When you should throw away your makeup

If you still have some products in your beauty cabinet that date back to your high school years, you may be surprised to hear that cosmetics actually have expiration dates.

Not only will expired beauty products be less effective, but they can potentially lead to irritation and infection if contaminated with bacteria, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Shop TODAY.

While you can usually find the expiration dates marked somewhere on the container, even if you can’t, there are a few rules of thumb that experts recommend following for when you should be replacing your makeup.

According to Zeichner, things that come into direct contact with your skin, like mascara or eyeliner need to be replaced more often than other products. It’s recommended that you replace mascara every three months, lipsticks every year and eyeliner every three to six months (though pencils last longer than liquids). Primers and foundations usually last about two years, Zeichner said, and powered products like blush and eye shadow are typically the same.

As for your skin care products, lotions and creams in pump bottles can last more than a year, while those that you scoop out with your fingers typically last six to nine months, since bacteria is more likely to grow there.

Dirty application tools can also cause similar issues, so while you should be washing your sponges and brushes weekly, it’s also a good practice to replace them every few months, said Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey.

If you read all that and realized that it’s way past time to replace the items in your beauty cabinet, we rounded up some bestselling options to swap in, from foundations to serums. Click on a specific category below or keep reading to see all of our picks.

Best foundations and concealers

Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Concealer Makeup

Cover blemishes, redness and dark spots with this top-rated concealer. The oil-free formula blends in seamlessly and won’t clog your pores. The brand recommends ordering one that’s one to two shades lighter than your foundation.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Flawless Brightening Concealer

This affordable concealer went viral on TikTok after one woman posted a video using the product and comparing it to a popular, more expensive option. When applied to under eyes or other problem areas, it provides an instant boost of brightness. It has a brush tip for easy application and features skin-friendly ingredients, like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Available in 50 shades, this medium-coverage foundation provides a matte and shine-free finish. It’s resistant to sweat and humidity and won’t cause breakouts after all-day wear.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

Whether you’re getting ready for a big Zoom meeting or a night out, this foundation will leave your skin looking flawless. Unlike other full-coverage formulas, this one feels completely weightless so you can wear it all day long. And it’s long-lasting so it will still look good at the end of the day, too.

Best lipsticks and gloss

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick

You can choose between 20 shades of this long-lasting lip color. Formulated with shea butter, aloe and vitamin E it hydrates while giving your lips a bold matte finish that won’t smudge, even when you’re wearing a mask.

Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

From natural nudes to bold reds, this bestselling lipstick comes in colors to match all of your moods. It has more than 29,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and reviewers say that they love how long it lasts and the colors (with many people saying they own multiple).

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

Perfect your pout with this popular option from Clarins. It’s made with shea butter and mango extracts to soften and smooth your lips, all while delivering the perfect glossy shine. As if you need any more convincing to add this one to your cart, it’s a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Best eye makeup

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

A TODAY shopper favorite and a consistent bestseller on Amazon, this mascara is deserving of its royal title. It’s not just because it’s super affordable, although that definitely helps. It has more than 99,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, with shoppers raving about how long and voluminous their lashes look after application.

Maybelline Sky High Waterproof Mascara

Plenty of our current favorite beauty products were found on TikTok, including this bestselling mascara. The “skyhighmascara” hashtag has more than 190 million views on the platform. One user called it her “new favorite mascara” while another said, “I have not been this excited about a mascara in a long time.”

Revlon ColorStay Pencil Eyeliner

Master your cat-eye with this waterproof eyeliner, which lasts for up to 24 hours. It has a built-in sharpener which will help to ensure that you always get crisp, smooth lines and it’s available in eight shades including fun colors like Teal and Jade as well as classic blacks and browns.

Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette

Thanks to frequent mask-wearing, your eye look is now one of the most important steps in your makeup routine. This palette includes warm and cool neutrals that can be worn every day. The clay-infused formula goes on like a cream and will never look chalky or patchy.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette

When you want a bolder look, reach for this palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills. It features 14 shades, from the shimmering Primavera to the bright pink Love Letter, that will take you from day to night.

Best makeup applicators

Bestope 16-Piece Makeup Brush Set

From an angled brush to a lash and eyebrow comb, this 16-piece set contains just about every beauty brush you could possibly need. The brushes are made with a soft, synthetic fiber for a smooth application. Just don’t forget to give them a good clean every week.

Sigma Most-Wanted Brush Set

Sigma is known for making really good brushes, and this set combines the best of the best. It features five of the brand’s top sellers: the blending, pencil, tapered blending, tapered highlighter and flat kabuki brushes. Reviewers say that the set has everything you need for your everyday look and that the brushes hold their shape, even after multiple washes.

Aesthetica Cosmetics Beauty Sponge Blender

This makeup artist-approved tool can be used to blend foundation and concealers, apply powders and more. It can be used wet or dry and the precision tip allows you to target specific problem areas, while the rounded side is great for all-over blending.

Best serums and moisturizers

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

We previously spoke to three dermatologists who all said that they use this product in their daily routines, so you know it has to be good. The formula is great for anyone with sensitive skin, as well as those who deal with dryness. It contains a high concentration of Ceramide 3, niacinamide and glycerin to hydrate and restore the skin’s moisture barrier.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Give your skin an intense dose of moisture while you sleep with this Skin Renewing Night Cream. Suitable for all skin types, the formula features a peptide complex to help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles as well as hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin, so you’ll wake feeling renewed and refreshed.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Daily Face Moisturizer

With an impressive average 4.6-star rating from more than 42,000 reviews this bestselling moisturizer is no joke. Users can’t get enough of the ultra-hydrating gel formula. “This is the moisturizer I have been waiting for my whole life,” wrote one verified reviewer who said the non-greasy formula “feels incredible” on her skin.

L’Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Derm Intensives Face Serum

At one point, one bottle of this serum was sold every 60 seconds. Made with 1.5 percent pure hyaluronic acid, the hydrating serum absorbs quickly to visibly plump skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

One Shop TODAY writer who put this bestselling serum to the test said she saw a noticeable change in the brightness of her skin in less than a week. Along with its brightening abilities, the serum, which blends vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and jojoba oil is said to help improve signs of aging and prevent future damage.

For more stories like this, check out:

To discover more deals, shopping tips and budget-friendly product recommendations, download the new TODAY app and subscribe to our Stuff We Love newsletter!