Why I Ditch My Old Makeup and Why You Should Too

Over the weekend I did my annual purge of expired makeup and skincare products. If this isn’t currently something you do, I highly encourage you to start! Not only does it inevitably result in an overall clean out of your bathroom (BONUS!), but your skin will thank you – trust me.

What’s the big deal about using expired products?

At a minimum, when it comes to your skincare products, you may no longer get the full benefit of the product.  This is especially true for sunscreen – the most important skincare product of them all!  In the worst case, when it comes to makeup and any skincare products that aren’t in a permanently sealed container, the products can start to harbor bacteria.  Helloooo acne!  The risks are especially high for products that touch your eyes like mascaras, eyeliners, and so on as bacteria growth can potentially cause irritation or even infections like pink eye.  

Period After Opening (PAO) Date

If they choose to, makeup and skincare companies will have a PAO date on the back label.  The PAO date would be noted inside an open jar icon and this date is almost always noted in months.   This date tells you how long the product is good for after you open it.


The US Food & Drug Administration does not have a law (unlike the EU) that requires cosmetics to havey an expiration date.  However, they do require companies to ensure their products are safe for use, and as such, many companies choose to add the PAO date to their products.


General Period After Opening Guide

If your product is not labeled with a PAO, use the general guidelines below.

Tips for the Annual Purge

  • Don’t open your products until you need them and make sure to buy sealed products when buying in-store!
  • If you know you won’t do a purge throughout the year as products need to be thrown away, pick a consistent time of year to do an annual purge.
  • For ongoing awareness, use sticky dots on your products and mark the date you have to throw it away on the sticker.  Even better, use color-coded stickers for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, etc.
  • While you’re at it, be sure to clean your makeup brushes and sponges!  While there’s no hard or fast rule for throwing away brushes, you want to keep them clean if you want to make them last and avoid the development of bacteria.  I try to do this once a month and use a simple recipe of equal parts my kids baby wash (or dish soap) and olive oil.  The oil will strip all the makeup off the brush while the soap will get it clean.  Swirl swirl swirl on your hand until the water runs clear.

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