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Keeping and using makeup beyond its expiry date is not only gross but it’s potentially dangerous. No matter how clean you may be, natural bacteria from your skin makes its way into your eyeshadow, mascara and foundation, which can mean that you’re reapplying that bacteria (after it has had a chance to multiply in your makeup) back onto your skin. Gross. This can lead to rashes and infections, which can be particularly dangerous for your eyes. The moral of the story: don’t hold on to old makeup, no matter how much you love it.

Mascara and liquid eyeliner

Mascara has the shortest lifespan of all makeup because it not only dries out, meaning that you probably don’t want to wear it after three months anyway, but also because it’s applied to your eyelashes and very close to your eyes.

How long you can keep it: Even if your mascara or eyeliner smells just fine, you should get a new tube every three to four months.

Signs it’s no good: If your mascara smells less than fresh, toss it. It will have a vaguely cosmetic scent and that’s okay but if it has a strong alcohol scent or just smells rancid, it’s no good.

Lipstick

If you’re a lipstick lover, you’re in luck because lipstick lasts a long time (unless, of course, you apply it multiple times a day).

How long you can keep it: Lipstick, if it smells and looks just fine, can last up to two years.

Signs it’s no good: If it looks and feels dry or has just changed in texture. If it smells waxy or just not right, throw it out.

Liquid Foundation

If possible, buy foundation in packages with very small openings. The less you touch the actual product, the better. Bottles with wide mouths allow you to touch the inside of the bottle where the unused foundation is, possibly spreading bacteria and shortening the life of your makeup.

How long you can keep it: Up to two years.

Signs it’s no good: If the colour changes, the formula separates or it has a funky odour, it’s time to buy a new bottle.

Blush, eyeshadow and other face powders

If you keep your makeup brushes clean (wash them with a gentle shampoo weekly, then lay flat to dry), your pressed powder products will stay bacteria-free.

How long you can keep it: Up to two years.

Signs it’s no good: The powder has gone dry and flaky, it has a greyish film over the top or it smells.

Nail polish

You might think that nail polish lasts forever and that even, thick, separating polish can be fixed with a little nail polish remover but that’s not the case. If you want to extend the life of a favourite polish, invest in nail polish thinner, which is different from remover. Remover will only further deteriorate your polish since that’s what it’s meant to do.

How long you can keep it: Up to two years.

Signs it’s no good: The polish has changed in texture, colour or separates and even shaking it won’t fix the problem.

Pencil eyeliner and lipliner

Your liners generally go near your eyes or mouth so again, you should be careful about keeping products that don’t seem quite right. The beauty about pencils is that they can be sharpened and refreshed regularly.

How long you can keep it: Up to three years.

Signs it’s no good: If the texture or scent changes or you see a white dot on the end that doesn’t go away when you sharpen the pencil.

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