When to toss out your makeup

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When to toss your cosmetics

It’s a new year and time to do a little pre-spring cleaning of your beauty products. Sadly, that fave lippie of yours can’t last forever. There comes a time when you’ve just got to let that makeup item go, before it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

Unfortunately, beauty brands in Canada and the U.S. don’t have to mark their cosmetic packaging with an expiration date. But, cosmetics that are also sold in Europe tend to be marked with the Period After Opening symbol, or PAO symbol. This symbol identifies the useable lifespan of a cosmetic product after its package has been opened for the first time. The open beauty pot image is accompanied by the lifespan of the product contents in months, after which time, it’s time to toss it. This is such a great tool. Why isn’t it mandatory?

Period After Opening (PAO) symbol

If there isn’t a PAO symbol on your beloved item, it’s really up to you to keep tabs on how long you’ve had your products. And gals, if your lipstick has a icky smell, your mascara is drying out, or your polish is separating, it’s probably time to say buh-bye. Right? And it’s kind of a great excuse to buy and try new products too!

We asked beauty guru and M∙A∙C Senior Artist, Jane McKay when she gives her own personal makeup bag a makeover. “As a makeup consumer and for my personal/professional makeup bag, I treat my cosmetics as delicately as fresh food. I especially try to keep them at a temperate climate without exposure to direct sunlight,” says McKay. “For replacement, I adhere to our M.A.C guideline: Unopened products should be good for at least three years under normal use conditions provided they are not exposed to extreme heat or cold.” For opened M∙A∙C Cosmetics products, M∙A∙C recommends that consumers refer to the PAO symbol for the expiration date. “Once a product is opened and used, its integrity can be affected by such things as exposure to environmental conditions or from contact with the user’s skin. If a product is not fully used following that timeframe, we suggest replacing it in order to assure product integrity. Products without this symbol may be used safely for an indefinite period of time.”

Below are nine popular makeup items and Jane shares her personal “rule of thumb” for when to trash each of them.

Mascara
Should be replaced frequently…depending on usage and heat exposure. I usually replace mine every 2 to 3 months. To ensure freshness, I never share my mascara with anyone.

Eyeshadow
Powder products typically stay fresh longer than liquids and creams. I mainly replace when they are dry or cracking or lose their performance.

Eyeliner
I would follow the M.A.C guideline and/or I would replace it if it did not meet my performance standard (some shades dry out more than others over time, therefore impeding performance).

Foundation (Liquid)
I follow the M.A.C guideline for replacement. Water (or liquids) products do contain preservatives, however they may harbor bacteria faster than creams or powders. It is just the nature of water.

Face Powder
Powder products typically stay fresh longer than liquids and creams. I mainly replace when they are dry or cracking or lose their performance.

Blush
Powder products typically stay fresh longer than liquids and creams. I mainly replace when they are dry or cracking or lose their performance.

Lipstick
If a lipstick starts to smell off, it is definitely time to replace. I also make sure to follow the M.A.C guideline.

Gloss
Again, I follow the M.A.C guideline and/or replace if they “smell off”.

Nail Polish
I always replace when the colour separates and/or the polish no longer performs well.

Is it time to trash your stash?

Images: onlinebeautyplace.com

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About the author

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Lesley Mirza works as an editor for lipstickpowdernpaint.com and writer for a variety of publications, covering travel, beauty, spas, food/drink, and culture. When she's not hopping on a plane or sipping a cocktail, she can be found walking her two pugs on Kits Beach in Vancouver, B.C. Follow Lesley on Twitter and Instagram.
@lesleyemirza

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