Is Your Makeup Expired? Here’s How to Test It

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Have you ever stopped to think how long you’ve had that tube of mascara or blush? While it’s true that makeup won’t start smelling like the cheese in the fridge when it’s gone bad, it does have an expiration date. To make sure you’re not damaging your skin, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

Understanding Expiry Dates

Most makeup products come with an expiry date or a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol. It will look like a small jar with a number followed by the letter “M”. This indicates the number of months the product is safe to use after opening. For example, “12M” means the product should be used within 12 months after opening. 

More Clues

Changes in Texture

Creamy products like lipsticks and foundations may dry out or become more difficult to apply smoothly. Powders might become hard and not pick up well on a brush.


Liquids separating into layers or oils rising to the top of a product are clear signs that the makeup has gone bad. This is common in foundation and liquid eyeliners.

Poor Application

When makeup doesn’t apply as it once did—for instance, if mascara clumps on the lashes more than usual—it may be time to replace it.