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How Long Can I Keep My Beauty Products Before They Expire?

Checking For Beauty Product Exp. Date

Got some products you’re not sure about? Or maybe you just want to know ahead of time. Either way, we’ll help you find out exactly when to toss the beauty products that have lost their flare.

How To Find The Expiration Date

Period After Opening (PAO) for Beauty Products

The thing is, you probably won’t find your typical expiration date on any of your beauty products. Instead, what you’ll find is what’s known as a PAO date. PAO stands for Period After Opening and it doesn’t look like the typical “07/2000” date format that you’re used to. Instead it’s a jar symbol with “12M” or “18M” or however long you should keep the products before throwing them out. In case you were wondering, the “M” stands for months.

If you don’t see a PAO date, you can sometimes find a batch code printed on the container. It’ll be a set of letters and numbers. You can find out the expiration date of major brands by choosing a brand and typing in your batch code at CheckFresh.com.

If all else fails, feel free to determine the integrity of your beauty products checking to see if smell, color, or texture has changed.

You should also keep in mind that natural products don’t last as long as beauty products with preservatives. Take a look at the list of ingriedients on your products, if water is the first ingredient, it’ll probably have the shortest shelf life (water encourages bacteria).

General Guide To Know When To Toss Beauty Products


Your mascara typically should be tossed after 3 months. So yes, there’s a chance you’ve been using expired mascara.


This includes blushes, shadows, etc. They should typically be tossed after 1.5-2 years.


The average pencil eyeliner can last up to 2 years, but should be tossed anytime after that. Unfortunately any gel or liquid eyeliners that you have should be tossed after 3 months.


You should toss your concealer after 1-1.5 years

Lip Gloss

Although it’ll depend on the brand, your lip gloss should be tossed after 2 years max.


Toss any oil-free foundation you may have after 1 year. If you’re using cream compact foundation, you can hold out a little while longer as they don’t need to be tossed until 18 months is up.

Lipstick & Lip Liner

You’ll be able to get 1 year out of your favorite lipsticks and lip liners before they should get tossed.


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