Is there an Expiration Date on your Skincare or Cosmetic Product?
Under the European Union regulation on cosmetic products, there is no mandatory requirement to display an expiration date, if a product is fit for use for 30 months or more from the date of manufacture. However, the regulation requires a PAO symbol like the one above to be displayed which indicates the length of time the product is safe for use after opening.
Incentive for Manufacturers
To some manufacturers, this could be a huge incentive to add enough preservatives to their products to last for at least 30 months without being required to display an expiration date. This way, a product’s shelf life could last for years until it is sold, saving both manufacturers and stores high costs related to replacing expired products. Of course, I am not saying that the legislation is wrong, but am just highlighting a possible consequence.
What does this mean for Consumers?
We, as consumers, should have a rough idea of a product’s manufacture date, but if there is no expiry date shown, really we have no idea. Whenever I shop, I always look for an expiration date. This ensures that I buy a fresh product that is not filled with preservatives. Better yet, we should try to understand what the skincare companies’ practices are i.e. the types of preservatives they use, how much they use and how safe they are. This might seem a lot of work at first, but necessary if we care about our skin and health. Also, this skill becomes easier once we get the hang of it.
On my journey to “more natural” and then “more organic”, I learned that products that contain water, such as cleansers, toners, moisturisers, shower gels and shampoos, need some sort of a preservative in order to last a bit longer than a few weeks. I have also learned that there are no organic preservatives that we can use.
Tips for Consumers:
1) Check what preservatives are accepted by organic regulatory bodies such as Soil Association and Ecocert.
2) Check the ingredient list for acceptable preservatives of the product you wish to purchase.
3) Look for an expiration date.
4) Expiration of less than two years is best, as the other natural ingredients might start to lose their efficacy after this time.
5) Finally, use the products purchased within 6 months, even if they have a 2-year expiration – the fresher the better!