Quick ... do you know your expiration dates for makeup? And when's the last time you washed your brushes? You're not alone. A new, unofficial survey of British women found that their cosmetic bag is out of date by -- gasp -- four years!
Females are using makeup well past the use-by date, unaware products can be a magnet for germs, which could cause damage to their health and looks.
On average, women keep mascara for 12 months when it should be thrown away after six and concealer for 24 months when it should be binned after 12. They hold on to their eyeshadow and blusher for 180 months when it should be dumped after 24.
Despite European guidelines stating that brands have to state product shelf lives, 89 percent of women are unaware such information exists, do not understand what the symbol means or are unable to read the often tiny writing.
Make-up, perfume and skin-care products used after the expiration date carry a risk of irritation and infection due to bacteria and air infiltration.
Multi-use products carry a higher risk as they can spread germs from eyes to skin to lips. Bevis Man, of the British Skin Foundation, said: "Err on the side of caution -- if a product looks or smells strange, throw it away."
Sixty percent of women admit they share make-up with friends and family, multiplying the chances of infection.
Sixty-eight pe cent only replace make-up and skin-care when they run out. And 72 percent never wash their make-up sponges or brushes.
Eighty-one percent regularly (at least once a week) go to sleep without removing make-up.
Sara Stern, cosmetics director at Debenhams, said: "We wouldn't hesitate to chuck out mouldy or bacteria-ridden food and the same standards should apply to the lotions and potions we use.
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