Ever wondered why your favourite mascara goes flaky after a few months? Or why your lipstick has acquired an odd fragrance you’re sure wasn’t there last week? It’s not just the food in your fridge that has an expiry date – your make up does too, and it’s worth sticking to. ‘Why?!’ we hear you cry, as you clutch furiously onto that long-forgotten blush palette you’ve not used in two years. 

Sadly, harmful toxins and bacteria can build up on old products which can lead to a sling of skin problems, from breakouts to infections. Grab your make up bags/boxes/ten-foot wardrobes and join us for a good ol' spring clean… Hey, that means we have more room for new products, right? *wink wink*

Mascara: 3-6 months

Mascaras are the fresh milk of the make up world – they go off faster than you’d expect, changing texture and smelling funky when it’s their time for the bin. This is due to unwanted bacteria (urgh), which takes pleasure in contaminating wet, liquidous environments (double urgh). ‘Cos no one wants a sty or eye infection – no matter how great our mascara obsessions – they should be tossed after three months of daily use, or up to six months of occasional dabbling. Top tip: Avoid pumping the wand as this pushes air and bacteria into the tube, which will dry it out faster and cause flakiness.

Replace it with: {IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara} is enhanced with lash-lifting polymers, volumising collagen, strengthening biotin, proteins and peptides to give your lashes super volume, length and elastic stretch – all with just one coat!

Eye liner: 3 months-1 year

Got a treasure trove of liners you’ve hoarded over the months, years or – gulp – decades? Line ‘em up for the trash. Depending on the formula, eye liners can last from as little as three months to a whole year! How does yours fit in? If it’s a liquid, it undergoes the same bacteria-harbouring process as your trusty mascara and is ready for burial after three to six months. Gels shouldn’t be kept longer than this either – all that double dipping with the applicator brush can lead to bacteria build up. If you’re a pencil fiend however, you’re in luck! Given that you sharpen it regularly, they should last for up to a year as any accumulated bacteria is removed and you get a precise tip for the wing of dreams – we kohl-dn’t believe it either!

Replace it with: {Benefit Roller Liner} delivers a quick-drying, magnificently matte, water-resistant finish that glides on effortlessly with a flexible felt tip point – so you won’t have to worry about application issues, no matter how unpractised your hand!

Foundation and concealer: 12-18 months

Let’s go back to BASE-ics… Our BFFs (Base Friends Forever) can hide a multitude of sins and imperfections – late night dark circles, cocktail-induced blemishes, sunbathed-for-too-long dark spots – but when their time is up they transform into an unforgiving frenemy. While many of us make up mavens blast through our foundations and concealers long before they turn on us, if they are used post-expiry they can encourage breakouts, irritation and *deep breath* an uneven, streaky finish. A water-based formula will last around 12 months, while an oil-based product should keep for up to 18 months – you’ll know it’s time to say buh-bye when it starts to separate, becomes lumpy or exudes a smell.

Replace them with: {Milk Blur Liquid Matte Foundation} stars clever powder-filled microspheres which blur and 'fill in' fine lines, imperfections and pores for a velvety, 'soft focus' finish, while a lightweight yet full coverage pigment ensures your complexion looks flawless without feeling smothered. Blemish-prone skin? {IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout} is like your best ever concealer paired with a totally trustworthy spot treatment, reducing blemishes while camouflaging them!

Powders: 2 years

Repeat after us: never leave a powder without a lid. Doing so verges on criminal (to us, at least) as it allows for bacteria growth and shortens what could have been a wonderfully long age. How long? Well, if sealed properly these clever gems have a shelf life of up to two years! This applies to bronzers, blushers, highlighters, setting powders, eye shadows – the whole shebang, just look out for discolouration, waxiness or odd smells which all signal it’s ready for the bin.

Replace it with: Anastasia Beverly Hills {Sun Dipped Glow Kit} is a to-die-for quartet containing finely-milled illuminating powders that can be built from a subtle hint of highlight or dramatic, after-hours luminosity – they even double as shimmering eye shadows! Or try one of Huda's phenomenal 'Obsessions' palettes - the {Coral} incarnation is bang on the money for 2019 ('Living Coral' is the Pantone hue du jour).

 Lipstick, lipliner and gloss: 12-18 months

That ‘special occasion’ lipstick you’ve had stashed in the bottom of your handbag since the beginning of time (or thereabouts)? We hate to break the news, but chances are it’s ready for the bin. Get out the balloons – lipsticks, liners and glosses should live to see their first birthday with a life span of around 12-18 months (queue: party popper). Signs that it’s time for the chopper include a dry or goopy texture transformation, discolouration or changes in smell. To keep them fresh for as long as possible, store them in a cool place, use a lip brush and keep the caps firmly on – you can even clean bullet lippies with a makeup wipe occasionally to remove bacteria growth.

Replace it with: BECCA {Ultimate Lipstick Love} comes in a whopping 30 shades, stays put for up to eight hours and hydrates your lips with hyaluronic acid while it grants full impact, silky satin colour.

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