October 18, 2011

What is PAO?

Have you ever wondered why some beauty products have an open jar symbol printed on the back with symbols either 2M, 12M or 24M? Have you ever encountered this symbol? If not, let me show you a perfect example.

This symbol is what you call the "PaO" symbol or Period-after-Opening Symbol. It identifies the length of time a product remains useable after opening. The period is given as a number of months and marked with a letter "M" within the jar.

I used to think the little symbol tells you how much product is in the container but I couldn't seem to understand what "M" meant. Now I know and I thought I would share this information with all of you.

Most of us girls hang onto our products way too long (Yup, yup, I'm guilty!), but we must keep in mind that makeup and other beauty products can harbor bacteria after some time. To avoid future skin problems and avoid wastage, it's important to consume the product within its shelf life. However, if your beauty product doesn't have the PaO symbol in it, here is an estimate on the lifetime of most commonly used beauty products.

Oil-free foundation: 1 year
Cream or Compact foundation: 18 months
Concealer: 12-18 months
Powder: 2 years
Blush and bronzer: 2 years
Cream blush: 12-18 months
Powder eyeshadow: 2 years
Cream eyeshadow: 12-18 months
Eyeliner: 2 years
Liquid eyeliner: 3-6 months
Mascara: 3 months
Lipstick: 2 years
Lip liner: 2 years
Lip gloss: 18-24 months
Nail color: 1 year
Fragrance: 2-5 years

This is what most experts agree upon but if your makeup already smells rancid, throw it out. Trust me, the price of that eyeliner is not worth an eye infection.

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