How To Know If Your Cosmetic Product Is Expired

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how to know when your cosmetics expires

How long have you had that lipstick or lotion? Do you know when it expires? What if there’s no printed dates? Do you understand the symbols? Can you use the item after the expiration?

A few days ago I borrowed a hand lotion from a friend after applying this I expected a luxury smell of pineapple and coconut knowing the brand and how strongly scented its products are but there was almost no scent, so i asked how old the product was and the response was ….hmmmm, almost 2 years… **Stunned look **

Best Within 12 Months of Opening

So many of us for many reasons have over 3 year old cosmetic products, ranging from balms to oils, lotions, makeup, lipsticks, soaps etc… this can be because of the uncountable options in the market or we buy products for certain issues and once there is no use for it we toss them aside but by the next time we need them, they may not be valid anymore.


But there is a tricky part to that as so many cosmetics only have symbols and one of them has an ‘M’ with number(s) in front – PAO symbol. This indicates the number of months that this product can be used after it is opened before it expires. To know the dates of validity look for this on your products packaging.


The PAO symbol usually at the bottom of package 

Most people believe that this is just a tactics from the manufacturers to get customers on repeat purchase but honestly, we better not find out if it’s true or not. Better safe than sorry.

3 Red Flag Signs To Detect Expiration

There are physical signs to watch for in your cosmetics and this may defer between products.

This lotion is useful only within 12 Months after opening

Change Of Texture

If a usually smooth product becomes clumpy or curdle,
dry, dusty, separating, white spots etc… then its time is up or it has been exposed to the wrong temperature, regardless you need to toss it away.

Change of Color

For example the color of your lotion changes from white to a light brown color, though this can be caused by oxidation as well but it may also be that the product is expired.

Change of Smell

Any product that produces an unusual smell immediately indicates the composition of the product has changed and it has expired. This is mostly common with makeup products that has a dip or stick applicator like lip gloss because every time the applicator is used on the lips and inserted in the bottle there is a 99% chance that external elements are introduced into the product. After a few times the chemical composition is altered and the product certainly goes bad even while in validity period.

Shelf Life Vs Opening Period

This 2 are different and they both affect your products. From the date your product was made and packaged until the day you buy and open it, is the shelf life, afterwards is the period of opening. Now imagine what happens if the product you purchased was already opened on the shelf by another customer…it means the opening period had already been counting before you. So please pay attention to this things.

Skin Irritation: This one requires no further explanation, if your skin is irritated by any makeup or cosmetic product… do yourself some good…put that evil thing away!

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