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PAO? Please Explain!!!!


What is a PAO?

The PAO, “Period After Opening” is a guideline as to how long you can safely use your product, once the product has been opened. It is characterised by an opened jar symbol on your product and inside the open jar symbol is a number followed by M. For instance 6M indicates a period of 6 months after opening.

Also be aware that climate may shorten a products’ use-by date. For example, extreme heat may adversely affect a product or leaving a product in strong sunlight or leaving the product open and exposed to air. Another thing that will shorten a products life is dipping fingers into the product and introducing bacteria.

If you are unsure as to whether a product is still usable, give it a quick assessment by checking the smell, looking at the colour and determining if it has discoloured at all, has it separated, has the consistency changed (runny or more solid or even lumpy). Have you been hoarding it for eons? Then it may be time to part company.

There are some simple rules to follow:

  • Do not leave products in direct sunlight;

  • Replace caps or lids and don’t leave containers exposed to air;

  • Never dip fingers into products. Always use a clean spatula or clean spoon;

  • Don’t share your makeup with others;

  • Don’t ever add water to mascara to get more out of the tube. Mascara is one product that must be replaced 3 - 6 monthly or risk eye infections;

  • Never use saliva on cake eyeliner, add water or dedicated sealers;

  • Wash your hands before applying your makeup and keep brushes clean.

  • Remove the tip of your lipstick if you have had a cold sore. Use an antibacterial wipe and wipe lipstick generously on the wipe to remove several layers of the bullet;

  • Don’t use your lip gloss during a cold sore event or you will need to dispose of it;

  • If by chance you have an eye infection and have used your mascara, throw it away. This is not salvageable. Eye shadows can be wiped over with an antibacterial wipe;

  • Never use a product that doesn’t look or smell the way it should.

Makeup contains preservatives and anti-microbial ingredients that prolong the life of your products for varying periods of time. Liquids and creams have shorter stability than powder products. Generally speaking products with water as one of the main ingredients will deteriorate the quickest after opening. Dry powder products are last on the list.

As a guide:

Check your products individually, as this is simply a guide. Some brands may state shorter periods, others may be longer.

  • Mascara 3 - 6 months

  • Liquid Eyeliner 4 - 6 months

  • Brow Gel 6 months

  • Creme Blush 12 - 18 months

  • Cream Concealer 12 - 18 months

  • Foundation 12 - 18 months

  • Lipstick 18 - 24 months

  • Lip Gloss 18 - 24 months

  • Blush 18 - 24 months

  • Loose Powder 24 - 36 months

  • Eye Shadow 12 - 18 months (Some brands even state 24 months)

  • Lip Pencil 24 months

  • Eye Pencil 24 months

  • Cake Eyeliner 24 months

Why is it so important?

As our years progress we become more sensitive to irritants. We develop more allergic type reactions. Our skin becomes more fragile and our defence system isn’t quite what it use to be. Products that have past their use by dates attract bacteria which can lead to irritation and/or infection. You may have been wondering why all of a sudden you can't wear a particular product when it was always fine before, consider the possibility that it may be past its wearability.

A word of caution!

If you can’t remember when you bought the product or the last time you used it, then it might just be time to say goodbye to it.


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