I’ve just had a spring clean and discovered some old make-up from about three years ago – is it still ok to use? Joanne, 52

Check the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol, which looks like a small jar with the number of months you can keep it once open, written on the side. Generally, liquid or cream-based make-up formulas last one year and powdered ones up to two years. In a study carried out by the London Metropolitan University they found products that were a few months out of date tested positive for the bacteria enterococcus faecalis (normally found in your gut or bowel). Other studies found meningitis bacteria in products that were 4-9 months out of date.

To make doubly sure your make-up is hygienic, store it in a cool dry place (never in the bathroom) and wash your brushes and sponges in something like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (£1.59) once a week.