It’s so important to be aware that skincare products don’t last forever. We buy products and don’t end up using some of them as often as we had intended, and they end up collecting dust. But are they still safe to use?
Generally, most skincare products guarantee safety and freshness for one year. Some will last up to two years and some will last less. Products that are sold both in Europe and in the United States will have a symbol of an open jar with a number followed by the letter “M” to indicate how many months the products will last after it’s been opened, but this is not required if the product is only sold in the United States or Canada.
Tips to getting the longest life out of your skincare products:
- Write the purchase date with a marker on the bottom of the jar or bottle. Whether the product has the month symbol on it or not, the difficulty will always be that you won’t recall when you purchased the product so writing it on the jar is a fool-proof way to remember.
- Keep your products away from light and heat. This definitely helps to preserve the product for longer since active ingredients can be compromised when exposed to heat and light. Store them in a drawer or cabinet.
- Have clean hands before dipping your fingers into a jar. Most skin care products should be formulated with a strong preservative system so there shouldn’t any worries about using your fingers to get a cream or mask out of a jar. But it’s still good to make sure you hands are clean. Usually when a cream or mask is applied, it’s after cleansing your face so generally your hands are clean anyway.
- Optional: Refrigerate your skin care products. If you aren’t using a product on a regular basis and want it to last, you can always store it in the refrigerator. This generally will help to maintain its freshness for longer.
- Keep the caps closed tight. It’s a fact that air will break down active ingredients more rapidly, so make sure the caps are closed tightly.
Tips for when to toss:
- If your product changes consistency, color or scent, it’s time to toss. First, check for expiration dates. If that isn’t obvious, there are a few things to look for: Is the product thinner? Are the ingredients separating? Does it smell different than when you purchased it? Has the color changed from white to yellow or light brown? These are signs that the product is changing and should be tossed.
Help those in need:
- Clean out and donate (only fresh products.) Many domestic violence shelters gladly accept new/unused/gently used beauty products for their women who are in need. If you’ve recently purchased a skincare product that isn’t a good fit for your skin or have a product that you’re just not going to ever use, donate it. Check with shelters in your area to see if they will accept gently used donations.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”