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Out with the old, in with the new makeup, skincare

When was the last time you gave your skincare and makeup collection a good cleanup? If you had to search your memory, it’s probably been too long. Spring is a perfect time to go through your drawers and cabinets, purge any expired products and replenish your supply. Here are some helpful tips for tackling that process and staying on top of your products’ shelf life.

  • Know when to let go. I realize it can be hard to toss out that two-year skincare product, which we’re certain we’ll use again. Someday, right? Probably not. If you’re hanging on to your skincare or makeup past its expiration date, chances are microbes and bacteria have taken their toll and might be causing skin problems you’re trying to solve.
  • Remember ALL beauty products expire. Preservatives in products only last so long after opening, and the stability of ingredients has a shelf life, too. Most products have an expiration date stamp, but it’s also helpful to look for the PAO (period after opening) symbol – an open-jar icon that contains a number, followed by a letter M. The M stands for month, so a 12M symbol means you should toss the product out 12 months after opening.

A product doesn’t have to be expired to have gone bad or been exposed to bacteria, so you always should pay attention to how your products are holding up every time you use them.

Products vary greatly, but here’s a helpful guide for assessing what needs to go or how long it has left.


  • Mascara (regular or waterproof) liquid or gel eyeliners: three to six months
  • Cream, liquid or stick foundations: six months to a year
  • Powder-based products (including mineral makeup): two to three years


  • Cleansers:one year
  • Toners: six months to a year
  • BHA or AHA exfoliants: one year
  • Facial or body moisturizers and serums: six months to one year
  • Lip balms: one year

Remember: If it smells funky, looks gunky or the texture has changed significantly, toss it out! watch (or sniff) for any new odors, as smell is one of the first qualities to change when a formula has expired.


  • Store products in a cabinet or drawer.
  • Always use clean hands when handling, and secure the cap after each use.
  • Consider how climate and humidity will shorten a product’s shelf life, and write the date when you opened it using a sharpie ( this will help with keeping track of the PAO date).
  • Do not store your products in the refrigerator. Skincare formulas are designed to withstand the average fluctuations in temperature, but not long-term heat or cold storage.
  • Never add water or saliva to then out or remoisten products, and don’t forget to clean the cap or lid if you drop it on the floor.
  • The most important advice of all: Once you open a new product, use it everyday until it’s gone.
  • You may think that trying to make it last by using it sparingly saves you money, but it really doesn’t. It’s not getting you the results you expect, as you’re not following  the directions. You must use the product every day, or at least every other day in some instances, for it to be effective.


Written by Melissa New

Melissa New is an independent, licensed esthetician and owner of New Skin Care, based in Gulfport at Doctors Care. Reach her at (501) 328-7984.

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