MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — How old is your mascara? Eyeliner? Lipstick? If you don’t wear them every day, it could be time to throw them out.

So, how often should we replace our makeup? Good Question.

“I do recommend replacing your makeup every six to 12 months,” says Dr. Liz Farhat, a dermatologist with Allina Health. “The reason is there is bacteria that can grow in your makeup.”

Makeup has preservatives that prevent bacteria from growing, but Dr. Farhat says those preservatives can often wear off after six months.

The shelf life for eye makeup, especially mascara, is even shorter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends replacing that every two to four months to avoid eye infections.

Mascara applicators are exposed to bacteria and fungi at every use.

The FDA considers determining a product’s shelf life the manufacturer’s responsibility. It doesn’t require expiration dates on cosmetics, but many makeup manufacturers put the shelf life on the packaging.

“A lot of the products have that listed on the back if you look,” says Corrie Dubay, owner of Midwest Makeup Supply. “It’s just a little container with a lid.”

In studies, Dr. Farhat says makeup products have been found to have several kinds of bacteria, including e. Coli, primarily because women often store makeup in the bathroom.

As for makeup safety tips, the FDA says don’t leave it in heat, avoid testers at stores and consider buying a smaller amount so there isn’t as much to later throw away.

Heather Brown