Ask LH: Do Skin Care Products And Toiletries Ever Expire?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve a collection of skin care products and other toiletries that are so old I don’t even keep in mind when I bought them. Do things such as moisturizer, shampoo, or perfume go south? If so, when must I toss them out? Like the majority of things in life, skin care products, toiletries, and beauty products don’t last permanently.

Once opened up, the clock begins ticking on these things, because contact with air, light, and bacteria can break them down. Even left sealed, things such as dampness and temperature can cause products to degrade over time. Expired products aren’t necessarily a big deal. Sometimes it means they lose performance just. For instance, an expired perfume could smell a little off, or your anti-dandruff shampoo no longer maintain your mane flake-free.

Other times, however, an expired product can be annoying or cause other problems, much like using expired sunscreen and then toasting yourself in the sun. Below are some rules of thumb and general guidelines for different cosmetic products so we can take a few of the guesswork out of how long to keep them. You won’t find an expiration time printed on most cosmetic products, thanks to a lack of regulations. In the event that you buy European products, you may have more luck, since the EU has a directive needing an expiration date to be shown – at least for those products that last significantly less than 30 months.

Required or not, some manufacturers do print expiration schedules on their products. Whether it’s not clearly printed on the pot as something similar to “Exp 12/2015”, look for what’s called a Period After Opening (PAO) dates. This is a picture of a jar with something like “24M” onto it, which means the product should be good for two years after starting. Sometimes, the shelf life is observed by a particular (undecipherable) batch code printed on the box.

  • Liutane or Propane: Alcohol
  • Painful or inflamed joints
  • Favorite amount 3- “They’re Real” Mascara by Benefit
  • Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Used as a Facial Toner to Fight Acne and Clear Up Skin)

Expiration dates on aesthetic products aren’t always reliable. When in question, toss whatever has changed in smell, color or texture. Trust your eyes and nose! Also know that natural, basic products have a far more limited life time and can go south much earlier than products including preservatives. Sources such as skin care and makeup expert Paula Begoun, The LA Times and Real Simple acknowledge when to keep or toss specific items generally. The chart is some sort of cheat sheet for these guidelines above, with more details below.

Moisturizers, Face Creams, and Eye Creams: six months to one calendar year. The risk with expired creams is not only possible less effectiveness, but also irritation and possible infection. Ones that are in a pump are less inclined to introduce bacteria, while creams in jars should be tossed after 6-9 months.