old makeupTwo British studies have confirmed that using out-of-date cosmetics can be dangerous – and that while most women are aware of the risks, nobody takes them seriously.

But you really should take a good, long, hard look at what is in your makeup bag as there are some very nasty infections that old make-up can give you.

A survey of 5,000 women by the LIB Group found that a fifth kept their makeup for more than five years, and about 25 per cent admitted to using mascara for up to a year (it should be replaced every three months). Twenty per cent were using cleanser for at least a year – double the recommended time – and lipsticks were being used for three years or more, two years past their throw-by date.

Understandable, perhaps, as beauty products don’t come cheap. But by holding on to them until you have used every last drop you are potentially exposing yourself to some real nasties.

Researchers have found unsafe levels of potentially lethal bacteria in makeup, including the deadly strain of enterococcus faecalis, which causes meningitis and septicaemia.

They also found bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis, acne, gastroenteritis, wound infections, urinary tract and central nervous system infections.

The LIB Group also got women to rummage through their makeup bags to let them know what non-cosmetic products they kept there. Among the weirdest were guitar picks, horse shampoo and a screwdriver. One woman admitted to having cat snacks in her makeup bag – to distract the cat from playing with the makeup brushes when she did her makeup. Obviously!

cat makeup brushes