The New Year is the time where we like to make resolutions and attempt to overhaul our lives. During this time we reflect on the year we have had and set out new goals for the forthcoming year. This time is not only a fantastic time to start healthy eating or increasing exercise but it’s also a good time to look at our beauty regimes, and overhaul our makeup bags. This also means cleaning out product that could be past its use-by date or could be harbouring bacteria and other nasty germs.

We don’t normally think about cosmetics as having a use-by date but using cosmetics and other beauty products that are past their prime, can be responsible for spreading some of the most awkward infections such as cold sores, conjunctivitis and can be the cause of infections and styes.

So to avoid catching, growing any of these awkward ailments, it’s important to firstly clean everything. Grab some anti-bacterial wipes and clean up makeup residue in your bathroom and on product. When things are clean and sanitised you are less likely to get skin irritations caused by bacteria on makeup. Throw away any creme or liquid products that are more than a year old and definitely mascaras that are more than 3 months old. The rule with powders is generally don’t use anything that is over two years old and lipstick and lipliner is generally one year.


Incase you are wary, most cosmetics should have a symbol on them telling you how long to keep for. It is shown usually with a symbol of a small cosmetic jar with the lid off and the amount of months printed in a number followed by the letter M indicating “months” eg “12M”. Sometimes it can just be the printed number without the image. Check all makeup and throw anything that seems suspicious.


Generally with powders, bacteria finds it very difficult to grow. Liquids and creams have more chance of spreading bacteria, especially if you share with friends or use unclean hands. If you can, use a spatula instead of your fingers in jars of cream as  this avoids any bacteria contaminating the source. Also all cosmetics must be stored away from moisture and in a cool, dark place. Bacteria grows in moisture and likes warm humid temperatures. If a powder becomes wet, bacteria may grow, but will soon die once the powder returns to its original state. Foundations are of higher risk because they provide a condition more suitable for bacteria and lipsticks also stick to skin particles which also harbour bacteria. However, if they are stored correctly and disposed of before use by dates, you will have no problem.

A great way to get organised is to search online for sticker templates you can print out and stick on your cosmetics so you can keep track of when you bought them and at what date they need to go.

A fantastic blog site to download really cute printable templates is at these designs are gorgeous and free! You can also try where you can buy stickers for $4.95 per packet of 20. You can also download an iPhone app for $1.99 which will alert you to when your makeup is approaching the use by date. The perfect way for busy women to keep track.

Images thanks to &

About The Author

Georgia Walsh

Georgia Walsh is a Melbourne based make-up artist, who is passionate about making women look and feel gorgeous through good practices of skincare and of course the art of makeup application. Georgia specialises in photographic, film and beauty makeup and her training and experience enables her to create a flawless look time after time.

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