When Should You Replace Beauty Products?

When Should You Replace Beauty Products?

Although most of us throw out milk when it’s past its prime and swap an old toothbrush for a fresh one, when it comes to skin care and cosmetics, many of us hold onto products for far too long. We’re here to help you figure out when it’s time to replace your beauty products, since expired products can potentially lose their efficacy or become contaminated. 

Formulating clean beauty products in the lab is what we do, but we also have some tips and tricks on how to keep your routine clean at home. Check out our suggested dos and don’ts, as well as a convenient guide below. 

•DON’T store a product for a significant period of time before opening it. Depending on how and where it’s stored, the clock starts ticking on the shelf life of the product once it is purchased. 

•DON’T keep a product for longer than two years from the purchase date, whether opened or unopened. When a product is opened and air hits the formula, certain ingredients start to oxidize and degrade. 

•DO remember to keep your hands clean before applying anything. Each time you touch your makeup or skin-care products, your hands transfer germs to them—and, subsequently, to your face. 

•DO store products in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Heat and humidity promote the growth of mold and yeast—a major reason the bathroom, though convenient, isn’t the most ideal place to store cosmetics. 

•DO check for expiration dates. Every one of our products notes the number of months that you can expect it to be safe for use. Look for a tiny period-after-opening (PAO) symbol of an open lid pot with a note like “12M,” which means the product’s lifespan is about 12 months from the time you open it if it’s been stored and used properly. 

•DO trust your eyes, nose, and instinct. When in doubt, toss out products if you notice an abnormal change in color, consistency, or smell.  

Skin Care 

WHEN TO REPLACE: six months to one year 

Products that contain water (or aloe) need to contain preservatives to prevent microbial growth. (Some companies claim not to use preservatives, even in water-based products, which is likely untrue.) Even with preservatives and especially without them (many preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, like formaldehyde, are on The Never List™ at Beautycounter), we recommend that you toss skin-care products that are approaching a year on your shelf. The best way to dispose of unused product is to empty it into the garbage (not down the drain) and recycle the container. 

Body Scrub and Body Oil  

WHEN TO REPLACE: one year 

Moisture, humidity, or heat from those long, hot showers can cause your bath and body products to oxidize and degrade over time (even when sealed). We recommend storing body oils like our Luminous Hydration Body Oil in a cool, dry place until use—and whenever you use it, avoid getting water in the containers. Wash your hands before applying products that come in a jar (like our Sugarbuff Body Polish), or even better, use a clean, small spatula or spoon to scoop product out and keep the jar free of contaminants. 


WHEN TO REPLACE: one to two years 

Most sunscreen products will have an expiration date printed on the packaging. Just remember that bringing your sunscreen along to the beach or pool, where it’s exposed to the sun for long periods of time, may shorten its shelf life. Case in point: essentials like our Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist or Countersun Daily Sheer Defense, both of which you may find yourself reapplying while you’re out and about.  

Foundation, Concealer, and Tinted Moisturizer 

WHEN TO REPLACE: six to 18 months 

Toss liquid and cream formulas six months after opening, especially if you use your fingers to apply—like our Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer. Powder formulas last longer, around 18 months. If you notice your liquid foundation or concealer separating or changing color, or your powder formula turning dry and chalky, ditch them.

Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter 

WHEN TO REPLACE: one to two years 

Cream formulas are past their prime after one year, and powder formulas, which contain zero or very little water, expire after two. If you use a brush to apply, make sure you clean it at least once a week. Oils from your face can cling to bristles and transfer to the product—and we don’t want that happening to your Satin Powder Blush or Radiant All Over Bronzer. (See our instructions for cleaning below.) 

Eye Shadow 

WHEN TO REPLACE: one to two years 

Follow the same guidelines for blush and bronzer, but pay close attention to eye shadows since they come into daily contact with a mucous membrane—where there’s more opportunity for bacteria to contaminate the product. If you’ve had an eye infection, like pink eye, germs may have contaminated your products before you even noticed any symptoms. You may want to be extra vigilant to avoid developing another infection. 

Eyeliner and Brow Pencil 

WHEN TO REPLACE: one to two years 

Because you must regularly sharpen wax-based eyeliners and brow pencils—revealing a fresh, new surface every time—they tend to last longer. On the other hand, if you have liquid eyeliners or eye makeup products like our Precision Liquid LinerBrilliant Brow Gel, and Volumizing Mascara, consider tossing after three to four months. Why? They contain water, which makes them more prone to bacteria, and even with preservatives, this is a concern because of the extremely sensitive nature of the eye. 

Lipstick, Lip Balm, and Lip Gloss 

WHEN TO REPLACE: one to two years 

Keep an eye on your lip gloss and any lip product in jars—such as The Jellies Duos or our Lip Conditioner, both of which are exposed to the elements more often than lipstick in a tube. Avoid spreading bacteria by not sharing lipstick with your friends, as tempting as it may be to have them try your favorite shade of Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick


WHEN TO REPLACE: two to five years 

If cleaned regularly and stored properly—propped upright so bristles aren’t flattened or distorted—brushes can last for years. But once you notice bristles fraying or falling out, it’s time to invest in a new set. To wash, pour some Daily Shampoo into the palm of your hand. Dampen the brush and then rub it in the shampoo using circular motions. Rinse and repeat until the brush is clean. Finally, blot with a towel and leave it lying flat and uncovered to dry. 

