Monday, April 30, 2012

Tossing It Out

I was cleaning out my medicine cabinet today when 21 bottles of lotion magically popped out from no where. Yes, I was surprised. The first thing that came to my mind: do these things expire?!

I am a complete expiration date worry wart. I'm always worried about germ-infections when I leave my eye shadows out on a dusty cabinet for too long, or when I (accidentally) leave my lipstick uncapped. Bad, bad times. So I did some research today and found out that yes, indeed there is an expiration date for beauty products.

Here's the lowdown: Usually, at the bottom of every product, there's a "PAO" symbol - that stands for "period after opening" - that looks a little like this:

Inside the "bottle", there's usually a number, followed by a letter. For example, on my Juicy Couture sampler perfume (which, if you follow me on Twitter, yes, it is the one that I spilled all over my hands) it says "32 m". This means that the perfume is good for 32 months after opening.

If the product doesn't have a PAO symbol on the bottom, here's the amount of time I recommend keeping it before tossing it:

Acne Treatments - 4 months to 1 year, depending on the quality.
Body Lotion - 2 (if it's contained in a pump container) to 3 years.
Shampoo, Conditioner, & Shower Gels - Roughly 3 years.
Sunscreen - Varies by brand and SPF; A good rule of thumb is starting from about 2 years for 15 SPF, then reducing 3-5 months for every level increase in SPF.
Mascara & Liquid Eyeliners - 4 to 5 months.
Eye Liners - 4 to 5 years.
Lipstick & Lip Gloss - 2 to 3 years.
Foundations & Primers - 1 to 2 years.
Perfume - 1 to 2 years; Keep your unused perfume tucked away in the back of your under sink cabinetry where it's dark and cool to increase it's lifespan.
Nail Polish - 1/2 year to 1 year, depending on quality.
Hair Styling Products - 4 to 5 years.

Some products can be extremely heart-breaking to toss, I know; but it does teach you the lesson of not buying more than you need or products that you're never going to use and only look at. Sometimes it is better just leaving the item on the store shelf, and coming back to buy it when you really need it.



"Mac Eye Shadows"; "PAO"; Juicy Couture; Twitter


  1. thank you for sharing! now i have to clean out my makeup and goodies! uh oh, my OCD is coming out! :) Hope your having a good day Essie!
    SewCal Mama

    1. Hahah! You too, Tia!
      Sent you an email with the DM attachment.(:

  2. This post is so helpful, thank you. I always wondered what that little symbol meant, I would never have guessed that it was related to shelf life. x
    Twenty One

  3. Never knew this. I know I have some old stuff I may need to throw away now!

  4. When I saw the title of your post it caught my attention. I think about expiration dates a lot too. I know I probably have some food in my cupboards that needs to go.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  5. I'm personally a big fan of pinkscriptblog blog. Thanks for sharing this post.
    clipping path
    clipping path service