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Show some makeup counter intelligence

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

You don't get a cellphone alert when the contents of your makeup bag have reached their expiration date. But even the priciest mascaras, foundations and skin creams don't last forever. Isabelle Williams, makeup artist at Karma Beauty Lounge in Washington, follows these guidelines: Replace any product used around the eye area every three to six months, because they're the most likely to harbor bacteria; powders, blushes, lipsticks and glosses can last about a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Wash brushes and compact applicators every week with baby shampoo, and dry them before reusing, Williams says. Here, some candidates to refresh your out-of-date stash.

• Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of makeup grande dame Estee, has developed her own eponymous beauty line. She characterizes the collection as “beauty made easy.” Inspired by early spring flowers, the Garden in Bloom palette offers three eye shadows and a soft rose blush packaged in a zip-around compact. Tools count, too. One of Aerin's first products, the lush-feeling Kabuki brush, can be used to apply powder, bronzer or highlighter. Garden in Bloom, $70; Kabuki brush, $48, at select retailers, and

• Skepticism is my reaction to any lotion or potion claiming to reduce wrinkles. That said, Kiehl's new cream wins my approval for its texture, lightness, quick absorption and how smoothly makeup goes on over it. Also, a little goes a long way. Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream, 1.69 fluid ounces, $52 at select beauty boutiques, department stores and Kiehl's boutiques, and

• Lipstick Queen, the new line from lipstick-obsessed cosmetic executive Poppy King, comes in two concentrations in 20 shades from nude pinks to deep berries. Cheekily named Saints and Sinners, the former offers a hint of sheer color for those not ready to make the leap to full-on lipstick. The latter is deeply pigmented and creamy. Note: Eden (a purplish pink) is available only in the Saints concentration. $20 at Bloomingdale's and Space.NK Apothecary stores and and

• Hail, Beautannia. Brighton is the fourth-and-newest fragrance in this quintessentially British line. Meant to evoke the Brighton seaside, this shower gel contains coconut and sugar-derived cleansers and conditioning oat protein to soothe and moisturize skin. The clean scent of grapefruit mixed with a grassy vetiver will appeal to both sexes. 11.8 fluid ounces, $40 at Bloomingdale's and Space.NK Apothecary stores and

• We've got only hosannas for Ardency Inn's Punker, inspired by the darkly rimmed eyes of punk rockers. The company calls it the “World's Baddest Eyeliner.” We say it's no-brainer makeup because its short, thick, felt-tip pen makes it a cinch to draw precise lines or bold strokes depending on the pressure applied. $19 at Sephora stores and

Janet Bennett Kelly is a writer for the Washington Post.

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