Your Beauty Cabinet: Know When To Hold ‘Em and Know When to Toss ‘Em


Organic and all-natural beauty products, we believe, are really the only way to go. We stand by the quote from renowned neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter, “If it can go bad, it’s good for you. If it stays good, it’s bad for you.” And not just when it comes to food. Our skin essentially “eats” the products we put on it (through our pores), so they better be clean and natural.

The only thing you do have to take into consideration with organic beauty products is that they have a shorter shelf life (as all fresh things do). Sure, you may be able to keep your conventional products longer, but with the scary side effects of some of the chemicals, preservatives and questionable ingredients in many beauty products, it’s well worth it to buy all-natural, preferably organic products.

We’ve created this list as a general guide for expirations dates when it comes to these high quality products. Some things are pretty common sense like doing the “sniff test” to see if it smells a bit off. You can also take a look to see if any product changes consistency, seems discolored or looks “caked up.” However, it’s possible to have a product expire without any noticeable changes to the smell, color or consistency.

Many companies like Eminence Organics will list the recommended amount of time to use a product. On their website, for example, it states that most of their products expire within 12 months or less. Some products even feature an expiration date on the packaging, but if not, here are the guidelines for when to toss:

  • Shampoos and conditioners – 1 year
  • Soaps and bath gels – 1 year
  • Facial Moisturizers – 6 months
  • Body lotions – 6 months.
  • Deodorant – 6 months
  • Sunscreen – all sunscreens have an expiration date on their labels.
  • Mascara – 2-3 months
  • Eye creams – 2-3 months
  • Eye shadow – 2-3 months
  • Lip balm – 6 months
  • Lipstick – 6 months-1 year
  • Powders – 6 month-1year
  • loofahs and sponges – 2-6 weeks
  • Skin creams, moisturizers, sunscreen, anti-aging/anti-acne products, liquid foundation, liquid concealer – 6 months – 1 year
  • Hair styling products, shaving cream, toothpaste, perfume, cologne, nail polish – 1 year.
  • Cleansers – 1 year

Tips for staying safe with your beauty products:

1. Wash your hands before dipping into any products like lip balm or cream or even better, use an applicator, cotton or q-tip instead.
2. Choose products that come with a pump as opposed to an open jar or bottle that may get contaminated and cause more oxidation of the product.
3. Avoid these ‘red flag’ ingredients:

  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Hydroquinone
  • Synthetic fragrance
  • Formaldehyde
  • 1,4 dioxane
  • PEG
  • Sulfates
  • Nanoparticles
  • Chemical sunscreens
  • Talc
  • Toluene
  • Lead
  • Parabens

4. Protect your products by keeping them away from heat, steam or sunlight and keep them in cool, dark cabinets or drawers.
5. Note a product’s P.A.O. (period after opening). 6M (for example) next to an open jar symbol means toss after 6 months of opening the product.
6. Avoid sharing your products with others.
7. Notice any changes in the smell, color or consistency.
8. Never add water or saliva to re-moisten products.

Keep in mind these are not hard and fast rules, but more of a general rule of thumb. Use common sense when caring for your products and your body, and when in doubt toss ’em! Remember, your body is your temple so treat it with organic love.

Bess O'Connor

Bess O’Connor is a Certified Holistic Health and Ayurvedic Practitioner with over a decade of experience. She is a devoted wife and Mother to 4 magical children. She plans on reaching samadhi and ascending into a higher plane of existence during this lifetime and the next.

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team
Latest posts by Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team (see all)

Comments are closed.