Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Guide to Cosmetics Shelf Life

Recently, I said goodbye to few of my beauty products due PAO and I thought how many of us actually follow with cosmetics' shelf life. I know it can be hard to let go, if something you like or spent a lot of money on. 

So, why shouldn't one use beauty products beyond their expiry dates?
Same as with food, expiry dates are there to help protect you from the side effects of using old products. Once an item is past its expiry date, the preservative can stop working in your beauty product, giving you the risk of infections. Some ingredients can degenerate, putting your skin at risk of rashes and other skin problems.

For how long one can use cosmetics in general?
Though products vary greatly, the following is a helpful guide for assessing what need to go or how long it has left:

- Skin care products - 3 to 12 months.
- Perfume - up to 3 years.
- Foundation - 1 to 3 years.
- Powders (including blush, eyeshadows powdery texture) - 1 to 3 years. 
- Liquid tone means in tubes or jars with dispenser - 1 year.
- Nail polish - 1 year.
- Sun cosmetics - 1 year (but no more than one season).
- Lipstick, lip gloss - 1 year.
- Pencil (Eye, Lip) - about 1 year.
- Solid eyeliner and eyebrow pencil - from 6 to 8 months.
- Bronzing - 6 months.
- Mascara - 3 to 6 months. 
- Natural and/or organic beauty products - up to 6 months.

If you have unopened cosmetics you can keep them up to 3 years, but this is quite general, and can depend from product and company produced it.

What are production date, expiration and PAO?

Production date (or manufacture date) is the date when your beauty product was manufactured. More precisely, it is the date when the batch of cosmetics (also called lot) was produced. This date can be printed on the package, but also can be omitted.

Expiration date is the date after which your beauty product will be expired and should not be used anymore. Usually this date must be specified for the beauty product which shelf life period is 30 months or less. If this date is present, it should be printed directly on the product package in the form month/year or day/month/year. For example: Exp. 09/15 means that you can use this beauty product only till September, 2015; Exp. 16/10/2015 means that beauty product can be used only before 16 of October 2015.

If shelf life of the beauty product is more than 30 months (3 years), the expiry date probably will not be printed. But this as well doesn't mean that you can use the product during whole 3 years or even more.

To clarify how long you can use your product once you opened it, Period after opening (PAO) sign is used. 

Try finding "open jar" sign with a number followed by the letter M, where number indicated how many months the product can be safely used for after opening. For instance, 6M menas that product can be used during six months after opening; 12M means that product can be used during twelve months after you opened it.

Do you follow with PAO or expiry date with you beauty products?

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