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 • Beauty  • Does Makeup Expire? Here Are Signs That It’s Time To Toss Out Your Makeup

Does Makeup Expire? Here Are Signs That It’s Time To Toss Out Your Makeup

If you’re wondering if makeup expires, the short answer is — it does. So before we go any further, I just want to say one thing: Girl, it’s time to finally let go of that Urban Decay Naked Palette that you got for Christmas in 2011. It’s been 11 years… However, makeup expiration dates aren’t as black and white as you may think. Some products can be used even years after they have been opened, while others should be replaced every couple of months. But there are some foolproof signs that can help you to know when you should toss out expired makeup products. 

Expiration date vs PAO

People often confuse the expiration date of a product with the period after opening. All cosmetic products have both, but they are most certainly not the same. The expiration date is the limit date by which the product is still good. It does not depend on whether or not the product has been used by a customer. The PAO or Period After Opening indicates how long a product can be used after it was opened. Both of these dates should be shown on the product label or packaging. Usually, the expiration date is considerably longer than the PAO. That’s why we will focus on it from now on. 

The PAO mostly depends on the formula 

How long you can use a product after it was opened mostly depends on what it is. Powder products, such as powder blushes, fixing powders, highlighters, and eyeshadows can be used for 12 to 36 months after they have been opened. I won’t lie, I used many of them for even longer, especially blushes and highlighters. Powders are pretty stable, and they are less likely to go bad. But I’m still not recommending using your 11 years old Naked palette. 

On the other hand, cream and liquid products aren’t as stable. Especially if we’re talking about a foundation or BB cream with added active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, or even SPF. I would recommend tossing them out after 12 months. Your foundation won’t magically go bad on the 13th month after you first opened it, but you should try to finish it up as quickly as possible. Most other liquid or cream products also have a PAO of 12 months. Except for lipstick and lipgloss, depending on the formula, they should be good for about 24 months. When it comes to mascara, due to eye safety it should be replaced every 3 months. Eyeliners and eye pencils every 6 months.

Signs to look out for 

If your product has a different smell, texture, color, or consistency than it had when you first bought it — it’s time to throw it away. The first change I notice is in performance. For example, the cream bronzer that once blended out like a dream now leaves weird patches on my skin. Or that matte lipstick that once stayed on my lips for hours now starts to separate in only a couple of minutes. The smell is another big indicator, and it will most commonly change in liquid or cream products. Expired lipsticks start to have that weird waxy smell, and liquid foundations tend to smell like alcohol.


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