On some occasions, some brands indicate a PAO, or period after opening date, the label on the product packaging. It typically shows an open jar image with a number and a capital M on it, implying the expiration date of the given product. For example, 6M indicates that the product can be used within six months of opening. Another example: 12M indicates that the product can be used within 12 months of opening, and so on. Once you open a product, the clock begins to tick.
Each product has its own shelf-life period that you need to take into consideration. However, the general consideration for cosmetics’ PAO is a good year or a half (6-12M). Eye-area cosmetics have shorter shelf lives than other products, as these can lead to dangerous eye infections.
Mascara should be discarded two to four months after purchase, according to the manufacturer. This is due to the fact that every time a person applies mascara, there could be bacterial and fungal exposure.
Moreover, many “all-natural” beauty products may contain plant-derived chemicals, which may promote microbial development. Products with SPF (sun protection factor) also have the tendency to expire quicker.
Consumers should also consider the greater risk of using products with non-traditional preservatives or no preservatives at all.