Expiry Date on Skincare Products: The Truth!
Sometimes, it can be confusing deciding how long to keep that miracle mascara or moisturiser before tossing it into the bin. Using a product after its prime time may not look like a big deal. But the truth is that expired beauty products are no longer as effective and could also cause health issues.
At Terre Verdi, we are passionate about quality and transparency. We would, therefore, like to answer a few questions about this issue of skincare products and their expiry.
How can I tell if a product I am using is still fresh?
It is close to impossible. European regulations say that if a beauty product will be good for 30 months from the manufacturing date, there is no need to disclose the expiry date, and the PAO (period-after-opening) symbol is sufficient. It looks like the image below, with the number of months written on it. The number of months refers to how long the product can stay fresh after opening it.
I can’t find the expiry date on my skincare product; what could be the consequences?
Firstly, the fact that there is no expiry date on skincare products can be very misleading to the consumer. Because an expiry date is not available, most people don’t know how long they can keep a product in their bathroom cabinets after purchasing it.
In addition, a product could have been sitting on the shop shelf for months, or even years and nobody would know it. Imagine purchasing and drinking milk that has gone bad.
Secondly, most products on the market are packed with preservatives to achieve that 30 months threshold, so an expiry date would not be necessary to be shown.
I can’t find an expiry date listed on the product; what can I do?
As such, education is key. For products that do not list an expiry date on the label, I suggest to look for a batch code on the label and contact the manufacturer to find out how old the product is, by giving them the batch number. There is a bit of work involved, but this way you rest assured of the freshness of the products you want to keep using.
Do skincare products such as lipsticks and makeup, expire?
Like every other skincare product, yes, lipsticks and makeup do expire. Typically, any product that goes around the eye or is a liquid formulation tends to go bad faster. Liquid foundation generally lasts for a year. Because lipsticks don’t hold as much bacteria, it can stay up for about 2 years before it expires.
Although most gloss and lipsticks are loaded with preservatives like essential oils, parabens, and vitamins to keep germs away, these products will not be as fresh and effective after a year of opening.
Do skincare products expire if they are not opened?
Because they have a lesser chance of being exposed to bacteria, unopened skincare products tend to last longer than opened products. So try to bear in mind when you bought the product and what the first time you opened it was. There may be some variations between products, but generally, unopened products can stay intact from one to three years from manufacture date without going bad.
Can I use an expired wash or soap?
We will not recommend you to use such products since you know they are expired. Bacteria easily grow and become dangerous in expired products, including in wash and soap bars because their preserving systems lose efficacy too.
Expired products can increase skin sensitivity and cause rashes. You should throw out every expired soap and wash without looking back.
Will specific categories of skincare products go bad sooner than others?
Yes! All-natural products always seem to have a shorter shelf life, especially the ones that are sensitive to temperatures. Products that contain vitamin C also become less effective very quickly unless you go the extra step to keep them in a dark, cool place. In the hotter months, you could keep your natural oils and creams in the fridge to prolong shelf life.
How long does a cream last after manufacture?
This actually depends on some factors, including the type of cream it is, and if opened or unopened. But generally, a sealed cream should remain fresh and safe even for 3 years after it was manufactured. But when opened, your cream could only survive for 1 year.
Also, water-based creams tend to go bad faster than oil-based ones. While oil-based creams can survive for about 2-3 years without losing effectiveness, water-based creams are already losing potency after 6 months of being opened.
Is it better to purchase water-based creams in a jar or with a pump?
The latter is always better, even though most water-based creams or moisturisers come in a jar! When your cream is in a pump bottle or in an airless container, it will be unlikely to get contaminated with bacteria of all sorts, as your fingers will not be in touch with the unused product. Air and dust particles will also be avoided. This will keep the product fresher for longer, and it could be shared by members living in the same household.
What type of packaging is best for longer shelf life in my skincare products?
Dark packaging is always best, the darker the better. This will shield the product from sunlight, which is damaging to the product.
Glass is also preferable to plastic, as some types of plastics can leach into the product overtime. Aluminium is also a great choice for skincare products, but not clay-based ones.
Everything and anything, including skincare products expire. But unfortunately, not all skincare product manufacturers include this information on their products, hence leaving their consumers very confused as to when the products will expire. Expired skincare products can become less effective or even harmful to your health.Therefore, the best way to go about this is to ensure you only buy products whose manufacturer discloses their expiry dates on them. This is one thing many consumers do credit our products for. We always show an expiry date on our products to give our customers peace of mind. We care about the health and beauty of our customers, and so we won’t hide anything away from them!
If you want to read another article we wrote on this subject, as well as preservation of skincare products, check it out here: Expiration Date of Your Skincare Products: Do You Know It?