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We’re all guilty of hanging on to that favourite lipstick or eye-shadow palette for far too long, but did you know that make-up begins to deteriorate as soon as you open the seal? With the arrival of spring, there’s no better time to clear out your make-up bag and give your tools a clean up.



It’s tempting to hoard your favourite make-up, but cosmetics have a limited life span and despite how ‘normal’ they look, all beauty products begin to degrade once they have been opened and exposed to air, skin and dirt. Using old products or those that have passed their sell-by-date can expose the skin to harmful bacteria and a host of infections.

If you’re uncertain about when to clear out your make-up, you’ll find that most products will include a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol. This is a drawing of a jar with a number on it, which indicates the product’s life expectancy in months from the date it is opened.

Regardless of how old a product is, if it is discoloured, changed in consistency or smells different – it’s time to throw it out.

– Mascara has the shortest shelf life and should be discarded after three to six-months. If it changes texture, colour or scent before then, bin it.

– Foundation lasts for up to year as it contain more water, oils and hydrating agents, which shortens its shelf-life.

Lipsticks and lip and eye pencils are safe to use for 24 months.

– Powder blushers and eye-shadows don’t contain water and have the most longevity – these should be replenished every two years, but bin them if lids are lost or if they are broken. Also, look out for discolouration, waxy build up or a change in smell.



Brushes are constantly in contact with our skin and exposed to air making them prone to bacteria build-up. If left uncleaned, these tools can cause skin issues such as breakouts, rashes and even infections.

Be sure to clean your brushes at least once or twice a week to remove bacteria and product build up. This can be done with a specially designed brush cleanser or a mild shampoo.

The best way to clean brushes is to rub the bristles with the cleansing product for a few minutes, before rinsing, dabbing away excess water and leaving them to air dry on a flat surface. 



If you want your make-up to last longer, it’s important to practice good hygiene before you apply it.

Those that use fingers to apply foundation or cream blusher should remember to wash hands with an antibacterial soap before starting.

Don’t forget to keep make-up lids closed to prevent germs sneaking in, and discard products if lids are missing.

It’s also important to frequently wipe down the area where your products are stored and avoid keeping them in the bathroom, which is a breeding round for bacteria.

Sharing make-up should be a complete no-no, but if you have done so, remember to wipe the product or use a sanitising spray before using it on yourself.