Has the New Season inspired you to clean your bathroom cabinets?
Bravo! Now’s the time for a refresher on expiration dates, So you’ll have some shelf awareness.
Expired products may not only lack potency, but they also can become a breeding ground for bacteria, says Janet Winter Blaschke, CEO of International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists.
Here’s how to tell what’s past its prime.
If treatment ingredients include antioxidants. alpha hydroxy acids inside an airtight pump or tube. They are largely protected from bacteria and exposure to air so they can last about 10 months. But check the package for an expiration date.
On the other hand Serums that contain unstable ingredients like vitamin C and retinoids, may have a much shorter shelf life Blaschke says.
If the packaging isn’t stamped with an expiration date, the formula should remain stable at room temperature for up to three years.
However exposing a product to extreme heat and sun can cause the contents to break down. In that case. the ingredients will no longer be distributed evenly. So your protection won’t be consistent.
If you use one dally moisturiser, odds are you’ll finish it long before it expires. However If you have several in rotation, or use only small amounts. Throw away anything more than 16 months old
TREATMENT AND MASKS
A skincare treatment is exposed to air and bacteria every time you open the jar. Eventually causing the active ingredients to degrade and lose their efficacy. After a year It’s probably time to toss.
Lipstick, gloss, and balm typically don’t contain water, so they generally collect fewer bacteria. Unless you leave your lipstick in the glove compartment on a summer day. it should be fine for up to two years.
Any makeup formula containing water is at a higher risk for bacterial contamination because water provides a home for bacteria to thrive. Since nearly all foundations except powders have some water it’s best to replace them after 12 to 18 months. Also, as your base ages the pigments can separate resulting in uneven coverage.
This is the product you should be most vigilant about: Eyelashes protect the eyes from dirt pollen, and bacteria. Consequently a mascara wand may collect these particles transferring them into the product says Blaschke. To reduce the risk of infection discard mascara every six months.
Water-based liquid eyeliners can pick up bacteria, which can lead to an eye infection. So toss yours after six months. You can hang onto your pencil liners, though when you shave off the tip you remove any bacteria.
Toss it if you notices change in consistency (usually after two to three years) That means the solvents in which the pigments are suspended have evaporated causing colour to collect at the bottom. Once separation occurs getting a smooth even coat will be difficult.
Can’t remember how old something is?
Now you’re up to speed on Shelf Awareness. In general it’s best to toss anything that has significantly changed in colour, odour or consistency, says cosmetic chemist Ran Robison.