Decluttering your kitchen pantries, revamping your wardrobe, and organizing your spaces is a normal way to kick start your spring season. But, you know what’s not traditionally part of a spring cleaning checklist? Your beauty stash.
In the same way that most foods and liquids expire, so does your beauty stash. But, unlike the expiration label that is typically listed on these products, determining the shelf-life of your cosmetics isn’t something you can easily figure out.
This is because the majority of beauty products do not come listed with a specific expiration date. Instead, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers to have a batching code or period after opening (PAO) symbol to be listed on the packaging or labeling of their products as a means of expiration indication for consumers. Unfortunately, this regulation makes it all the more difficult to pinpoint the shelf-life of an item. Therefore, causing many of us to use expired makeup and skincare.
When’s the last time you gave your beauty stash some shelf-love? If the answer to this question remains unclear, chances are, your products are expired and in need of an upgrade. But, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right spot!
To learn how to declutter and revamp your beauty products for the spring season, there are three main questions you’ll want to answer:
Are there visible indications of expiration?
First and foremost, products that have passed their prime lose their efficacy over time. When this happens, the ingredients formulated within the product are no longer equipped to work as they were originally intended, meaning your skin is no longer being protected or treated correctly.
Regardless if you have or have not opened a beauty product, the loss of efficacy will inevitably occur over time. Be on the lookout for visible changes in the formula and note any differences in the color or separation of product as these are both indicators of an expired product. This is extremely important for those of you who’re currently using a specialized treatment product that contains an active ingredient as these tend to lose their potency much faster than those without.
Especially if left exposed to oxygen, certain treatment products that contain active ingredients like retinol are quick to become increasingly unstable. That being said, if you notice that your wrinkle-fighting retinol treatment is no longer producing the desired results and/or the formula looks visibly different to you, it’s probably safe to assume it’s reached its shelf life. Be sure to toss out the old product and replace it with a new anti-aging cream for spring.
Does the product negatively affect my skin?
On account of the fact that expired products lose their efficacy once they’ve reached their shelf life, it’s no wonder why continuous use of them can worsen skin conditions. The loss of efficacy causes the preservatives within the item to lose their quality as well, which makes it easy for microorganisms to proliferate rapidly.
As a result, your expired beauty stash then becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Consequently, by transferring the bacteria-infused product onto your complexion, your skin is more likely to experience a negative reaction. Whether it be redness, dryness, inflammation, or the development of acne breakouts, irritation and worsened skin conditions are bound to occur.
Make no mistake, even if the product you’re using isn’t causing a negative reaction, it doesn’t necessarily mean it hasn’t expired. Some cosmetics can have different effects on the body which can naturally lead to adverse results.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that your supplies may still be expired. That’s why it’s critical to keep track of other visible signs of expiration and mark down the dates in which you first try a new product as this will allow you to accurately measure the number of months you used it for after initially opening it. Or, use this cosmetic calculator to frequently check the shelf-life of your beauty products.
Does the product apply unevenly?
Another tell-tale sign of expired beauty products is when they no longer apply the way they used to. This is usually most noticeable when using a skin tint or another makeup item containing pigment as this allows consumers to visibly see that a product is no longer providing good coverage and is applying unevenly across the surface of the skin.
As previously stated, not all expired products will cause an adverse reaction. Depending on the cosmetic item you’re using, and the ingredients formulated within it, developmental skin concerns may not be the issue that comes from using it. For instance, applying mascara to your eyelashes after it’s reached its shelf-life will more often than not lead to an eye infection.
On the other hand, applying an expired face powder to your skin won’t necessarily cause an adverse reaction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t infested with excessive microorganisms that are harmful to your skin. Rather than experiencing a particular skin concern or condition, it may cause other issues to arise, such as an uneven application of the product. If you notice your face powder has a change in texture and is starting to apply patchy, streaky, or even cakey on your skin, chances are, this product is past its prime.
Beauty products expire faster than you think
Your beauty products expire faster than you think. So this spring, it’s out with the old and in with the new!
As you prepare for the spring season, remember to consider the three main questions listed above as these will help guide you on which products are still good, and which are expired and need to be thrown away.
Once you have answers to these questions, you should then spend some time going through your beauty stash. And then get rid of any makeup or skincare products that are expired. In their place, treat yourself to some brand new cosmetic products that are suitable to use on your unique skin.