You've Probably Never Noticed This Expiration Date Symbol On All Your Makeup


I'm sure you've heard that you're supposed to toss makeup and beauty products after a certain amount of time, but do you actually pay attention to these expiration dates? Probably not.

Listen, it's not some urban myth, and I promise keeping track of when beauty products expire isn't complicated. This is makeup, not calculus.

ICYMI, there's a little symbol on beauty product packaging that tells you exactly when you should stop using it.

Here's what it looks like:


BAM. Now you'll never be able to ignore it.

It's called the period-after-opening, or PAO, symbol. And it's been right there in front of your face the entire time.

If you've been hanging on to certain products after they've expired, that could explain any "random" breakouts or skin irritation. Yeah, this stuff does go bad.

Here's how long some of your favorite beauty products last, just as a point of reference:

- Makeup sponges last one month.

- Mascara and liquid eyeliner last four to six months.

- Concealer, foundation, moisturizer, nail polish and lip liner last one year.

- Blush, bronzer, eyeshadow and eyeliner last 18 months.

- Lipstick and lip gloss are good for 18 months to two years.

If a product has a shelf life longer than 30 months, the FDA doesn't require a symbol that indicates when it might expire. But, that's only in the US.

Cosmetics in the UK actually have an egg timer symbol with a "best before by" date if the shelf life is longer than 30 months.

Now you know what this symbol means.



The more you know, people.

I guess now's the time to go throw out all of my makeup and start fresh. I'm pretty sure I've been using the same eyeshadow for, like, four years. Oops.

Citations: How have we never noticed that expiry symbol on our beauty products before? (Metro UK)