We love our ‘Product’ how many times do we go to the hairdressers and come back with a new beauty promise? Your hairdresser puts it on your hair, you love the way it looks, ‘it has never looked that good before’, ‘it’s got to be the product she used’, and so you buy it.
You will use it once or twice and then it will be relegated to the cupboard under the basin and as the weeks and months pass it gets pushed back further and further as more product is added to the cupboard until the contents are all but forgotten.
But then one day, you rifle through the contents of that cupboard and you find it! Perfect, just what you are looking for. STOP.
All our beauty products have preservatives in them and they only last so long after the product has been opened; equally the stability of the actual ingredients in the product also degrades. Put simply ‘Product’, like make-up, has a shelf-life.
It may seem a lot of fuss about nothing, but beauty products that have expired can carry a range of bacterial nasties and you risk irritation, rashes, blemishes and various skin or eye infections.
So how do we know whether they are safe for us to use? Beauty products are not required by law to put an expiry date on their products, but they are required to put a PAO symbol (a number followed by an M and an open jar symbol). The PAO symbol tells you when to throw a product away after the seal has been broken.
‘The letter M stands for the Latin word for month and the number refers to how many months. So, a “18M” with an open jar symbol means you should throw the product out 18 months after you’ve opened it.’
Paula Begoun, The Cosmetics Cop – “Though products vary greatly, as do the conditions of consumer usage and storage, the following is a helpful guide for assessing what needs to go or how long it has left”
- Cleansers: 1 year
- Toners: 6 months to 1 year
- BHA or AHA Exfoliants: 1 year
- Facial or Body Moisturizers and Serums: 6 months to 1 year
- Lip Balms: 1 year
- Sample Packets: 1 day (no, really, one day)
Remember: If it smells weird, looks gunky or the texture has changed significantly—definitely let it go! Watch (or sniff) for any new odors, as smell is one of the first qualities to change when a formula has expired.
Look after your skin…