How Long Do Skincare Products Last? | The Speak Collective

How Long Do Skincare Products Last?

By Team Speak
Jun 9, 2022

Most people probably don't think about how long their skincare products last. 

After all, it’s not food, and so the expiration date doesn't really matter, right? Wrong. Skincare products do have an expiration date, and using expired products can cause all sorts of problems for your skin. So how long are skincare products good for? Let's get right to it. 

Why Do Skincare Products Expire

Oxidation is a key reason why your favorite serum has gone off.

Repeated exposure to air, heat and sunlight break down the ingredients in skincare products. How the skincare product is packaged, used and stored can influence how long the skincare products are good for.

A water-based product like a moisturizer also contains added preservatives to help keep away harmful microbes. Not using or storing it as recommended by the brand may compromise the effectiveness of the preservatives.

An oil-based product may not contain preservatives but oxidation still causes it to go rancid and has that 'off' smell.

What Are The Guidelines For How Long Skincare Products Last

Generally speaking, most skincare products are good anywhere between three months to a year after you open them. After a certain amount of time, the active ingredients in skincare products break down, and the product can no longer be effective.

In some cases, using an expired product can even cause skin damage. So it's important to know how long your skincare products are good for, and to make sure you're using them within that time frame.

How To Tell If Your Skincare Products Are Expired

One way to tell if your skincare products are expired is to check the packaging. Most skincare products will have a symbol that indicates how long they are good for after opening, known as the period after opening. This is usually a little jar with an open lid and a number inside. The number indicates how many months the product is good for after opening.

So, if you see a skincare product that has a symbol like below, and it's been more than the indicated number of months since you opened it, then it's probably time to toss it.

Another way to tell if your skincare products are expired is to look for changes in the texture or smell of the product. If a product that used to be creamy is now watery, or if a product that used to smell nice now has an off odor, then it's probably time to get rid of it.

When in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.

3 Tips To Make Skincare Products Last Longer

We understand that sometimes it takes ages to finish a skincare product. Some tips to help them last longer:

  • Look for dark, opaque bottles when dealing with fragile active ingredients such as vitamin C or retinol to help them last longer
  • Go for airless pumps that minimise oxygen exposure. These aren't the most environmentally-friendly option. So if that's a concern, stick to pumps and droppers in glass packaging. 
  • Store in a cool, dry environment. Keep the skincare products away from direct sunlight and away from extreme temperature changes. A dedicated beauty fridge is not always required but find out her whether they're worth the hype for you.

Get Content Like This Direct To Your Inbox

Be the first to receive the latest updates, fun quizzes and other good stuff. Unsubscribe anytime.