ESC, Shelf Life Makeup

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Be honest: When's the last time you cleaned out your makeup bag?

Along with regularly washing your brushes, a cardinal rule of beauty hygiene includes a thorough examination of your makeup products. Sure, many items explicitly state expiration dates, but some don't. "While some dates are more like guidelines…kind of like with eggs," said celeb makeup artist Julianne Kaye.

To clarify any confusion, we've compiled general time frames of when you should chuck out your favorite beauty products. Because that lipstick circa 2010 is neither pretty nor hygienic at this point.

As time goes on, formula ingredients separate, which will make the product look different every time you use it. If it smells weird or looks slightly off, it's time to throw it away, advised Julianne. "If your foundation doesn't wear well, as in it's oxidizing on your face, or changing colors, or doesn't act like it used to, it's expired," advised the product pro.

ESC, Shelf Life Makeup

George Pimentel/WireImage

"Mascara is the first thing you should toss," said Julianne. "Some say throw it away after three months, but I always say six weeks. Every time you pump your mascara, you're pumping bacteria into it, which cause a stye or infection." Liners, too, will dry out around the same time. On the hand, shadows have much longer shelf lives and can last for an inordinate amount of time when made with quality ingredients (read: no broken palette crumbles).

ESC, Shelf Life Makeup

George Pimentel/WireImage

"After two years, lipsticks can go rancid," warned Julianne. If it smells or there is some kind of discoloration, it's probably not a safe bet. And like eyeliners, lip pencils will also eventually dry out, leaving them ineffective. When in doubt, it's better to be safe than sorry and toss it. 

ESC, Shelf Life Makeup

George Pimentel/WireImage

Luckily, skin-care products almost always come with an expiration date. Using these products past this point probably won't hurt you, but those active ingredients may not benefit you as much as it used to either. "When creams or liquids expire, they just aren't active as they used to be," noted the expert. "I wouldn't go back to a 4-year-old cream and expect it to perform." Hey, it's another excuse to go to Sephora.

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