In The Makeup’s Spring Cleaning

In Field Manual on March 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm


We’re always talking about acquiring makeup, but in this post we’re talking about throwing it away. Not your new makeup – your expired makeup. Not only can expired cosmetics contain bacteria, they also perform poorly after an extended period of time. THROW IT AWAY!

Here is how to know when…

Lots of products now have whats called a PAO labeling system. PAO stands for “Period After Opening” and looks like an open jar of cream. You will also see a number and the letter “m” printed inside the POA image. That is the number of months the product is good for from the time you open it. The PAO is generally reliable but also has its exceptions and limitations; there is no way to take into consideration how each person uses, cleans, stores, or shares their products – all of those factors can significantly reduce shelf life. Companies have tried to make an educated guess with this number but you’ll have to be smart and pay close attention.

If anything smells weird, has changed color, or has developed an odd consistency or texture, then  it is time to toss it – regardless of whether you have used more than a drop.

For products without a PAO, here is a general guideline:

Liquid and Cream Foundation: 2 years

Powder Foundation: 2 years

Concealer: 2 years

Powder Blush: 2 years

Cream Blush: 2 years

Lipstick: 12 to 18 months

Lipliner: 12 to 18 months

Eyeshadow: 2 years

Eyeliner Pencils: 12 -18 months

Mascara: 6 months

Now…Go out and get youself some brand new makeup – and designate a page in your planner for your monthly beauty inventory – you’ll never not know when something has expired.

  1. This is a great post and thanks for the reminder! The lord only knows what is buried deep down under the sink of despair! Must spring clean!!!

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