It’s very tough to let your loved one go, especially if it is your favourite tube of lipstick or that volumising mascara. But like everything else in life, these too come with an expiry date – a time when you have to let go.
You might be tempted to hold on to that two-year-old jar of cream that you have used maybe once or twice, and kept away for later, but chances are that over these two years of intermittent use of the product has allowed bacteria and microbes to grow. So actually using those products can cause skin problems rather than solve them.
“I understand that it is very tough to throw away a lipstick that has been your constant companion or a cream that has given you great skin, but when you notice the tell-tale sign of a spoilt product then no matter how hard it feels, you must throw it away. Otherwise, you end up harming your skin more than you know,” explains Dr. Simal Soin, Dermatologist, and Founder, AAYNA Clinic.
This means that once a product is opened, the degeneration starts. So how do you know that your beauty products are spoilt? The first thing to notice is product texture and colour. If a product seems unusually discoloured, runny or lumpy then know that it is spoilt. For instance, you might notice a lotion (body lotion, body wash, shampoo or even conditioner) going runny, and feels different on the skin than it once did, then throw it away. Odour is your next indicator. Even beautifully fragranced products start smelling differently, or you get a strong smell of rancid oil as you open the bottle or jar means that your product is way past its usability.
In a makeup product especially a lipstick if you notice dots of oil on the colour bullet, and get a bad smell when you apply, then the tube is spoilt, throw it. In some cases especially products that come in tubes, the packaging can expand, or bloat, then it is a sure sign that the contents inside are no longer suitable for your skin, hair or body.
As a rule, products that contain water as one of the first ingredients have the shortest shelf life after opening. This is because water encourages the growth of bacteria and other microbes. Also, products that list plant extracts as active ingredients are also susceptible to bacterial contamination.
In fact, you have to be extra careful about products contamination with herbal products, and those that claim to have no preservatives. Products made up of almost no water such as powders last the longest – almost nothing can grow in these kinds of products, so they have a higher shelf life.
As a thumb rule, a skin care or hair care product has a typical shelf life of about three years without opening. A natural or herbal product has a shelf life of three months up to two years without opening. However, that changes once you open the product. Ideally, any skin, body or hair care product should be used up within a year of opening.
It is definitely tempting to hold on to lipstick, or liner because you may not find the second of the same after years of using this, but for the sake of your skin, it is not a sin to put them in the trash can especially if you have been using the same product for over a year.