Published on March 18th, 2019 | by The Perfume Expert
Skincare Expiry Dates: Do Skincare Products Have a Shelf Life?
Spring Clean your beauty routine by knowing when to toss old products with this helpful guide to skincare expiry dates.
Spring/Summer brings a lot of change to our skincare routines, so just like we start to put away our wooly sweaters, now’s the time to start storing your rich moisturizers and heavy creams.
But before you pack them away, check the expiry dates to make sure you won’t be pulling out expired creams come Fall! Most reputable brands will have expiry dates right on the bottles/packaging so make sure your products are still in date.
Cosmetic products which shelf life is less than 30 months MUST be marked with a “Best before” date according to common regulations in the most of the countries.
If there is no “Best before” date then a general rule is a product can be used 3 years after the manufacturing date if unopened. However, it may be hard to find out when a product is manufactured so if there is no clear best before/ use by date/symbol and you have NOT opened the seal then it should be ok for 2 years left stored and sealed.
Most skin care products will have a PAO (Period After Opening) symbol on the packaging to give consumers an idea of how long after opening the product can be safely used without causing harm.
The PAO symbol looks like an open cosmetic cream jar with a number on it, followed by the letter ‘M’, which refers to ‘month’. “So for example, a PAO symbol showing ‘6M’ suggests that the product is safe to use for 6 months after it has been opened.
If no symbol or date, then there’s another way to check the shelf-life. Find a code on the bottle/box, usually on the bottom. It’ll be a series of letters and numbers. Then go to this site checkcosmetics.net where you can enter the brand and code which will show you the manufacturing date. From there you can estimate when the product will expire using the guidelines below:
Check Skincare Expiry Dates
Shelf Life of Natural Skincare Products
If one of the millions of skincare junkies that have gotten onto the Natural Skincare bandwagon, then you’ll want to pay close attention to the expiry dates of these products in particular.
Most natural skincare or “green beauty” products contain more biological ingredients that are naturally sourced as opposed to chemical formulations. These natural ingredients will decompose quicker and because the products don’t contain harsh preservatives they will also expire quicker!
The good news is that all reputable “green beauty” brands are well aware of the life span of these natural products and you’ll almost ALWAYS find a Best Before, Use by date or PAO symbol on their products.
If there is no shelf life information (such as perhaps when buying handmade products or small batch artisinal products) there are some clues to look for.
How to tell when your skincare has gone off
- The product has changed color.
- The product has separated.
- Product has an unusual odor.
- The texture of the product has changed (smooth at first but now grainy).
- Is the product liquid? If so, it’s more likely to expire quickly.
- Is the product preservative-free? If so, it’s likely to expire very quickly.
Tips on how to preserve your skincare products for longer
- Store moisturizers/serums in the fridge (especially natural/preservative-free).
- Always use freshly washed hands before applying.
- Keep in a dark/dry drawer/cupboard to ensure no sunlight or humidity gets into containers.
- Use a permanent marker to mark the date you first opened and used the product so you’ll know when to toss later.