The Downside of Beauty: the Summary
- No matter how expensive the product is, it won’t last forever
- Check for an image on the packaging while shopping for beauty products to know how long they will last – learn how to find it below!
- There are some majorly concerning side-effects from using expired products and it doesn’t matter if you only use something once a month – you’re still at risk.
When it comes to looking after ourselves, us girls sure know how to do it properly. From makeup to hair care, moisturising almost every inch of our bodies and painting our nails, many of us love spending some girly time treating ourselves and making ourselves look and, more importantly, feel good. Despite this, it seems that the products we use might not be as good for us as they make us feel. Did you know that products have an expiry date just like the food you eat and the drinks you enjoy? We’re all guilty of having done it at some point or another, but is it really a big deal? Sorry to break the news but yes, it really is. The expiry date is also known as the PAO – period after opening.
Where can I find the expiry date?
On every beauty product, from makeup to hair spray, moisturiser, shower wash and even shampoo and conditioner, you will find an expiry date. There is a little symbol that is a requirement for products sold in many countries that have a shelf life of over 30 months to remind you when to replace each item after opening the product. A little number within a tub-shaped image, usually found on the back of the packet, bottle or tub, will let you know whether the item will last you a long time. Generally, the number will be 12, 18, 24, 36, or, in the worst case, 6 or even 3 and will be followed by an ‘M’ for ‘months’. 36 months (3 years) is ideal for a product you are gifting to yourself or someone else, as you should have more than enough time to finish it.
Are there any exceptions?
Ok, so you’re currently going through your makeup bag and realising that everything in there has expiry dates. There are very few exceptions though, sorry to break the news! Nail varnish is one example of an exception and although some probably do have expiration dates, the majority don’t. This is because it’s not put directly onto your skin so won’t cause any damage after a long time of use. Due to the way it is created, we can all tell when it is expired due to it solidifying in the bottle and becoming unusable. Luckily for us though, it can usually be revived with a splash of nail varnish remover and continue to be used…
But can’t I just ignore the date?
Ok, we know what you’re thinking and we get it. Beauty and hair care products can be VERY expensive and we all know the feeling of wanting to keep them until they’re well and truly finished… Technically, yes of course you can ignore the expiry date. But would you consider eating a week-old piece of bread? No, none of us would… Now, imagine putting that piece of bread on your face. Ok, so it’s a strange thing to imagine and obviously it’s not the same – make-up doesn’t go green or visibly mouldy. But hopefully, you understand the point we’re trying to make. You wouldn’t eat out of date food, so it seems logical that you probably shouldn’t put out of date products on your skin, regardless of how expensive they were. Expiry dates are decided for are reason. They specify the time in which your products will be of the highest quality. It is worth spending some time checking through your makeup cupboard before replacing essential items and you will definitely see the difference in the health of your skin. Take pride in taking care of your skin and it will thank you.
How will expired products affect me?
You often won’t notice a difference in the product itself but it is possible that over time the texture or even smell might change. We don’t have any shares in expensive make-up companies before you ask, so no we won’t benefit from you replacing your expensive products… you don’t just have to take our word for it though! Hadley King, M.D. is the dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa in New York City and explains: “The consistency of the product is going to change over time … They’re going to dry out, get clumpy and not apply as smoothly.” They can also begin to harbour bacteria, leading to lumps and bumps in your once-smooth skin. Hadley goes on to explain that sun creams and foundations containing SPF protection will not be as successful in protecting your skin from harmful rays once expired, in the same way that anti-aging and acne creams will stop doing the job you bought them to do.
Expired make up products can lead to skin irritation and an itching feeling after wearing them for a long time, as explained by the wonderful Hadley. “All of the molecules in these products can break down into something else, and you can have a reaction to it”. That annoying itching sensation can lead to redness, inflammation, rashes, or, in the worst-case scenarios, even swelling or blisters. Sorry for the nightmare-inducing facts… it’s scary to imagine, we know. But it’s so important that we protect our skin. We do, after all, need it for a lifetime.
Eye makeup risks
Many of us have experienced conjunctivitis at one time or another, usually after absent-mindedly sharing eye makeup with friends, but it’s possible for expired eye makeup to be the cause of infections and pink-eye too. “And what about my favourite red lipstick?”, you ask with panic in your voice? Swelling is the general risk. Sorry ladies, we know you might like the idea of having larger lips, but swelling from expired lipstick is not the ideal way to enhance your pucker.
In summary, taking the time to root through your makeup bag and lotions collection is essential if you want to protect your health and skin. It might be time for an expensive shopping trip but can we really put a price on our health? Apparently, yes we can… And don’t forget, the expiry date is not relevant until after the product has been opened, which makes it easier when you’re gifted with piles of bath products, moisturisers and make up galore on your birthday.