Did you know that makeup and beauty products can go bad? That’s right! Just like food, our makeup can spoil. Unlike food, cosmetics don’t have a printed expiration date, but what they DO have is a symbol that tells you how long its good for once opened. Inside the symbol is a number, and that number represents the number of months it is good for after being opened.
Sometimes we have products we forgot and want to use them. On occasion we might get the feeling the new product we just bought is not that fresh. Or we want to be sure that our products are at their peak and will perform as effective as possible. No worries, we can ask ourselves the following easy 3 questions to solve our dilemma.
So, why is this important? Sure, if we eat a moldy mango we might spend the night over the toilet, but is expired makeup REALLY going to harm us?
The answer is yes. It could. You see, your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body. This is why I highly recommend all beauty and skincare products that are organic, food grade, and paraben free. Yes, I said food grade. Your skin ‘eats’ what you put on it. And, lets not forget that eye makeup and lip makeup are applied very closely to open orifices of our body, which means direct access to your bloodstream.
Some basic guidelines are to toss mascara and liquid/gel eye liner every 3 months. If we don’t, we run the risk of contracting some pretty gnarly eye infections, and no amount of concealer is going to hide your swollen, puss-filled eye. (Sorry for the visual.) What about lipstick? You’ll want to toss your cherry red out after one year! The good news is that every product should have the expiration symbol on the box in which it came, so there’s very little to do on your part.
1- Smell, feel and observe test:
Most of the products will last before opening. If you suspect a product is old or getting old, smell it first. Besides the perfume scent, if it has a funky smell that does not feel right do not use it. The off smell could be due to a microbial growth or one or more ingredients have gone bad. If you see black or green growth on the product, again the product could have gone bad. Please do not use it. With powders and eye shadows if they are stone hard over the surface or crumbling too fast again they could be expired. Time to toss them away.
Pay attention to production and/or expiration dates if it is available on the packaging. The product you use may not have the expiration date on it or it could have been erased. At this point, the PAO (purchase after opening) becomes really important and follow the recommended PAO for the item. Every cosmetic product has a PAO symbol. PAO shows how long you can use a certain product after you open it.
If you cannot see the expiration date and still want to know when it was produced, find the “Lot number” on the packaging. Lot number consists of a bunch of numbers and sometimes letters. You can contact the producer and send the lot number. You can also enter the Lot number into CheckCosmetic website and find out the production date. This website does not provide information for all brands.
What is the ideal PAO for cosmetics?
Each product will have its own PAO determined by the manufacturer. The PAO ‘s will change according to the formulation and ingredients of the products. For instance a cream with 1% botanical ingredients and active skin care ingredients may last longer than 90% natural /organic products due to low concentration of active or botanical materials in it. Make sure to check the expiration date and PAO and do not use it after recommended date.
But, how are we to keep track of the dates if we opened various products? I have 14 mascaras, 10 eyeliners, 3 blushes, and at least 25+ lipsticks for God’s sake . Worry not, there’s actually a pretty simple remedy for this. Assign a notepad in your phone to document which product you opened and when. Then, in your calendar, set an alert for when it’s time to swap it out!
3-Was the product stored correctly?
Skin care and cosmetic products do not like extreme hot, cold temperatures, humidity and light. They will lose their effectiveness and could go bad very easily. We may not know how they were stored before we bought them but we should store/use our products away from light, humidity and at room temperature (25oC). Even for a short time do not leave the products under extreme conditions. For instance, do not leave your cream under direct summer sun even for a short bit. The heat and strong sun light will degrade the cream even might lead to microbial growth in it.
I know what you’re probably thinking. You spend a lot of your hard earned money on high-quality products, and it bums you out to have to throw them away. I get you, sis, but your health matters more, and there are amazing products out there that are animal-friendly, safe for your body, and safe for the environment too.