Here's advice from Shalini Vadhera of Global Goddess Beauty in her e-newsletter that got my attention.
She provides the conventional wisdom about when to discard makeup:
Concealer: Up to 12 months
Powder: 2 years
Cream & gel cleansers: 1 year
Pencil eye liner: 3 years
Eyeshadow: 3 years
Foundation: 1 year
Lip liner: 3 years
Lipstick: 2 years, but if it starts to smell, replace it
Mascara: the fastest of these cosmetics to expire, will last no more than 3 months!
We know that cosmetics last longer than what she quoted: in fact, industry insiders have admitted that cosmetics are good to use five years after purchase.
Shalini then writes,
Here's a trick to keep your cosmetics lasting as long as possible. Use clean brushes, not fingers, for a healthy application. Brushes should be washed every 2-3 months in a mild detergent and laid flat to dry. If they begin to fray or split, replace them in order to ensure the smoothest application.
I was surprised that she recommended 2-3 months between washings. Usually, pros recommend washing brushes every month. This is especially important for eye makeup brushes for hygienic reasons.
Here's what I've learned about caring for makeup brushes:
* It takes about a day for eye makeup brushes to dry after washing.
* For face makeup brushes, it can take up to 2 days to dry after washing.
* Be judicious about using spray-on, tissue-off brush cleaners. These cleaners are a great convenience, but many contain alcohol or other ingredients that strip oils from natural hair bristles.
* If you develop an eye infection, it's essential to wash your brushes. You might want to avoid eye makeup altogether until the eye infection is gone.
* If you use loose mineral powders, clean your brushes often so that color applies true.
* Shampoo is essentially detergent, so you can use shampoo to wash your brushes.