There are expiry dates on pretty much everything these days, even bottles of water are sporting an expiry date. With all these expiry dates it’s hard to know if it’s just a suggestion that we should approach with practical logic (looks fine, smells fine, go for it!) or if we should actually take a second thought about what that expiry actually means. Today I want to take a closer look at common beauty products and general recommendations to follow in terms of expiry.
Have you ever felt frustrated that your favourite skincare products are coming in such small packaging? Sometimes it feels like manufacturers are trying to squeeze every last penny from you by only giving you 30 ml or 50 ml of your favourite items, forcing you to replenish regularly. The thing is…it’s not a coincidence and they might actually be doing you a favour because they are trying to encourage product turnover. Let’s look a little closer at why super sized products don’t make sense for most skincare and cosmetics.
Light, heat and oxygen all contribute to product expiry, do you keep your products near a window in the bathroom or bedroom, maybe in your purse or makeup case that you forgot in your car on a hot day? All big no no’s as improper storage break down active ingredients and lead to premature expiry.
Products like vitamin C serums, retinol and glycolic acid are all very active ingredients that work wonders for anti-aging, and brightening but unfortunately are particular susceptible to potency breakdown once the product is open or stored improperly. Ideally products will be packed in opaque packaging, with airless pumps to increase longevity of the product. However, this isn’t fool proof and once a product is opened it should be used within about 6 months. Using expensive treatment serums beyond expiry may be tempting, but if you are using an expired active product you really won't see the benefits if the actives in the product have broken down.
The other important thing to note about products is shelf life vs Period After Opening (PAO) the shelf life is the expiry of the product opened or not, this usually appears as a date on the product. The PAO is usually listed on the product beside a little open jar image and listed in terms of months 6M, 12M, etc. The months listed is the time you have to use the product once it’s actually been opened. This means that even if the expiry of the product isn’t for 1.5 years, but the PAO is 6M and you open it today you should be using it within 6 months.
It's important to note that not all products need to include a PAO on the package, but should have an expiry date listed.
Here are some common PAO recommendations for our everyday products:
Cream and gel cleanser: 1 year
Serums/hydrators: 6 months
Lip balm/lipstick: 1 year
Liquid foundation: 6 months in squeeze tube or airless pump, other container types 2 months
Concealer: 3 months
Loose powder: 2 years
Pressed powders: 1.5 years
Mascara: 3 months
Liquid Eyeliner: 2 months
Pencil eyeliner: up to 3 years
Makeup sponges: wash daily and replace every 2 weeks
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your skin or any of the above listed skincare products, feel free to book a free skincare consult at Skin Worthy.