British women are doing everything wrong when it comes to makeup. According to a survey done by Britain's College of Optometrists, one in five women in her late 30s or 40s uses a cosmetic that is over five years old, leaving her open to dangerous or annoying infections from a buildup of harmful bacteria. This, despite the fact that the British spend more on makeup than any other nation in Europe. Dr. Susan Blakeney, an optometric adviser to the college, says that a large reason women hoard "expired" makeup is that they are "constantly topping up their make-up bags with new products that they never actually finish any older products."

Maybe so, but we'd like to posit another theory: With the success of retailers like Sephora and the ever-growing trend towards high-priced, designer makeup — and the fact that very few women ever "finish" makeup like lipstick, eyeliner or blush — who blames them for not throwing this stuff away? Personally, we're loathe to trash a $26 lipstick after only six months to a year. So maybe the problem is less about hoarding and more about ridiculous prices for fancy sticks made of pigmented-wax and moisturizers. If Chanel or Dior manufactured a lip-color that came at half the price and with half the amount of product, we'd be more likely to buy it, use it, and toss it in a timely fashion. Or maybe we should all just buy L'Oréal instead of Lancôme.

Beauty Experts Slap Health Warning On Lipsticks Past Their Sell-By Date [Guardian]
Related: Detox Your Make-Up Bag [Mirror]