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Keep it clean: how to look after your beauty products

Skincare products can expire, so avoid falling into beauty & makeup traps with tips to storing products, knowing when to throw them away & how to stay safe.

Read on as we explain how best to look after your favourite products to avoid falling into several common skincare and makeup traps.

Keeping your skin safe: avoid bacteria

Like any natural product, skincare has a shelf life. It sounds obvious, but always remember to wash your hands before applying product directly on your face. When it comes to makeup brushes, wash at least once a month using brush cleanser or baby shampoo diluted with warm water. Make sure to firmly close any jars or tubs of liquid-based products, including creams, moisturizers and lip glosses, as their higher water content means they have a shorter shelf life than dry or powder-based products. Finally, avoid pumping your mascara wand in the tube before applying on lashes. The vacuum of air this creates encourages the buildup of bacteria, as well as making your mascara dry out quicker.

Storing your beauty products correctly: why is this so crucial?

Placing delicate products such as eye cream, serums or organic face masks in the fridge doesn’t necessarily extend their shelf life. In addition, the cooling effect may help with sore or puffy skin, as well as symptoms of redness. Avoid storing makeup or nail polish in the fridge, as these products are intended to be used at room temperature - condensation can cause products such as lipstick to lose pigment and/or separate. Try not to keep your makeup on display in your bathroom, where the air is often humid - a cupboard or cabinet works best.

Getting to grips with shelf life: how old is too old?

So, how do you know when your products are beginning to go out of date? As mentioned above, water-based products, such as creams and serums, tend to go off quicker than powder-based makeup products. It’s important to follow the recommendations on the back of your product’s packaging, which are the results of specific testing.

Skincare products feature a PAO (‘period after opening’) logo with a number inside, usually indicating how many months the product can be safely used for.

Expert Laurie Jacquet, Scientific Communications Officer at Vichy, recommends making a note of when a product is purchased to avoid them becoming unsafe. Information regarding the ‘period after opening’ can be found on the back of the packet, usually resembling a pot following by a number and the letter ‘M’ (3M, 12M) to denote how many months the product can be safely used for - in other words, the ‘use by’ date. You may also find information regarding the product’s ‘optimal expiration date’ (‘best before’), which, while only advisory, is worth looking at when it comes to investing in a replacement product.

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