I’ll be the first to admit- I used to keep my cosmetics way too long. I never really used them, so it seemed wasteful to throw them out after six months. I figured I would be the exception. Luckily, I never got a serious infection or suffered any consequences. As a new mom with a new appreciation for product safety, I’ve changed my tune.

Here are some tips from everydayhealth.com for eye makeup:

  • Don’t hold onto old makeup — throw it away after a few months.
  • Don’t use mascara that’s dried out — and never attempt to moisten it with your saliva or water. It’s best to replace mascara every two to four months, or sooner if it’s dried. A tip: Keep a permanent marker in your make-up kit, and mark the date you open a new tube of mascara, so you won’t use it past its shelf-life.
  • Keep eye cosmetics cool — always at 85° F or below (that means don’t keep them in your car or in a steamy bathroom).
  • Don’t mix and match cosmetics. Use what’s intended for your eyes on your eyes only — don’t use the same pencil for both lips and eyes, as that can introduce bacteria.
  • Avoid kohl eyeliners — they may contain dangerous levels of lead. And avoid permanent coloring and dyes for eyelashes, as they can cause irreversible eye damage if not used correctly.
  • Never share your cosmetics with a friend. Her bacteria will contaminate your eye cosmetics, and vice versa.

Some application tips:

  • Never put your eye cosmetics on while you’re driving or riding in a car. Your mascara wand can all too easily scratch your cornea — not to mention the risks of inattentive driving. You may also want to avoid applying eye makeup on buses or subways – sudden stops can also increase the risk that you’ll scratch your eye.
  • Skip eye cosmetics when you’ve got an irritated or infected eye — and if you think that a particular cosmetic is irritating your eyes, stop using it right away.
  • Keep eye cosmetics outside of your eye — don’t use eyeliner on the inner eyelids, where makeup can get inside your eye.
  • Always wash your hands before you dig into your makeup bag and start applying eye cosmetics.
  • Avoid eye cosmetics that are iridescent, glittery, or shiny, as they may contain ingredients that could scratch or irritate the eye.
  • Make sure that all eye cosmetic applicators are clean before you use them — it’s a good idea to wash or replace all brushes and sponges frequently.

Sophie Uliano adds these tips:

  • If you use makeup sponges, wash thoroughly with soap and hot water after each use.
  • If you use a foundation brush, wash it every week with a mild dish washing detergent. I recommend using a conditioner to keep bristles soft. Shake it well and then leave to air-dry. I wash all my makeup brushes in the same way, once a month.
  • Any makeup that touches your actual eye can easily pick up bacteria. That’s why you need to be really careful with mascara and eye pencils. Replace your mascara every 3 months and never share either of these items with friends. Always throw away mascara and pencils after an eye infection.
  • Dip your eye lash curler in 1/2 a glass of hydrogen peroxide once a week. Leave it to soak for about 10 minutes and dry/wipe with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Dip a clean rag or cloth in a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide, and wipe out your cosmetic bag once per month.
  • Lipsticks and lip glosses should be replaced every 6 months. Always replace the cap tightly as leaving the lid off can encourage bacterial growth. Never share these items as viruses can be easily spread this way.
  • Liquid Foundations should be tossed after 6 months regardless of whether they are oil or water-based. Mineral powder foundations can last for up to 2 years.
  • Creme blushes and bronzers should also be tossed after 6 months.
  • Powder eye shadows can last for up to 2 years.

These tips apply to all types of makeup- green, conventional, home made- all.

These are good reasons to choose fewer, high quality products you really love. By having one or two lipsticks that you love and using them for 6 months, they’ll either be used up in 6 months, or less painful to dispose of because they’re almost gone. I love my  Beautycounter makeup because the choices are great, but not so overwhelming that I feel paralyzed with choices.

Our makeup should be safe, but we need to follow it with safe practices.