When to Toss Your Products and Start Fresh



When you make the transition to natural products, you realize pretty quickly that products have a shorter shelf-life than their conventional counterparts. While you can expect to see far better results in the health of your skin, you may have to be more conscientious of the expiration date than you were with conventional skincare and makeup products. But hey, there’s a good reason why we don’t want to rely on products that are chemically engineered to last for five plus years. Botanical products may not last as long, but they are genuinely full of active bioavailable nutrients that the skin wants and needs like essential fatty acids, real antioxidants, and minerals.

So how do we know when botanical products expire?

Some brands label their products with expiration dates or production dates, but it’s hard to know otherwise, so be sure to shop with retailers who are routinely getting fresh inventory from the brands they carry. Many brands offer specifics about how long their products stay fresh in their FAQ section. You can always contact a brand to inquire, and a brand worth their salt will let you know information specific to their products.

Without a doubt I finish every drop of most products before they have a chance to spoil. The reason is simple: botanical products work better for more skin types and skin issues. But admittedly, sometimes you get the wrong fit or a product just doesn’t excite you, and those wind up spending long months on a back shelf. If something has been hanging around for a while, it’s time to re-evaluate its freshness. Here’s some general guidance.

When To Toss Your Products and Start Fresh

  • Use oil-based products within 12 months of opening. Unopened oil-based products should last up to 18 months if stored properly.
  • Use water-based products within 6-9 months of opening. Avoid dipping your fingers or unclean beauty tools into the product to help it last longer.
  • While cleansers may be stored in the shower, avoid storing powdered products like masks and scrubs in the shower. The humidity and moisture will have a negative impact on the formula.
  • In general, makeup stays fresh and usable up to 2 years when unopened, and up to one year after opened. That said, many makeup items may last up to two years. If the color starts to change or the consistency of the formula changes, it’s best to toss it.

Remember that most products should be kept in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, heat, humidity and excess moisture. While natural products do have preservation mechanisms in place, be sure to use up those precious goodies you treated yourself to before they lose their potency!


*image Martha Stewart

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About Susannah Compton

Susannah Compton is the founder and formulator behind Florescent, a line of 100% botanical perfumes she blends in small batches from organic and wild crafted aromatics. Plant-based skincare and cosmetics are a way of life for Susannah, who writes about clean beauty and the benefits of botanical ingredients for No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and Integrity Botanicals. Florescent, however, is Susannah’s personal expression of healthy beauty. Susannah has been working with botanical aromatics for years, blending first for therapeutic purposes before delving into the art of perfumery. Having rarely experienced the depth and complexity of true botanicals in conventional perfume, she learned the art of blending and created what her heart desired — a scent that would move her the way perfume should. In search of those elevating, ethereal bouquets of scent, Susannah honed her skills behind the perfume bench. She launched Florescent in the spring of 2015 to share the lush experience and pleasing ritual of real perfume.