That Little Jar Symbol on Your Makeup is So Important (& You've Probably Never Noticed It)
Have you ever noticed a symbol that looks like a little jar with a lid coming off on your makeup or beauty products before? Chances are, you probably haven’t, but now you will.
If you go grab just about any makeup product from your collection, you will more than likely find this symbol on it and it’ll have a number written on it followed by an M, such as “18M.” If you don’t see it on the product, there’s a really good chance that it was (or is) on the box.
Go on and check, I’ll wait.
See what I mean?
It's on powders, foundations, setting sprays, brow pencils, lipsticks, eyeliners—and so much more!
I was shocked when I found out about it. Don't feel bad if you never noticed it before...I had not either, or if I did, I certainly didn’t remember it or think it was important. However, for any makeup and beauty lover, this symbol is very important!
This little jar with the number on it is called a “period-after-opening” or PAO. It’s used by the cosmetics industry to identify the lifetime that a product is useful after opening it for the first time.
As for the “M” following the number…it simply stands for “months.” For example, if the symbol has 12M written on it, it supposedly can be used without harming the consumer for that time period. My advice is to always use your best judgement even when taking the PAO into consideration. If you opened a product 11 months ago that has a 12M PAO, and it seems to have an usual texture, smell, etc. maybe cut your losses and toss it instead.
According to Personal Care Truth, using the PAO symbol to tell the consumer how long the product lasts after opening is actually a legal requirement in the EU. The site also mentioned that the reason it’s depicted by a symbol instead of text is because of Europe being a multinational place. It’s much easier for people to know the PAO by a symbol rather than writing it in a language others might now know or understand.
Even if you’re PAO for a product seems to be in the clear, you should always consider other factors before using a product, like how long you’ve actually had the product. As confusing as it might sound, the PAO is not the expiration date. Sometimes the expiration date of a product is reached first, but the PAO can be reached first too. If you’re interested in learning more about that, feel free to read this article I found on Check Cosmetic by clicking here.
I always try to prioritize safety when it comes to cosmetics and skin and I was surprised that I didn’t know about PAO until a few days ago. With that being said, I hope this post helped you beauty lovers discover more information about your products! Be sure to share this post with your friends to inform them about their products as well.
Disclaimer: I am not a cosmetics manufacturer, scientist, chemist, or anything of the like. I am simply just sharing the information that I have learned. Please take my article as opinion and not as fact. If you have any questions or doubts regarding a product, please be sure to contact the brand directly and use your best judgement.