There is no better time of the year to start fresh than the first week of January. Not only does a new calendar year oftentimes inspire us to work on better habits, but it’s also the perfect time to purge through all of the stuff that no longer serves you––including your skincare products!
HOW TO DETERMINE THE SHELF LIFE OF YOUR PRODUCTS
Many skincare and makeup products will have a tiny image of an opened jar with the numbers 6, 12, 24, or 36. These numbers refer to the number of months you can use a product after you've opened it.
Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat, explains that “manufacturers typically formulate skincare products to last one year after opening”, unless a specific date is written on the product itself. This means that if there is no number to be found, you should generally consider getting rid of unused skincare products after one year. Open products, however, should generally be rotated after six months.
FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND
Usage isn’t the only thing to consider; packaging also plays a large role in determining product shelf life. For example, a pump or dispenser is much better (bacteria-wise) than a jar. However, even in supposedly airless packaging, air and humidity can inevitably enter your product over time.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that because medical-grade products are made with higher quality ingredients, they tend to be more stable in varying environments. However, the same “rules” apply, meaning both how you apply and store your products will affect their lifespan.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TOSS?
- Any skincare OR makeup product that’s changed in texture, colour or smell
- Any type of cream that has separated, despite mixing
- Expired SPF (or SPF that has been open for more than a year). Once opened, effectiveness is reduced as time goes on, leaving you prone to UV damage!
- Serums after roughly eight months after opening. Most serums, by that point, should be mostly used up anyways!
- Temperamental ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid (HA) that are highly sensitive to environmental exposures like UV light and oxygen
- Any product past its expiration date, and especially those with active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid (even if they have not changed in texture, colour or smell).
WHEN SHOULD YOU OVERHAUL YOUR ROUTINE?
If your current routine works for you, there’s no reason you *absolutely* need to switch it up or toss everything out. All you need to do is ensure you are still within the product’s recommended shelf life, and if not, make the adjustments that are encouraged.
This doesn’t mean you need to opt for an entirely new routine––all you may need to do is replace your outdated oldies with their newer equivalents. It is, however, recommended that you add some changes to your skincare routine quarterly, around the changes of each season, as your skincare needs may change.
Have any questions about your current product rotation OR looking to revitalize your skincare routine this season? We’ve got you covered. You can book your virtual consultation right here, where one of our medical aestheticians will give you the advice you need and help you level up your skincare journey.
On that note, we wish you an incredible start to this new year!
Until next time,
The BSE team