To maintain that healthy facial glow, here are some helpful facts about the shelf life for your cosmetic products.

Mascara should be replaced every three months, as its liquid consistency and exposure to air every time it is opened make it more vulnerable to bacteria. Its proximity to your eye area can lead to possible infections. If you end up with conjunctivitis, commonly called “pink eye” or any other eye infections, it’s best to throw your mascara away immediately! Also, be cautious when sharing your mascara with others; it is not recommended.

Liquid eyeliners present the same concerns as mascaras, so they should be replaced every six months. Pencil eyeliners, however, can last up two years. Sharpen your pencil with each use to keep it fresh and easy to use/apply. Regularly cleaning your sharpener with a discarded toothbrush is a good idea, as well.

Most foundations should last up to one year; however, you should throw away liquid foundations if you notice any change in smell, texture or color. If you’re prone to acne, consider replacing your foundation every six months and be sure to wash hands, sponges and brushes much more often.

Because of the liquid consistency of lip-gloss, it will need to be replaced more often than an actual lipstick; every 12 months is recommended. The longevity of concealers depends upon consistency. Liquid concealer should be tossed after one year; however, powder concealer can last up to two years. Non-liquid lipsticks can last up to two years, as well.

If you notice a change in color in your nail polish or even a bad smell, it’s time to throw your polish away. Typically, it should last you up to two years. Some brands have expiration dates on the back of the bottle. When making a purchase, check for expiration dates before your purchase to make sure it’s not old inventory! If your products do not have expiration dates, use a sharpie to note date of purchase as a freshness guide.

Powder, blush, bronzer or eyeshadow can last for two years, with proper care. And don’t forget to clean your brushes often!

Heat destroys the shelf life of your favorite products, so a trick of the trade for desert dwellers is to find a handy little make-up tote and refrigerate your make-up. The bonus of refrigeration is the refreshing coolness during application!

Michele McDonough is a strategic consultant and executive recruiter in the field of health and beauty. She is also co-founder of Women’s Power Circle and can be reached at [email protected].

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