The Shelf Life of your Beauty Products

As you shop at the grocery store you’re probably keenly aware of the expiration date on the food products you buy.  This is, of course, because foods expire after a certain period of time, especially after they’ve been exposed to air or cut from their plants, in the case of produce.  Something you may not have considered is that your beauty products expire too.  Just like tossing old food to prevent bacteria and illness, you should discard beauty products once they are past their prime to avoid any negative reactions to your skin, hair and nails. 

The shelf life of your beauty products depends on several factors including their ingredients, their containers and where they are being stored.  Most beauty products don’t carry an expiration date because they are not regulated by the FDA, but some acne creams that contain drugs are required to list an expiration date.  Sunscreens also have expiration dates, usually within one year from bottling.  Products that “expire” will not always be harmful to your health or skin however they may lose their effectiveness, coagulation and texture.  In the case of scented products, they may not smell as lovely as they once did and makeup may loose its tint. 

Other times using a beauty product past its expiration date can cause bacteria to build up, resulting in more harm than good.  If you’re going to spend the money on a great beauty product, you certainly want it to work to your advantage.  Because you really cannot know what an expired beauty product may do to your skin, hair and nails, it’s best to use products within a specified window.  Foundation, powder and concealer last for 1-2 years as does lipstick and nail polishe.  Eyeliners, eye shadows and lipliners can last up to 3 years while mascara should be thrown out after 3-4 months.  Hair products should only be used for about a year after purchasing and fragrances can last up to two years. 

Most skin products last between 6 months to one year based on the aforementioned criteria:  ingredients, containers and storage.  Natural skin care ingredients such as plant-based superfoods, botanical oils and other phyto-nutrients tend to spoil faster, similar to natural foods like produce, meat and dairy products.  Also, all-natural products such as our Natura Veda Skin Care System do not contain synthetic preservatives that prolong the shelf-life of the product.  These ingredients, including any type of paraben, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate and formaldehyde, can be very harmful to skin and the entire body when absorbed into the bloodstream.  While they may allow products to stay on shelves for years, they do more harm than good to your skin. 

Containers make a difference in the shelf life of your beauty products due to potential exposure to air and contact with microbes.  Jars of skin creams and moisturizers or bars of soap are constantly being exposed to oxygen each time they are opened.  This reaction interferes with the integrity of the product.  Moreover, as you continually put your hands on these items and then to your face, potentially repeating the process several times in a row, you are introducing bacteria into the container.  Cleansers, moisturizers and skin creams in air-tight pump bottles, such as most of our Natura Veda products, are much safer and last longer.

All beauty products should be stored away from sunlight and in a cool, dry place.  The sun and humidity can affect specific ingredients.   Beware, some natural ingredients can become more powerful over time.  One example is retinol.  As the base of the product deteriorates, retinol strengthens causing skin to react differently over time. 

If stored properly, our Natura Veda products have a shelf life of approximately one year.  Because we use natural antimicrobial ingredients including many natural oils, our products naturally protect against harmful bacteria in the bottle and on your face.  Our products are also sized appropriately for ultimate freshness for use within 6 months to one year if applied regularly. 


Erin Stieglitz
Erin Stieglitz

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