The short answer is, yes... skincare products have a shelf life.
However, the expiration date of most personal care products is not a specific date but rather a PAO, or period-after-opening.
It's very important to learn how to read the PAO and to check if the expiry date is past due, if you don’t, your skincare might be secretly going bad and becoming ineffective or even toxic right under your nose…
It’s tough to tell when skincare products are expired just by looking or smelling the contents, so read along to learn when to toss them.
So, What’s Wrong With Using Expired Skincare?
The problem with old products is that they can decompose. The ingredients can separate and cause problems for your skin. Bacteria can thrive in products past their prime, especially in hot, humid environments like your bathroom.
Products made with water (aqua) are especially prone to developing bacteria (if water appears on the label, you can be sure that emulsifiers, preservatives, and other chemicals do as well… this is just one of the many reasons why we don’t use water in our formulations)
How To Identify The Expiration Date of A Skincare Product?
Lulo products have a PAO, or period-after-opening date that is printed on the packaging. This information is a guideline to get the most out of your products and use them at their peak efficacy.
You can identify the PAO on the packaging with a logo that looks like a little open can with a number inside, this refers to the number of months in which we recommend using the product.
Keep in mind that the PAO starts to count when you open the product for the first time, i.e. the first time the contents make contact with air. After this period, products will lose efficacy and the risk of developing bacteria starts to increase.
How Can You Keep Skincare Products From Going Bad Too Soon?
Don’t open your products until you are ready to start using them. It might be tempting to open them just to smell them or test them, but keep in mind that their PAO (or expiration clock) will start right there!
Once you open a product, make sure to use it daily (or as directed). We calculate the contents of the container keeping in mind the directions for use (how often and how much you should use) and the PAO.
We recommend you use our products consistently rather than mixing with other products. There are several reasons for this, but sticking to today’s topic, let’s just say that you don’t want to let them sit around unused to expire.
If your products are in a twist top container instead of a pump, avoid dipping you finger in it to prevent getting bacteria from your hand into the product. Instead, use a skincare spatula to scoop the product into your hand.
At Lulo, we use airless pumps for our serum and eye cream, so there is no contamination risk. This allows us to use less preservatives while still offering a 6-month PAO.
The more natural the formula is, the shorter the PAO will be, in order to preserve a skincare product for more than 12 months, stronger and more concentrated preservatives have to be used, so be suspicious of skincare products that don’t communicate their PAO or that claim a shelf life beyond 12M.
For droppers, avoid touching the dropper probe with your face or hands, instead, let the drops fall freely on the palm of your hand and then apply on your face.
This is a good time to go through your cabinets, drawers, and counter in your bathroom and toss all the products that have gone bad or have been open for over a year… and when you’re done, come back to our store to restock on what you need!