It’s one of the first hot days of the year, and you plan to spend it by the pool. You grab your beach bag, and start hunting under your sink for that bottle of sunscreen you bought last year… or was it the year before? Does it even matter?
The short answer: yes.
Buying makeup and skincare products is fun but sometimes we buy products we don’t use every day. How long is too long to hold on to a product?
Here’s why beauty products need to be tossed after they’ve exceeded their shelf life:
1.The Ick Factor
The longer a product is hanging around your bathroom, the easier it is to become contaminated. Over time, dipping fingers into product, exposure to moisture, and warmer temperatures can affect the stability of a product and introduce bacteria and fungus. Not cute.
Eye products are especially susceptible to bacteria. Mascaras and eyeliners should be tossed out 3-6 months after opening. If a mascara is dry, never add water to it to extend its life. You’re just extending the possibilities of contamination.
2. They Stop Doing Their Job
Certain products stop being as effective after they’ve expired. Preservatives break down, and active ingredients stop working. Prescriptions, sunscreen, and acne products should always be replaced after they’ve expired.
FYI - Suncreens are designed to work at their original strength up to three years after purchase. So a sunscreen that was purchased at the end of last summer should still be good to go this year.
Here are some tips to keep your products lasting longer:
- Abide by the Period After Opening (PAO)
The PAO is the open jar on a product that has a number followed by the letter M on it. That indicates how long the product is good for after it is opened. For example, a PAO with 12M means it’s good for one year after it is opened
- Wash your hands before using products
- Use a small plastic scoop to avoid dipping fingers into jars
- Tighten and secure product caps after each use
- Store products in cool, dry places, and out of direct sunlight
- Throw away all eye products if you’ve had an eye infection