The Importance Of Expiration Dates On Natural Beauty Products

In recent years, the popularity of natural beauty products has soared. Over time, consumers have become apprehensive about what they use on their bodies. Seemingly everyday skincare product ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates have prompted discussions about how safe these synthetic chemicals actually are. This has led to mistrust in the beauty industry, with some customers opting to buy natural beauty products instead. As Glenn Arpino, the creator of Hudson Valley Skin Care, told Hudson Valley Magazine, "People are very in tune to using products that would not cause additional problems. Using natural products just makes more sense, considering the skin is the largest organ, and chemicals definitely absorb into skin."

According to the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, consumers choose natural beauty products for other reasons, including efforts to be more environmentally friendly. Likewise, Hudson Valley Magazine adds that some users prefer natural smells to artificial ones. Others have sensitive skin and can only use natural beauty products, while some prefer holistic wellness over the mainstream industry. Whatever the case, some consumers are apparently unaware that all beauty products expire. And unfortunately, natural beauty products expire more readily than your average stock.

This is why natural beauty products have a short shelf life

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require cosmetics or skincare to have an expiration date. However, they recommend that manufacturers list the life span of the product on their packaging. In lieu of an expiry date on the actual product, it can be helpful to head over to a company's website to see if they offer any suggestions of how long a product can be used once opened. Of course, it's always a great idea to make a note of this potential end date on the packaging in a permanent marker, too. 

Having said that, DERMAdoctor notes that natural beauty products generally have a maximum shelf life of six months. Unlike average beauty products, natural beauty products lack preservatives, which in turn, cause them to go bad sooner. Chemist Vince Spinnato told Allure, "Most of the naturally-derived, non-synthesized ingredients such as extracts or blends from berries, trees, and flowers expire quickly."

Preservatives in natural beauty products can include gluconolactone, rosemary extract, tea tree oil, and salicylic acid. However, these are not too effective. "Preservatives make conventional cosmetic products viable for up to two years, but natural products made without parabens may last only three or four months," dermatologist Alpana Mohta told HuffPost. Still, there are ways to ensure that your natural beauty products last longer. For example, keeping them stored in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight can help reduce the spread of bacteria. 

Experts recommend against using expired beauty products

It can be all too apparent when some natural beauty products expire — like bad food, their color can alter and they may start to smell bad and feel different. However, that isn't the case for every natural beauty product as others can show no sign that they've actually exceeded their shelf life. Keeping a track of when you opened and started to use a product — and how long it's been since then — is in all likelihood the best gauge of whether it's time to retire your favorite organic moisturizer. 

In any case, using expired beauty products isn't the best idea. In some cases, the product will not work as well as it used to when it was fresh. In others, it can negatively affect the skin. Alpana Mohta warned HuffPost of the pitfalls of applying expired products, stating, "In some cases, bacteria may begin to form, resulting in rashes, breakouts or infections." This is true of all natural beauty products and cosmetics, with Organic Authority noting that natural deodorants can expire after six months or a year, while natural eye makeup can last between three to six months. On the other hand, natural lip balm can last for a year. If you think you've had the product for too long, then it's probably best to simply throw it out rather than risk an unpleasant experience.