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How To Know If Your Beauty Product is Expired

How To Know If Your Beauty Product is Expired

How long can you use your beauty products after you’ve opened them?

Check out the back label of your makeup or skincare product and look for the open jar icon. That indicates the number of months a product will stay good or optimal after it’s been first used or unsealed.

Usually you’d see 6M for mascaras, 6M for micellar waters, 12M for eyeshadow powders and lipsticks, 6 to 12M for oils, 12 to 24M for skin creams, toners, essences, and foundations. What could this mean for shelf life? It means that even if your product’s expiration date is a couple of years away, the moment you use it, you have to start counting months.

A little trivia, all products that have a shelf life of more than 30 months are required to have this open jar icon called PAO or Period After Opening. It’s not so much about the product going bad on its own—it’s really more about the effect of usage (microbial contamination, oxidation, exposure to sunlight, etc) on the product’s stability and safety. Thus mascaras have between 4 to 6M PAO for the obvious reason that its wand can easily pick up moisture from your eyes, and moisture equals bacteria. I honestly cannot believe that eye shadow palettes only get 12M PAO (I mean powders can practically last forever), but I’m guessing it’s because they’re applied on the eyes. The good news is with proper storage and usage, you can actually preserve your products.