What You Really Need to Know About Makeup Expiration Dates

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We know you don’t want to throw away your favorite blush or lipstick, but abiding by makeup expiration dates is actually incredibly important. Why? Cosmetics trap bacteria, which means replacing them regularly is necessary to avoid skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes. (And it's not just your makeup formulas—check out what happened when we tested bacteria levels on makeup brushes.)

But here's a caveat: Unlike the contents of your fridge, the use-by date on your makeup products relies on the first day you use them, not the purchase date. So how do you know when to toss that foundation or mascara? A rule of thumb: The more moisture the product has—or the closer it comes to your eyes—the shorter its life span. Separation or changes in texture or smell are dead giveaways the product has gone bad.

While it's crucial to look out for those telltale signs, it's still helpful to get a general idea of how long each product is meant to last. Click through our slideshow for exactly how long you can use your favorite products without worry.

Next up: six makeup pairings Byrdie editors think were secretly meant for each other.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.