Makeup Sponges 

WHEN TO REPLACE: three to six months 

The more you clean makeup sponges like The Better Blender, the more life you’ll get out of them—we recommend doing so between each use. That way, it won’t build up old product or collect bacteria that may clog your pores. If your sponge begins to crack, crumble, or feel hard, it’s time for a replacement. To wash, apply a small amount of facial cleanser, add water, gently massage to a lather, rinse with warm water, squeeze out the excess moisture, and air dry until no longer damp. Always store your sponge in a cool, dry place. 

We know, it’s a tough call deciding whether or not to toss your favorite lipstick or go-to eyeliner. But now that you know how to make the most of your beauty products and keep that cabinet as clean as can be, your skin can get the TLC it deserves. Want to add to your clean collection? 

5 Easy Ways to Add Self-Care to Your Daily Routine

5 Easy Ways to Add Self-Care to Your Daily Routine

Here at Beautycounter, we’re serious about self-care. That’s why everything we make meets the highest standards when it comes to safety (but that doesn’t mean we compromise on effectiveness.).  

Beauty shouldn’t just do good—it should feel good, too. And that’s where self-care comes in. Weaving small (but effective) changes into your everyday routine can make a big impact on your body and mind, from head to toe.  

So, show of hands—who could use a little extra “me time”? Don’t worry, Beautycounter’s got your back. We tapped HQ’s OG Queen of Clean and self-care guru, Christy Coleman.  

Not only is she Beautycounter’s Chief Artistic Officer (hello, dream job), but she’s also the ultimate self-care devotee. Christy even credits her everyday beauty rituals for keeping her sane during the recent Texas ice storms (Christy hails from the Lone Star State.) “My One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes were my salvation,” she says. 

Here are Christy’s go-to tips for adding a boost of self-care to your everyday routine—all of which start right inside your own home. 

1. Reach for matcha instead of coffee—and your skin will thank you. 

Curious about matcha? If you’re looking for a pick-me-up without the jittery crash, try this antioxidant-rich coffee alternative.  

“I absolutely love the taste [of matcha]! It has wonderful antioxidant benefits, which help with skin renewal,” says Christy. “I make my own almond milk with the Almond Cow, which I sweeten with dates from Rancho Meladuco [in Coachella Valley, California]. Once you try these dates, you can never buy another brand.” 

2. Pare down your morning routine 

Got 10 minutes until your first Zoom call? Christy recommends these five products for making your morning a breeze: “Counter+ All Bright C SerumSkin Twin Creamy ConcealerColor Define Brow PencilColor Pinch Cream Blusher in Hibiscus, and Beyond Gloss in Clove. Ready, set, go!” 

3. Create the ultimate bath ritual.  

Even if it’s just once a week, indulge in a luxe bath or shower with all your favorite Beautycounter products. Here’s Christy’s take: 

“I start by filling the tub and adding a few pumps of the Luminous Hydration Body Oil directly into the water,” she says. “While the tub is filling with water, I exfoliate with the Sugarbuff Body Polish. I then slip into the tub and try to relax! I use this time to listen to a podcast or a bedtime story on the Calm app. I love Matthew McConaughey reading ‘Wonder,’ not just for his voice but also because I absolutely love the story. After I get out, I immediately apply the Luminous Hydration Body Oil to damp skin, then follow with the Melting Body Balm.” 

4. Learn to press pause. 

Everyone has those moments throughout the day where it feels like everything’s happening at once. Creating a mantra, meditating, or simply just giving yourself a minute can surprisingly work wonders.  

“I have a tendency to ‘never stop,’ so I am in a constant battle with myself to slow down,” she says. “I have found that going back to my breath is very helpful—I like to visualize taking a step back, and creating a ‘pause’ for myself. I do this about 10 times throughout the day. It allows me to catch my breath, literally.” 

5. Keep a clean house. 

Keeping potentially harmful ingredients away from your skin and body is a great start, but Christy takes it one step further in her home.  

“I have two Molekules: An Air Mini for my bedroom and the Air Pro for the house,” she says. “I also use lots of Dr Schulze Air Detox. I have used this product for about 15 years, and I literally can’t live without it. I spray my house, pillows, mattresses, and sometimes the bottom of my shoes!” 

Don’t have an air purifier at home? Try plants! Plants are an effective (and beautiful) way to keep your home clean, happy, and healthy (and here are some more ideas). Houseplants scrub the air of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These hazardous compounds, like formaldehyde and benzene, are known to be potentially cancerous.  

Fun fact: In 1989, NASA conducted a study and found that indoor plants like ficus, peace lilies, and mother-in-law’s tongues, when placed in the same environment as VOCs, can reduce them by as much as 70%. 

With Christy’s simple approach to self-care, taking care of your body and mind doesn’t have to be just another chore—we already know how long your to-do list is. A dash of daily health and wellness adds up quick. So, go ahead and treat yourself! And make sure to tag @beautycounter to show off your self-care time. You deserve it!