For most of us beauty hoarders out there, our makeup drawer could easily be compared to a black hole – many items will enter but few will make it out. In our defense, it’s hard to let go of that beloved bronzer or perfect pink lip shade. But like they say, all good things must come to an end. Since companies aren’t required to put an expiration date on cosmetic products, it can be a challenge to know when it is time to let go. You’ve probably noticed some products will have a jar symbol with a number next to it that tells you how many months you have until it should no longer be used. The problem there is you have to know when you actually purchased the item, which is an issue if you have that black hole style makeup drawer I mentioned. Besides the obvious fact that you’re probably never going to use that blue eyeshadow or purple lip liner sharpened down to a nub hiding in the back of the drawer, there are a number of other reasons you shouldn’t let your makeup linger too long. An expired formula is a hot spot for bacteria, meaning old cosmetics create a serious risk for irritation and infection. Violet Grey spoke with three beauty industry experts to break down the rules of makeup maintenance and why it’s important to keep up with. Their general rule of thumb is, “If you can’t remember when you bought or first opened something, it’s time to toss it.” Which tells me I have some serious spring cleaning to do. Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown is as trusted a source as any, so her take on shelf life is another one I’ll gladly listen to. She breaks it down by numbers here. In addition to the expert opinions, there’s also a common sense factor when it comes to makeup shelf life. If the consistency just doesn’t seem right, it’s time to bid adieu. It can be a hard breakup at the time, but you’re better off in the long run. Go with the “out with old, in with the new” mantra during your spring cleaning and you’ll save yourself from any potential harm – plus you’ll have plenty of room for the latest Sephora splurges you’ve been eying.