Finding the perfect shade of blush or the perfect mascara is no easy task which makes the process of throwing our makeup away even harder. On top of that, makeup is expensive. Why should you throw away that $20 eyeshadow single when it has been barely used? When it comes to cleaning out our makeup bag, there is more to it than just adding space for new products. Makeup has an expiration date and by keeping products for months, even years, past the expiration we expose ourselves to an increased risk for infection. Cosmetics trap bacteria so it is important to replace them regularly in order to avoid skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections, and styes.
Luckily, unlike food, the expiration date for the products is based on when it is first used. Most makeup products have the Period After Opening symbol or the PAO. The PAO acts as a guideline for when you should replace the product after you have opened it. Often times, the symbol includes a number followed by an “m” which stands for "month."
If you can’t find a PAO symbol on your product, it is important to be aware of key expiration indicators. Pay attention to the smell of the product. If it smells a little off, chances are the product is expired and you need to replace it. Products that are exposed to prolonged heat should be tossed out as well. Hot, moist climates encourage bacterial growth so that chapstick that has been sitting in your car all summer? The chances are there is some bacteria growth on it and you should throw it away. Color and texture changes are also indicative of when you should replace your makeup, and of course, signs of mold.
Below is our definitive list of shelf life for numerous beauty products:
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