If you use cosmetics, then you’ve undoubtedly violated some rules of cosmetic care. This is understandable, as most of us never get a copy of “the rules,” so to speak. Usually it takes an incidence or two, eg, an eye infection from using old mascara, to begin to take notice of caring for our cosmetics.

Following are some cosmetic care rules that can keep you looking beautiful – and safe.

Tighten All Opening Mechanisms: This simple cosmetic care rule not only makes your cosmetics last longer, it keeps them safe for use as well. Tighten all product lids. This keeps air and bacteria from getting into your products.

This is particularly true for those products that go on your face. For example, mascara left loosely closed can dry out and/or become infected with bacteria. When used, this can cause serious eye infections. So, never leave your cosmetics open. Close securely after each use.

Discard: This is a simple cosmetic care rule that very few of us find easy to adhere to. After all, who wants to throw out their favorite tube of lipstick, or their favorite eye liner. But, cosmetic experts say that all cosmetics should be discarded after roughly six months.

The reason is, after this time, most of what’s left has probably become infested with germs and bacteria from being open, closed and coming into contact with your hands after this time. It’s the gradual buildup of bacteria that can lead to infection. It’s best to discard the old, and buy the new. If not, you could be compromising your health.

Clean Storage: Clean usually means safe. This is another cosmetic care rule that most of us probably don’t give a lot of thought to. But, storing your cosmetics in a clean, temperature controlled environment will keep them safe for you to use.