Today we’re bringing you a post by guest blogger Audrey Cupo, an organization expert! Though we don’t usually think of our make-up when we think of organizing, a quick look in the cosmetics bag will confirm the need to do some cleansing and purging. Read Audrey’s tips below and let us know what you think!

By: Guest Blogger Audrey Cupo

The winter social season is in full swing. You want to look your best and you want to make sure that the beauty products you are applying have not expired. The last thing you want during this busy season is a reaction to a bad/expired product.

Do a quick check in your bathroom and you’ll likely find face cream you never use, the remnants of your favorite powder blush and that tube of lip stick you need to dig out with a lip brush to get anything out of.

Products which are unused or down to the last drop are just taking up shelf space and cluttering your make-up bag. The space could be used for the fresh products you want to keep and have readily available.

Unopened products can remain stable for a couple of years at room temperature. However, once you bring home a product and open it, the clock starts running. Every time you touch the product, you transfer germs to your face. Heat and humidity play a roll in promoting the growth of mold and yeast as well.

Believe it or not, bathrooms are not the ideal spot to store cosmetics, although they tend to be the most convenient. A cool, dry linen closet is best.

Since labeling regulations in the United States do not require an expiration date on most cosmetics, here are some quick tips for deciding what to keep and what to toss:

Face Makeup – six months for liquids; two years for powders.

Mascara – three months.

Eyeliner and Eye Shadow – three months for liquid eyeliners; six months for cream eye shadows; two years for pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows.

Lipstick and Lipliner – two years for lipstick and gloss; two years or more for lipliner.

Nail Polish – one to two years depending on when the consistency turns gooey or stringy. Avoid storing them in the bathroom as they are especially sensitive to temperature extremes.

Skin care products include moisturizers, eye creams, cleansers, serums, peels, etc. Acne creams and other over-the-counter products that contain drugs are FDA regulated and usually carry expiration dates. However, cosmeceuticals (products claiming to have anti-aging and skin-changing benefits) are not regulated. Once opened, they should not be kept longer than 6 months. If in a pump bottle, they can last a year.

Sun Screen – six months.

Hair Products – one year.

Fragrance – two years or more. You will know because it tends to turn dark and has a stronger smell than when it’s fresh.

In summary, you should toss your mascara and liquid liner every season, toss your skin-care regimen, sun screens and liquid foundations every six months, toss your hair products (except hair spray) once a year and toss your powder-based cosmetic (pressed powder and shadows), lipsticks and nail polishes every two years.

Your best bet is to date your products with a small sticker when you purchase and open them so you will not have to guess as to when they were purchased, guaranteeing they will always be safe to use.

Enjoy this wonderful winter season!


Audrey Cupo is a full-time Professional Organizer and sole proprietor of A BETTER SPACE based in Bucks County, PA. She specializes in residential organizing and focuses her business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs get organized with her in-home services and her own U Can Do It product line. Audrey enjoys writing and public speaking on the topic of residential organizing. As of January 2012, Audrey is also an independent consultant for Clever Container, an organizing product company. Get your FREE “U Can Do It Room By Room Organizing Checklist” by visiting