Toss That! All You Ever Wanted To Know About Makeup Expiry Dates

Health News
3 min read
Hindi Female

Makeup is a glorious thing. We need it because no one wakes up looking like Angelina Jolie. But what we don’t realise is that our makeup habits of never letting go, are as gross as eating food that has gone bad!

You must’ve realised that the mascara your lashes swear by, has been hanging in your bag for way too long - but do you know its expiry date? Or that all cosmetics come with a shelf life?


When To Toss Out Makeup

Each makeup product ages differently and cosmetics don’t come with a stamped expiry date because their shelf life largely depends on when they are first opened and how well are they stored. It’s difficult to judge when your makeup is past the expiry date, after all it’s not the same as smelling food to know if its foul. So look-out for the PAO symbol.

Say Hello to the PAO Symbol

That open bottle symbol with a weird code is the PAO or the Period After Opening symbol (Photo: iStock altered by The Quint)

PAO or the Period After Opening symbol is usually present at the back of your products - it is the guideline by the manufacturer for when to trash the product. In the picture above, ‘6M’ stands for 6 months and you should practically stop using this product after that time period. From cleansers to toners, liners to concealers, everything comes with preservatives which last that long after opening, post which the stability of the ingredients goes off.


Expiration Guide of All Beauty Products

(Photo: The Quint)

What Happens When You Use Expired Makeup

Get rid of your makeup before it feels like getting rid of gold! (Photo: iStock)

Eye shadows can turn into eye irritants, bacteria love your foundation, mascara turns flaky, face powder starts to smell funny, concealers can cause acne, nail polish turns gooey if you keep using them past their shelf life.

The dangerous part is that all the molecules in the beauty products can break down into something else which cause severe skin reaction or even inflammation. Noticed any sudden redness, bumps, blisters or a rash on your skin for no rhyme or reason - it could be time to let go of your beloved cosmetics.

Expired makeup is the breeding ground of bacteria -especially all the water-based products. And your eyes are particularly sensitive to bacteria buildup; be extra careful about your mascara and liner. Ideally, you should toss away your eye makeup a little before the expiry period and as a general rule, never ever share cosmetics.

You know what expires fastest? Acne treatment creams. The active ingredient in acne products is benzoyl peroxide which loses its effectiveness over time.

Using expired sunscreen is as good as using no sunscreen at all. The one way to test if the sunscreen is still effective is to check the colour and consistency - toss away if it’s too runny or has a yellowish tint.

The bottom line is that skincare products have a pretty set life while makeup has some leeway. But its best to regularly trash away cosmetics because nothing’s worse than a major skin rash that could’ve been avoided.

Also Read: Oh Snap! Makeup Can Trigger Early Menopause

(This article was first published on 7 January 2016.)

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Topics:  Cosmetics 

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