by BR Natalie
All beauty products will have an expiration date indicated by a small symbol like the one pictured above. It shows the number of months after opening that your product is at it's best for.
Now if you read my Haul of Horrors article, you might be thinking "Why after opening? What about a batch code?"
A batch code will help you determine how long your unopened products are good for. Once opened you need to follow the number in the symbol. Exposure to air, germies and the environment affect the formula and cause the product to lose some of its fabulous qualities.
You might be surprised at how short a life span some products actually have, particularly if you opt for paraben or preservative free, or for products with active ingredients.
Here's a general guide for the products most of us use regularly.
- Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel - about 3 years, although these are probably the things we use up the most! Paraben-free options will last for a shorter period, generally up to a year.
- Mascara and Liquid Eyeliner – 3 to 4 months. It's recommended you're particularly conscientious of this expiration period to prevent contamination and infections.
- Pencils (Eye and Lip) - 3 to 5 years. Sharpening them before each use is a way to keep them clean.
- Body lotion - Two to three years. Pumps last longer as there's less exposure to air.
- Anti-aging and acne treatments – 3 to 12 months. Ingredients in these products are generally 'active' and therefore easily oxidised. If it changes colour before its open-life-span, it's time for the bin.
- Lipstick – 2 years. if it has gone dry it's probably gone bad.
- Lip Gloss – 1 year. Is your lip gloss extra sticky? Time to ditch it!
- Foundation - It depends on the type; liquid foundation should last around a year – if it separates or appears lighter then it's time to go shopping!
- Powders – About 2 years. Want to get the most from your eyeshadows blush, powder foundations, eyeshadows? Clean your brushes to limit contamination, and don't share them with others!
- Perfume – 2 years. Store it in a cool, dark place and you'll get the most out of it.
- Nail polish – 1 year. If it's gloopy or won't mix after a quick shake it's time to say bye-bye.
- Hair Styling products – 3 to 5 years. Most contain some form of alcohol which acts as a preservative.
- Sunscreen – This will be printed with an expiration date; follow it strictly.
Unopened Products. - Generally unopened products have a shelf life of around 3 years. Perfumes and nail polishes stored correctly will last longer. You'll want to stick to the shelf life, so if you open a product that's 2 years 9 months old and it has an opened life span of 6 months. Bad news. You only have 3 months to use it!