Bloggers try a LOT of products. Which is why I can't understand how there are so many empties posts. I have my tried and true favourites and I often have empties of those. But I never have like 5-10 empties a month. Well except for sheet and eye masks... So for the normal product users out there, how long do products last for? When should we throw them out? Read on to find out...
Do you make sure you clean your skincare and cosmetics out regularly? Do you pay attention to the expiry dates? Are they actually legitimate dates or can we extend some of them? These are all really interesting questions. Especially since there have been trends towards more organic and cruelty free products. There are also products with short shelf lives called skin food. Products made from ingredients you can actually eat.
Cosmetic and skincare products do not have a set expiration date because a product's shelf life varies based on when it is opened and how it is used/stored. In Australia, SPF products and acne treatments have to have correct expiration dates based on the batch number.
I am really interested in this subject; because I don't often have many makeup empties. I am aware that you should only keep mascara for three months because the wand goes so close to your eyes for example. I always do that. And I finish my Lancôme Cushions because I love them and wear them every day. I recently wrote a blog post on Colour Correcting Concealers; I am in love with the new Lancôme CC Cushions.
So first off; when you look at you skincare and cosmetic packaging what should you consider when you work out how long to keep things for? You should look for information like an expiry date and a PAO or Period After Opening Symbol (that little jar icon). You should also consider the shelf life of your products and how much contamination the products may have had.
Pay attention to the printed expiry dates on the pack. Usually products with active ingredients have these codes in black. They tell you when the actives are less effective and you can go and buy more. Other products that have shorter freshness periods are skin food products and more natural products. Most of these products are good for three to twelve months.
When a product is manufactured, it is tested for stability and microbes. Shelf life refers to how long the products remain stable and the purity of a product (i.e. that nothing unwanted is growing in there). Most products have a shelf life of 12 to 36 months.
Period After Opening
The POA or little jar symbol on packaging is slightly different to both the expiry and the shelf life. This refers to how long the product will last after you open it. Some products will last on shelf longer sealed than when you have them open. For example a POA symbol with 24M in it suggests that you can use it for 24 months after opening.
I don't know about you but I don't really like product in jars. I won't pay money for them because you stick your fingers in them and the product gets contaminated. No matter if you have washed your fingers or not. Not many medications that are creams, lotions and ointments come in jars. In fact I am not sure that I have ever had one... They always seem to come in tubes. Water can get into jars and open top containers in the shower too. I always go for tubes, squeeze containers, spray bottles, pumps etc. This product packaging means I don't have to touch the product and there is less chance of contamination. I even prefer lip balm in tubes; which is why I am of two minds about the free Mecca lip balm I got last week in my Beauty Loop Box.
Basically. Keep your products cool, keep your fingers out of them, keep them dry and out of direct sunlight...
How Long Should You Keep Products for?
Lip Balm/Gloss - 18 to 24 months
Eyeliner (Pencil) - Two years
Liquid or Gel Eyeliner - 3 months
Mascara - 3 months
Lipstick - 12 months
Concealers - 12 to 18 months
Powders (Bronzers, Blushes, Eyeshadows) - Two years
Cream Shadows and Blushes - 12 to 18 months
Oil Free Foundation - 12 months
Cream Compact Foundation - 18 months
Cleansers - 12 months
Toners - 12 months
AHA exfoliants - 12 months
Facial or body moisturisers and serums - 6 months to 1 year depending on formula
These Handy Tips will Help Make Your Products Last
- Don't store your products in the fridge. This will actually shorten their life. If you are wanting cool eye cream, dole out the right amount for a use and cool that.
- Don't share your products with other people.
- Don't store products open, they have a lid for a reason.
- Don't forget to wash the lid or cap of a product if you drop it.
- Look at the expiry dates on sunscreens, acne products, and prescription products.
- Pump your mascara - this pushes air into the tube, which will make the mascara dry out faster, causing clumping and flaking.
- Wash your hands before you use products.