Maybe it’s your favourite shade of shimmering eyeshadow or a killer red lipstick you only use on special occasions. We all have at least one beauty product that, for whatever reason, we’ve held onto since the dawn of time.

What's in your make-up bag
Thinkstock

You probably know how to be skeptical of a discoloured foundation or a gluggy tube of mascara, but do you really know the shelf life of your cosmetics?

If it’s dried up, smells strange or generally looks off, it’s possible all kinds of bacteria have moved in and multiplied. Like food, make-up has an expiry date. Use this handy timeline to bring your beauty bag back from the brink.

If the thought of dumping your beloved mascara every three months sounds a little excessive, you’re clearly not alone. Ninety-two per cent of women surveyed by the College of Optometrists in London said they kept their mascaras longer than six months.

TOSS AFTER 3 MONTHS

• Mascara
• Liquid eyeliner

TOSS AFTER 6 MONTHS

• Foundation
• Facial cleansers
• Moisturisers

TOSS AFTER 12 MONTHS

• Pressed powders and shadows
• Sunscreens
• Eye and lip pencils
• Lipsticks and glosses (or anytime you develop a cold sore)

TOSS AFTER 2 YEARS

• Nail polish
• Bronzer
• Fragrances

Get more beauty tips, find out how to make natural exfoliator or follow us on Twiter for the latest beauty news.