Fuel PR: Cosmetic expiration dates – Why do they matter?

We all know food goes out of date, but did you know that so do cosmetics?

Nearly all consumers neglect expiration dates on their cosmetics, which is causing concern amongst skincare experts. The US National Institute of Health [1] commissioned a study which showed that 97% of people admitted to having used products which were well past their cosmetic expiration end date.

The PAO symbol (period after opening) is present on all cosmetics packaging, informing consumers about how long to keep using the product once opened. PAO symbols range from 6 to 24 months before the expiration date comes into play.

So why should we take any notice of cosmetic expiration dates?

Once opened, cosmetics begin to trap bacteria, increasing the potential for skin irritation, breakouts and infections. This is because expired products contain higher levels of contamination from pathogenic microorganisms. So the product, instead benefiting your skin, is in fact doing the complete opposite.

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It hurts us to throw away our expensive makeup, everyone understands that! But once they’ve gone past their expiration date, you’ll notice changes in colour or texture, which means that if you keep using them, you are risking infection. It’s especially important to be on the ball if you use organic products, as they tend to expire more rapidly due to their lack of preservatives such as parabens.

Here’s a quick guide on how long products tend to last once opened:

• Foundation – depending on the applicator, it should be discarded within 6 months of use; a pump tends to last longer, extending towards the 12 month mark
• Eyeliner – must be thrown out within 6 month of use, or you’ll risk an eye infection
• Mascara – it’s germ heaven, ready for eye infections to pounce – dispose of within 3-6 months
• Powder cosmetics – tend to last 1-2 years, though if you see pigment loss or it starts to smell – bin it

3 top tips for long-lasting cosmetics:

1. Always wash your hands before using any cosmetics – this will reduce the number of bacteria getting into the product. This is especially important for liquid-based cosmetics, as bacteria thrive in moist environments
2. Wash your makeup brushes regularly, as they hold bacteria for a long period of time. We recommend the INGLOT Makeup Brush Cleansing Palette and Brush Cleanser
3. Try storing your products away from sunlight, keep them cool and tightly close the lid after use to prevent bacteria from creeping in


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23590385

For further information please contact Amanda Li (amanda@fuelrefuel.com) Or Sophie Wheeler (sophiew@fuelrefuel.com) at Fuel PR.