Clean sweep

Powdering your décolletage is of course optional.

Powdering your décolletage is of course optional. Photo: Getty Images

Applying out-of-date make-up can cause skin irritation and breakouts. Here are some simple tips to help you sort out your beauty stash.

Eye make-up
The good news for smoky-eye lovers is that eye shadow is in it for the long haul, lasting anywhere up to two years. The same goes for eye, lip and brow pencils, as long as you sharpen the tips regularly. The one product you do need to watch is mascara. Due to the sensitivity of the eye area and the drying nature of the product, most wands have an expiry date of between two and six months.

The base
Most foundation and concealer products have a recommended use-by date of 12 months. Powder-based products such as blush and bronzer can last several years, as long as the brush you use is washed regularly.

Lip service
Lipstick and glosses should last between 12 and 18 months. The packaging also makes a difference to a product's longevity: jars and tins are a petri dish for germs, so it's best to stick with tube formulas.


Hot tip
If you look at the label of many products, you'll notice a symbol of an open jar with a number circled on the inside. The figure stands for the recommended number of months that the product is expected to keep after opening.

The bottom line
As soon as you detect any change in the scent or consistency of a product, that's your cue to bin it.



I love wearing heavy eyeliner, but what's the trick to keeping the lines in place?

Don't wear it on the water-line. Most women apply eye pencil directly along the inner rim of the eye, which causes moisture to dilute the product. Try swapping your eye pencil for a gel formula that you can dot between the roots of the upper lashes for day-to-night definition. My vote goes to the waterproof L'Oréal Paris Superliner Gel Liner, $25. Or, if you don't have a gel liner handy, set your pencil line by tracing over it with a wet eyeliner brush dipped in black eyeshadow.

Questions to; Twitter @Eliza_H_Ashe.