I know I’m not alone when I say that half of my makeup kit is “expired” makeup. I put quotes there because I’m talking about the expiration date based on the period-after-opening (PAO) symbol—the small jar illustration with a number indicating how long it lasts until it spoils. The PAO refers to the period up to when the product can still be used without any health risks. However, there is no standard protocol for all types of products because of the different chemical compositions and the ways they’re used and stored.
While many are familiar with the PAO symbol as a guide to a makeup product’s shelf life, many makeup lovers admit to still using products past their PAO date. Also, some of us may not have touched our makeup since lockdown started and so we may feel like it’s no longer safe to use them again. Not many of us (including me) remember when we first opened a product to tell if it’s expired based on its PAO symbol and some of us, frankly, like holding onto things.
Trust me when I say that I can relate to you holding onto that eyeshadow palette. You may have waited ages for it to be restocked or saved up your hard-earned money to get your hands on it so it’s hard to say goodbye after only a year or a few months. However, there are some signs indicating that the product should no longer be used. Just like what I tell my friends who can’t get over a toxic ex: Don’t turn a blind eye to the red flags and just leave! Here are some signs that you should let go of that product.
If it’s drier than your last conversation
Consistency is key. Every relationship needs consistent communication for both partners to be on the same page. One way to determine the condition of your relationship is to check if your partner exerts the same energy as you do into the conversation. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a dry conversation indicates that they’re not making an effort to talk to you anymore.
Similarly, one telling sign that your makeup has gone bad is if it dries up. Expect powders to last for around two years, while liquid products can last around one year. If your powders and palettes develop a white crust, a chalky layer or start to crack even before it hits that two-year mark, get rid of it. Liquid products, on the other hand, could either dry up or become oily over time—both of which are indicators that the product is already expired. Although there are some studies that advise adding drops of alcohol-free toners to save dried up formulas, it’s best to check for more signs to see if it would really be worth it.
When you find out their true colors
They may seem like your dream partner at first, but beware of how they act after that honeymoon stage. Couples have a tendency of giving their all on the first stages of their relationship either to attract or impress their partner. You need to watch out for this because you could end up falling for a front instead of who they really are. Makeup, on the other hand, could be trusted with its testers after you swatch shades, but a change in color is a big red flag indicating that it’s no longer safe.
For instance, white spots appearing at the tip of a lipstick or a pencil eyeliner means that your products have expired. Moreover, seeing foundations, concealers or eyeshadows change color (even if it hasn’t been opened) is a sign of bacteria buildup. If you see that your product has already oxidized into a different color and shows no signs of returning to its original color, then it’s time to let it go.
If it smells fishy just like their actions
They may act like they’re putting an effort to make you happy but beware of their ulterior motives especially if your instinct tells you so. If you could smell something fishy with what your partner asks of you and they keep demanding it, chances are, they’re only guilt-tripping you to get what they want. Plus, if they literally smell bad, then leave.
Joking aside, some do consider smell when they’re attracted to someone and I’ve actually heard people refer to attractive people as “mukhang mabango.” While looks are what most use to measure attractiveness, research shows that those who dislike the way their partner smells most likely end up breaking up with them. We just don’t stick long with scents that we find repulsive. The same goes for makeup. The product may still look okay, but if you start noticing changes in the way it smells, then it’s time to toss it in the bin. This sign is pretty hard to miss, but I have come across some people who don’t think it’s a good reason to throw away their makeup. It may look okay or smell bearable (watch out for that stale smell), but it can cause potential rashes and irritations. After all, it’s hard to sit through a full face of makeup that reeks of gasoline, burning plastic and false hope (and I oop).
There’s just no chemistry. Period
Whether or not you’ve gone past the getting-to-know stage, it’s important to check if your partner can vibe with the life you lead—from your work schedule to your weekend plans and even the memes you find funny. There are things that you can’t force no matter how much you like the person such as personal beliefs and interests. They may look like the most attractive person to walk the planet, but is it really worth it to change yourself for them?
Looks aren’t everything and sometimes, we’re swayed by trends or cute packaging when buying makeup. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we may be holding onto products that just don’t work for us anymore. If liquid products separate into different components, give the bottle a good shake and check if the formula blends together. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to let it go. There’s no point in trying to bring back a formula that already gave up.
If you really want to keep your makeup until you finish it, minimize air and bacteria exposure. Don’t leave compacts and palettes open for too long and make sure to regularly clean your brushes and sponges. Be extra careful with eye makeup products and keep them for your personal use only. Get rid of them immediately if they show the slightest signs of expiration. Mascaras and eyeliners come in direct contact with your eyes and sharing them with other people could heighten the spread of bacteria and infectious diseases. Dermatologist Jeannette Graf told Health that a way to extend a liquid product’s shelf life is to minimize its exposure to air and humidity by keeping it tightly sealed after every use.
Aside from expired makeup, there may be some formulas (even if they’re brand new) that just don’t work for your skin. Pay attention to these brands, their components and how your skin reacts to them. Just like staying in a toxic relationship, you’ll both end up hurting each other if no one is going to change. Whatever makeup product isn’t compatible with you (no matter how good its packaging and formula) will only irritate your skin the longer you stick with them. You may need to let go of some products, but, trust me, your skin will love you in the end. If your skin gets worse even after you stopped using these products, it’s best to consult a dermatologist for help.
Art by Dana Calvo
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