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What the little round symbol on your makeup actually means - and it's important

Mirror logo Mirror 08/11/2018 Robyn Darbyshire

a close up of a device: They all have them © Provided by Getty Images Europe They all have them Take a look at your lipsticks, mascaras and bronzer and you may notice a little round symbol with a number on the back.

Have you ever wondered why? Maybe not, but they actually do have a meaning and it's quite important.

These period after opening (PAO) symbols signify how long you should use your lippie for before you chuck it in the bin, a bit like a best before date.

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It normally says something like 6M, 12M, or 18M on it - and here's why you should pay attention.

a close up of a sign © Credits: Trounce/Wikipedia Not only does your mascara start to dry up and get clumpy if you've been using it for too long, the PAO date is good to check out for hygiene reasons.

Bacteria can build up in certain liquid-based make up products, which is pretty gross - and products like mascara, eyeliner and lipstick are particularly susceptible.

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Powders are likely to last for longer because it's a more difficult environment for bacteria to thrive in.

Nail polish normally as a 12 month PAO on it not solely because of bacteria, but because the ingredients separate and thicken making it impossible to spread evenly across the nail.

© Credits: Trounce/Wikipedia We all have lipsticks we've been holding on to FOREVER, but thinking about all of those germs living in your make up is the perfect excuse to get rid of the old and treat yourself to new stuff.

Although PAO symbols are useful guides, if any of your make up starts to smell bad or change colour or texture then it's probably worth getting rid of.

We reckon a trip to Boots is in order...

Video: Reasons why you shouldn't wash your hair daily (Cover Video)

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