.

2. Nail polish

While technically your favorite bottle lasts only one year, the real test is a simple shake. If color remains separated even after a quick rattle, toss it.

3. Lipstick

The best way to tell if a hue has become tainted? Give the tube a quick sniff. You will be able to smell if it’s gone sour, which usually is after three years. Lip gloss can turn after about a year and will become too sticky in texture.

4. Mascara

Fortunately, it’s easy to know when your mascara has gone bad: the dried up liquid becomes dry, clumpy, and hard to apply. Plus, old mascara can contain unhealthy bacteria, so ditch the tube when the liquid becomes pasty—usually after three months.

5. Perfume

Good news, Beauties: Your favorite fragrance will usually last up to eight years after it has been opened. Want to keep it smelling fresh even longer? Store it in the fridge! Oxidation—the process that changes a scent—happens quicker in warm environments.

6. Brushes

It’s simple to tell when your brushes are ready to be dumped: Just eyeball them. If the bristles are pinched, frayed, or falling out, it’s time to invest in a new brush.

7. Sunscreen

Luckily, most tubes have expiration dates on them, which is typically about one year. So don’t start hoarding in the summer—just buy as needed.