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What Does the Shelf Life of Skincare Products Really Mean

Shelf Life of Skincare Products

We all know that our food products expire, but did you know that your beauty products do, too?

This is why it is important to throw out all your old skincare.

Many of our clients tell us, they are not aware that their skincare has a set shelf life.

If you have ever bought a product before and felt like it was going off, but are not quite sure what to do keep on reading, to learn about skincare shelf life, so you can “deep clean” your skincare routine.

Why you need to spring clean your products

Invisible bacteria can thrive in skincare products that are well past their prime, If you don’t throw away old products, they can easily become contaminated with bacteria and fungi and once applied to your skin, it can lead to a whole host of skin conditions including rashes, blemishes, and skin infections.

Preservatives are an essential part of the formulation.

Preservatives will help keep your products fresh. Sadly there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of preservatives, a subject we discuss in greater detail, in the article what are parabens. The bottom line – the reason they are included in your personal care products is to extend the shelf life and keep them fresh and your skin safe from microbes.

The shelf life of your oils

Although oils don’t go off in the true sense of the word, they tend to go rancid over time. You can always tell when oil has gone off just by the smell; for instance, Rose Hip Seed Oil formulas go off easily because the shelf life is concise. If you really like using Rosehip seed oil and want to extend the shelf life, a tip is to add Vitamin E to your oil.

The shelf life of botanical butters

If you have purchased a body butter and it’s been sitting on your bathroom shelf for a while, you may be wondering if it’s still okay to use, the good news is that butters, and waxes don’t contain water, so bacteria has nowhere to flourish, so the shelf life is really long. You still need to keep an eye on them after at least 12 months, because certain oils and butters will go rancid over time.


The shelf life of your product also has a lot to do with the type of packaging. If your formula is in an airless bottle, this will prevent re-contamination from fingers and also prevents air from being drawn back into the bottle, meaning it is far less likely to contaminate. Here at the Naked Chemist, we use an airless jar for our moisturisers and recommend decanting our balms with a spatula.

Unopened skincare products will obviously last longer than opened products; this is because they have less chance to be exposed to bacteria and microbes in general.

 Always throw away a product you notice has started to change colour, or if it begins to separate, or changes consistency, or mould appears because this is a clear indication it is going off.

2 thoughts on “What Does the Shelf Life of Skincare Products Really Mean

  1. Cindy says:

    Thank you for taking the time it must have taken you to put this site together for everyone. The knowledge you have been willing to share is invaluable information and it just goes to show, you’re never too old to learn something amazing!! (my son is 24, micro-biologist and single – e-mail me if you want his #) tee hee

    Anyway, bless you, young one for sharing!

    Warm Regards,

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