All skincare/cosmetic products expire, whether it is moisturiser or mascara, preservatives in products only last so long after opening, and the stability of the ingredients also has a shelf life. The tricky thing is that only products regulated as over-the-counter drugs (i.e., sunscreens and acne treatments) have official expiration dates stamped or printed on their packaging. The average expiration date for these products depends on when you first use them and how the product is packaged and stored. Using a product after its expiration date can lead to irritation, rashes, blemishes, and various skin or eye infections.
For most skincare/cosmetic products, there is an easy way to find out how long the shelf life is. If it does not explicitly state the Best Before date or “Use within”, look for a tiny image of an opened jar with a number on it: six, 12, 24, or 36.
Here are the rough shelf lives for a few of your day-to-day skincare products -
Cleansers: 12 Months
Facial or Body Moisturisers and Serums: 6 months to 12 months
Lip Balms: 12 months
Toners: 6 months to 12 months
BHA or AHA Exfoliants: 12 months
How to keep your skincare from expiring too soon?
Store products in a cupboard or drawer
Wash your hands before using products
You MUST consider how climate and humidity will shorten the shelf life of a product
You MUST discard the eye products after you have had an eye infection
Stick to expiration dates on sunscreens, acne products, and prescription medications, such as topical antibiotics and retinoids.
DO NOT store products in direct sunlight (for example, do not leave them on a sunny windowsill)
DO NOT add water or saliva to dilute or re-wet the products
DO NOT "pump" your mascara
DO NOT forget to clean the lid or lid if you drop it. Use soap and water or rubbing alcohol and dry thoroughly before replacing.
Obvs Skincare products are oil based, therefore do not require preservatives. Oil based products last for many years when stored in the correct manner. To err on the side of caution, I have stated to use my products within 12 months of opening.