NakedPoppy

How to Tell If Your Makeup Is Expired

by Valerie Bisharat

How to tell if your makeup is expired
Image Credit: Raphael Lovaski.

Like food, makeup expires. While holding onto old products can be tempting – either to minimize waste, spending, or time shopping – expired makeup simply doesn’t work as well and can expose us to infections, irritation, and redness.

So how can you tell if your products are past their prime without having a degree in chemistry? Let’s discuss the three telltale signs.

But first, let’s get one thing clear: most products manufactured in the U.S. (and all made in the E.U.) bear what’s called the PAO symbol, or “period-after-opening” symbol. It may be small, so look closely – but the PAO symbol tells you how many months your product is good for after opening it for the first time. If you have products that have exceeded the time frame specified by the PAO, those should be tossed no matter what.


How to tell if your makeup is expired

Example of the PAO symbol, indicating a twelve month shelf life after opening.

Here are those three giveaway signs that your makeup needs a chuck:
  1. Change in color – is there any discoloration? A coat of gray film? Dots?
  2. Change in consistency – have the ingredients separated? Is the product drier? Clumpier?
  3. Change in smell – is the smell odd? Does it smell like gas or chemicals?

When in doubt, consider sparing yourself the potential health nightmare and air on the side of safety.

Product by product, here are more details about how to identify expired products.

Mascara
Dryness, clumpiness, chemical smell.

Liquid foundations, concealers, and tinted moisturizers
Change in color, ingredients that have separated (for example, oil rising to the top), colored particles that have popped out of the solution, odd smell.

Stick concealers
Change in color, change in texture, discoloration, odd smell.

Lipstick
Change in texture (especially not gliding on as easily), odd smell.

Lip gloss
Odd smell, change in texture (often making it uneven), clumpiness.

Liquid eyeliner
Dryness, clumpiness, odd smell.

Pencil eyeliner
Change in texture (doesn’t glide on as easily), discoloration.

Eyeshadow
Gray or other colored film, discoloration, waxy buildup, odd smell.

Powder blushes and bronzers
Gray or other colored film, discoloration, waxy buildup, odd smell too much cakiness.

Cream blushes
Change in color, change in texture, discoloration, odd smell.

Enjoy your fresher, healthier makeup!

This article has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Laurence Dryer, a beauty scientist.

Do you have any question or comments about how to tell if your makeup is expired? Leave them in the comments!

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