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Beauty products expiring dates guide

All you need to know to safely use cosmetic products

Beauty products expiring dates guide All you need to know to safely use cosmetic products

Does your beauty case overflow with creams, serums, eye shadows, lipsticks and eyeliner of different colors? One thing you should be careful about is the expiration date. Did you know that? Yes, cosmetic products also have a deadline and a maximum period within which they should be consumed once opened, just like food. The movement of clean beauty, for example, was born precisely to encourage the spread of a cosmetic consumption increasingly aware and informed: starting from the INCI but also reaching the ways of preservation of a cosmetic. But how to understand the duration or period of use of the product once opened?

It is very important to learn how to interpret the symbols on the label, which include, among other things, country of production, capacity, precautions and shelf life. About the duration, on the label you can find two types of information: the PAO and the expiry date. It’s two very different pieces of information, that’s why.

Many people think, erroneously, that a cosmetic product only expires if it is opened and actually used. It’s not like that. If the product is of less than 30 months' duration from the date of manufacture, the expiry date, that is to say the date by which the product is intact and stored under appropriate conditions, continues to perform its function and remains safe (it is marked "preferably use within" or accompanied by the hourglass symbol). If, on the other hand, the duration is longer than 30 months, then the indication of the expiry date is not mandatory; the legislator in this case requires the PAO symbol to be given, that is, the period of time that indicates when a cosmetic product expires, how long it is functional after it has been opened, how long it maintains its safety and efficacy characteristics and can therefore be used safely.

It is not uncommon to find cases of products bearing on the label both the expiry date and the symbol of the PAO. How to recognize the latter? It is indicated on the package with the symbol of the jar open and a number followed by the letter M, which indicates the duration in months during which it remains stable after the first use or after opening. Does that apply to all cosmetics? Absolutely: everyone, from creams to lipsticks.  Almost all make-up has a rather long PAO, unless they are completely natural products and without preservatives, but in makeup like that is difficult to find. Detergents, on the other hand, have surfactants that destroy the microbial load and therefore their deadline is very long. in principle, water-based creams have shorter Paos, because water helps microorganisms to accelerate their multiplication.

So how do we keep our cosmetics? Better to keep them away from light and heat, and possibly not touch them with your fingers. To do this, we can either choose to use a spatula or opt for products with airless packaging, or those that do not allow the product to come into contact with external agents, such as vials with pump dispensing. In addition, it is important not to share cosmetic products with anyone else to avoid contamination with a bacterial flora other than ours. It can also be useful to store cosmetics in the refrigerator, or even buy a mini-fridge. Be careful, however, storage in the refrigerator is not suitable for long-term cosmetics, because they are already balanced with active ingredients for storage. For sensory pleasure we can keep in the refrigerator those refreshing cosmetics or those more easily deteriorated, with storage times less than a month.

Just for makeup the speech is slightly different as it has a more chemical concentration. In addition, many products are powdery, thus completely free of water (earth, blush, eyeshadow) and therefore are microbiologically less easy to contaminate. A mascara, which has a water component, will last about 3 months, a powder, with water concentration equal to zero has a PAO that can reach even 11/18 months, depending on the results of the tests. Some lands are even 36 months old. When there is no water the product has a long shelf life. Lipsticks tend to expire after 6/12 months.