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Know your beauty products’ expiration date

Posted on January 16 2020

January is a time for many of us to declutter and make room for new energy that sparks joy. When cleaning out the bathroom it’s tempting to look at your collection of half empty serums & styling products and assume that they are all bad. So best to just get rid of them and buy new, as Marie Kondo says. However Marie Kondo, was 2019. Now it’s 2020, the year we need to get serious about reducing, reusing & recycling. Half open jars of beauty products, going rancid on shelves is wasteful. Around 30% of our landfills are from the beauty industry. The pretty packaging is very difficult to recycle, and most of us just don’t have a recycling bin in the bathroom so the jars and bottles end up in the trash. Before you do your New Year bathroom cleanse - check each product, if it’s still within its expiration date, keep it, use it. Then buy new. Expiration date for beauty products, explained by a formulator

When is the expiration date of a beauty product?

The expiration date depends on what type of product you have. As a general rule – all natural skin care usually has shorter shelf life than traditional skin care. This is mainly due to that natural oils are more reactive, & oxidizes (goes bad by reacting with oxygen) easier than traditional oils, such as mineral oil.

The expiration date of a beauty product will also depend on how stable your product is. Moisturizers are a mix oil droplets in water, as time goes by the oil droplets grow together and eventually you will have a separate water phase and an oil phase. If you see oil floating on top in a jar of moisturizer, bin it. It’s expired.

For products containing water (i.e. most skin care products) the type a preservatives will also affect the shelf life of you skin care product. (Yes, you want preservatives, if not your product will go bad very quickly.) That means that any DIY natural mixtures you might have needs to be used immediately. If you leave them in the bathroom, nasty things, such as mold and yeast will start to grow in the product and you don’t want that on your skin.

How to determine expiration date of a beauty product?

How do you know if your product is expired & should be thrown away? Here are a few hints to look out for:

  1. When did you buy it? Last month or 2 years ago during that ski trip to Colorado when you wanted to treat yourself to some skin care? If it’s over a year you should probably get rid of it.
  2. What does the POA (period – after- opening) symbol say? 6m, 12m or 36m. The POA symbol tells you how long the product is safe once it’s open.
  3. Has it changed color? Is there a layer of oil on top of the product? Does it smell funny? If yes – time to bin it
  4. Is there mold on top of the product? If this is the case – yes in it, don’t use it – it will most likely cause a skin infection or worse.

Best advice to avoid old products in your collection is to be cautious of what you buy & only buy the products you need and use. Better for your skin, your wallet and the planet.

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