How Long Are You Holding On To Cosmetics?

Although expiration dates are becoming more common on labels, most beauty products do not display a clear indication of when it's time to toss. This can lead many of us to cluelessly cling to and use makeup, skin and body products far longer than we should.

It may seem penny-wise to get every last drop out of a bottle or jar, but after a while, you may not be getting your money's worth. With time, even products with preservatives can become essentially ineffective, leaving you with useless goo or impotent powder. The fewer the preservatives and poorer the storage, the faster the benefits disappear.

Even more disconcerting is the eventual decrease in safety. From face cream to mascara, body lotion to shampoo-beauty products can evolve into breeding grounds for bacteria that can lead to skin and eye infections.

Despite how commonsensical it may seem to discard these products after a few months, a new survey by Mintel shows that over a quarter of British women hold onto cosmetics for years, even when they start to smell strange and change color.

To get the most out of your beauty products, pay close attention to any provided expiration date, use-by date or period-after-opening date. If none of these are provided, stay aware of even minor changes in texture, color and scent, treating personal-care products like you would food: when in doubt, throw it out.