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Monday Mom challenge: Refresh that makeup bag

Moms should refresh their makeup bags for style, self-confidence and safety. Most days I’m lucky if I have time to run a brush through my hair before I leave the house. But that fresh out of the shower, barely time for moisturizer look belies the truth. I really like make up, and I have (and have had) a lot of fun with it. My everyday natural look is less about a life philosophy than a time reality; I just don’t have time most days.

Woman Applying Makeup


When I do have time, I keep it simple for the most part. Concealer, lightly tinted sun screen, mascara, lip gloss. That amounts to three to five minutes, maximum. I might add some eye brow pencil and a smudge of eyeliner if there’s something special about the day. That’s pretty much it. This also means that on those infrequent occasions I do open the make up bag, I need to think about the relative freshness of my makeup, and not just in terms of this season’s hot lip shade.

Refresh for safety

Like just about every product, makeup is susceptible to bacteria, and once unsealed, it has a shortening shelf-life. Generally speaking, liquid products should be replaced every six months and powder/dry products should be replaced about every year. The bacteria build up issue is of particular concern for makeup used around the eye.


Eye makeup needs to be replaced every three to six months (mascara, liquid liner), or at the most, every year (eye pencils, eye shadow), else bacterial buildup could pose a threat to your eye health. Any separate brushes or applicators should be cleaned regularly as well, and also replaced at regular intervals.


Other loose powders, such as blush or finishing powder should be replaced about every year. Lipstick can last two years, but loose lip glosses and such have a shorter shelf life.

Refresh for fashion

Just like clothing styles change every year and with the seasons, so do makeup styles. One year may be all about eyes while another is all about deep red lips; summer might be all about golden highlights while winter focuses on filled in brows. Since deep burgundy lips can look a little heavy with a frilly pink sundress at the beach, time to glance at the fashion magazines while you are in line at the checkout and make note of current trends.

Refresh inexpensively

If you use makeup infrequently like me, refreshing means you are replacing before using up. That can sound pricey – and it can be if you only use high-end brands. Luckily for all of us, there are great inexpensive brands. You can get just as many great basic products at the big box store as you can at the nice smelling counter in the high-end department store (though getting pampered there *is* lovely). One mascara that is a perennial favorite of the fashion magazines is a drug-store brand, and that’s reason enough for me to use it. That it’s inexpensive is a bonus.


Refreshing my makeup each season usually amounts to about $20. Truly! I guess that’s part of the benefit of using so few products. On safety alone, I’m willing to do that, and I’d do it even if it was a little more. The fun of a new color and having decent products available to me when I do find that extra 3-5 minutes makes it a terrific value – not to mention another fun way to perk up my days and look forward to the coming season.

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