WRITERS, BLOGGERS, PROS AND PEEPS WHO KNOW THEIR BEAUTY STUFF
Time’s Up: Why You Need to Know Your Beauty Use-By Dates
Wed, 4 July 2012 12:28PM
This week was a pretty big one for me. Momentous, even. Because I finally relented and let my boyfriend move into my gorgeous, girlie bachelorette pad. Obviously I gave this very big step a lot of thought, not least because of the myriad accoutrements he comes with: books, speakers, musical instruments, big man shoes that take up so much room and, of course, Stuff That Needs To Go In The Bathroom.
Which meant only one thing, Primpers. To fit all his S.T.N.T.G.I.T.B. into my teeny little space, I had to do a Beauty Spring Clean. Funnily enough, going through my wardrobe was cleansing; chucking out loads of old books and magazines, cathartic; but when it came to parting ways with my cosmetics, it was weirdly hard. I kept talking to myself like a crazy old woman saying things like, “Oh, the lipstick I wore to that work ball five years ago,” and, “Look! That cleanser I used to love until it made me break out after I went to Bali.” Sad, actually.
But I had to get tough – so I employed a no holes barred approach. I called Dennille, the super-savvy Corporate Trainer, Education at The International Dermal Institute, for guidance. What could I keep? What had to go? Help!
Her advice was so user-friendly and, well, awesome, that I managed to cull my cosmetics collection by around half in an hour or so. And I didn’t even feel sad to see them go as her warnings about “contamination” echoed around my head. Eeew. So now I have streamlined cupboards (filled with boring boy things like deodorant and half-used pots of hair wax) and am armed with insider knowledge about beauty use-by dates. Which, of course, you need to know, too. STAT.
1. Beware suncare
“To ensure the full SPF stated on the pack, you need to adhere to the use-by date stamped either on the bottom of the product, or on the crimp of the tube,” warns Dennille. “Sun protection can’t be guaranteed after this date, and you may well get sunburnt if the product is too old.” Why? “Because the active ingredient in the product doesn’t remain as strong over time.” Fair enough.
2. Get tough on acne (products)
As with sunscreen, blemish beaters rely on pure active ingredients to do their dirty work, which become less effective over their lifespan, Dennille explains. “And if it’s a product you have to put your fingers into before applying, there’s a greater chance of contamination.” Yuck. The solution? Chuck ‘em as soon as you hit the use-by date, which you should find on almost all acne products. Same goes for anything that involves vitamins or hydroxy acids, Dennille adds. If they’re no longer potent, you won’t get the end result you’re after.
3. Know your P.A.O.
Beauty-speak for Period After Opening, this handy little stamp that adorns most products these days – skincare especially – will tell you how long your buy will last after you open it. If you haven’t noticed it before, it’s the little jar-shaped symbol on the back that’ll say something inside like 6M, 12M or 24M (meaning how many months you can safely use the product for; six, 12, 24 etc.). Gone over time? Best you bin it. “Products can separate, causing the texture, feel and aroma to alter,” says Dennille, adding that sensitive skins can be easily irritated by out-of-date beauty buys.
4. Be no-nonsense with makeup
If your foundation comes in a pump pack and you’re not dipping your fingers into it every day, it’ll last the distance in the same way your skincare does. However, anything that touches your face needs to be closely monitored. The biggest beauty bad guys? Mascara and lipstick/gloss. “When air gets into your mascara, it oxidizes and becomes unstable, which can cause infections in and around your eyes,” says Dennille. The wand can also pick up bacteria from your face and transfer it into the tube, where it causes the product to spoil. Lip products are similar. “The guidelines for these products are to keep them for three to four months only,” warns Dennille.
Now, Primpers: hands up who keeps theirs for longer than that? (*sheepishly raises own hand).
5. Un-opened does not equal untouched
So, you’ve bought a new moisturiser, say, and it’s sat on the shelf for ages because you were still finishing up your last one, which took forever. Proceed with caution. “As long as they haven’t been opened, products can keep for around two years, “ says Dennille. After that, however, they might not be effective. Why? “Manufacturers know turnover in stores is high, and that products won’t be sitting on shelves for long before they’re bought,” Dennille explains. And who wants a product packed so full of preservatives it’ll last a lifetime? Not me. Use the 24-month rule and if you haven’t cracked it by then, dispose.
6. Water is not your friend
Want to know the worst place you can keep your products? The shower floor. And while you’d never pop your makeup there, many of us store shampoos, cleansers, scrubs and the like down on those tiles. Stop. “Water or moisture can contaminate products and even cause them to go moldy,” explains Dennille. “Try to keep them up as high as possible – maybe invest in a shower rack – as the less water that comes into contact with the packaging, the better.” She adds that you should limit what you keep in the shower to avoid products spoiling. “Do you really need it in there all the time? If not, store it somewhere else,” is her sensible advice.
And there you have it, Primpers. My comprehensive guide to cleaning out your bathroom cupboards.
Will you have loads of things to throw away like I did? Or are you scrupulous with your use-by dates?
And, spill, how long have you kept a favourite product for, even though you knew it was long-since dead?
(I think my record is, gasp, an eight-year-old mini powder compact – but don’t tell Dennille…)
Happy cleaning! Until next week,
Posted by: Emily Taylor