…definitely not as long as you think or do! I admit that I have had things in my bathroom cupboard for longer than I should, and I think many people continue to use products month after month, year after year without thinking. All cosmetic products and makeup have an expiry date just like food. They do go off and deteriorate with time due to exposure to air and contamination by micro-organisms and bacterias that come from our fingers and makeup brushes. The compositions may also separate and often products lose their efficacy, especially suncreams for example. For this reason it is imperative that we take care with our products, and become aware of how long we have had them to decrease the risk of infections, what’s more we don’t want to be using a product that is essentially ‘past its use by date’!
Probably unknown to many the expiry dates for all beauty products are in fact listed on the packaging somewhere. This is law in Europe and you will notice examples of this symbol if you look at your cream, lipstick, shampoo etc.
It’s a little ‘jar’ with a number on followed by an ‘M’. This stands for the amount of months the product can be used for after opening. On organic products you will also perhaps see a ‘use-by’ date written for before and after opening as these products do not have synthetic preservatives in that give them a longer shelf-life.
If any product you use smells weird, strange or rancid it must go in the bin straight away, of course recycling any packaging if possible! If any product has changed dramatically in terms of its composition or texture since you bought it such as separation, drying-out, lumpiness or you notice any stinging or irritation when you use it, it probably should go as well. It’s common sense really!
The more natural the product the shorter the length of time it will last. Essential oils are probably the longest lasting of the organic, naturally produced beauty products, as they should last about 2 years if stored correctly.
So have a look through your bathroom cupboard and makeup bag and have a think when you bought a product, if you can’t remember then it’s definitely for chucking! If you notice that you have to throw away a lot of stuff perhaps it will make you think twice about buying something in the future to avoid so much wastage, only buy what you know you will use and need, what works for you and something that you will use regularly. You don’t need to buy 4 face creams, if you are still using one, don’t buy another till the current one is finished!
Most packaging is recyclable nowadays so be sure to clean out any containers before recycling and if you’re using organic products you can also rest easier that the remainder that you wash down the sink won’t be so harmful to our waterways.