The Shelf Life of Natural Beauty Products

Reader Contribution by Susan Melgren and Web Editor
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One of the only downsides to using natural beauty products is that they expire sooner. Preservatives like parabens and phthalates keep conventional beauty products usable for up to two years, but natural products crafted without parabens could have a shelf life as little as three or four months.

At that time, the active ingredients start to lose their potency, and in some products, bacteria could even start to develop, which could result in rashes, breakouts or infections when these products are used on skin that’s irritated, sensitive or damaged.

Pay attention to the label on your natural beauty products. Manufacturers of sunscreen, acne treatments and moisturizers made with sunscreen are required to list an expiration date on their labels, and many shampoo and eye cream companies have followed suit. A symbol of a jar with a lid on will tell you how long from the date it’s manufactured a product is good, and a symbol of a jar with an open lid will tell you how long the product is good once it’s been opened.

To help extend the life of your natural products, store them in a cool, dark place, away from humidity, such as a medicine cabinet. Don’t store your products in the refrigerator unless the label says to do so.

Often, there may be no indication that the product has gone bad–no change in color, appearance or smell. In that case, follow these guidelines to tell whether or not your product is past its expiration date.

Sunscreen: good for two years if kept in a cool, dark location
• Shampoo and conditioner: good for two years; water can break down the product and shorten its shelf life, so be sure to keep water out of these products
• Moisturizer: good for up to six months, depending on the ingredients; herbal- or essential-oil based moisturizers are more likely to expire after three or four months
• • Deodorant: most effective for the first year of its life
• Body lotion: good for up to three or four months
• Lip balm: good for up to one year for tubes and three months for pots if resealed and kept in a cool, dry location
• Mascara and eye creams: good for up to three or four months 

Image: Photo By Kitch Bain/Courtesy Fotolia

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