We all use some kind of personal care product. From the soap we use in the shower to the foundation we use to create an even skin tone. Personal care products including cosmetics have become a part of our daily lives.  The use of cosmetics is an avenue for beauty enhancement by many and persons may pay exorbitant fees for their favourite “must haves” and that makes it even more precious to them.  As a result, it is quite pertinent that cosmetics  are stored properly and safely in order to obtain their money’s worth. Additionally, storing can affect the overall functionality of your favourite cosmetics as well.  Improper storage of storage of cosmetics may lead to spills, spoils and damage of products. Other effects such as stains, activation of allergies and pollution of the surroundings can also arise from our own habitual improper storage.  Cosmetic shelf life  can be viewed as “rules of thumb,” and oftentimes a product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if the products were not properly stored. This article will address the effects of storage and how changing our habits can help to get the most out of your favourite product.

Shell Life

Shelf life is generally considered the recommended maximum time for which products produce can be stored. The storage area for make-up may have an immense impact on the products’ shelf life and effectiveness. Frequent exposure sunlight can accelerate the breakdown of many of the essential anti-aging ingredients that your skincare products contain. Have you ever noticed this symbol on your cosmetics?

It states the number of months after opening that the product can be used. It is known as the period-after-opening symbol or PAO symbol is a graphic symbol that identifies the useful lifetime of a cosmetic product after its package has been opened for the first time.

Majority of products made in present times is being made to last (at least 30 months or 2.5 years). Durable cosmetics, those with a shelf life of at least 30 months, are in the majority. However, The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the USA stated that “The shelf life for eye-area cosmetics is more limited than for other products. Because of repeated microbial exposure during use by the consumer and the risk of eye infections”. Despite this small flaw, most cosmetic and personal care products are formulated to ensure that they are safe to use and have a shelf-life which far exceeds the normal time it would take to use the product up. Here are some typical expiration dates for products:

Securing the Goods

Majority of cosmetic users don’t give much thought as to where they store their products or the repercussions improper storage impose. Most persons normally store their makeup in their bathroom which is not necessarily a good thing. There are several places where it is suggested that make up not be stored. Namely: in the car, in the fridge, by a radiator, in the bathroom or on the windowsill. These are high risk places which may cause damage to your products, or the equipment itself or may lead to serious health problems. Cichowski (n.d.) wrote an article about some of the common storage mistakes that are normally made, their effects and corrective suggestions. They are as follows:

  • Storing products in the shower – Heat and humidity from the shower can cause ingredients in skin care and body products to break down faster. Not to mention that water can get inside and dilute the formula.
  • Forgetting to replace lids – Double-check lids are secure to prevent products from drying out and protect the formula from dust, debris and other contaminants
  • Storing products in a hot area or direct sunlight – Like the heat from the shower, the sun can cause active ingredients to break down. It is suggested to store products in a cool place to keep them at their best.
  • Putting makeup tools in a humid area – Makeup tools also need to be kept in an area that isn’t humid. It is said that a humid environment can cause tools to sprout bacteria and even mold. Therefore it is, suggested investing in a plastic box container with a lid and ensuring tools are washed every 15 day.
  • Storing beauty tools with other products – It is important to separate beauty tools and products. Mixing them together can cause the spread of product residue. Furthermore, delicate products like sponges and makeup brushes can get damaged. Therefore, have a separate compartment for tools and ensure that brushes are stored flat or with the bristles facing up so they won’t get bent out of shape.
  • Forgetting about the refrigerator – Some products actually benefit from being in the fridge because it helps prolong their shelf life. Plus, refrigerated products have a welcome cooling effect when applied. Before sticking products in the fridge, make sure the bottles are properly closed and that food is kept in a separate area from beauty products.
  • Putting products away dirty – Putting makeup tools away dirty gives bacteria the chance to form and spread. Similarly, don’t put away any products with hair, dirt or product residue on the caps, which could compromise the formula.

It is absolutely necessary to pay attention to how and where your makeup and cosmetics are being stored as it saves money, prevent skin blemishes, acne and improves their functionality.

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Consumers – Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Shelf Life. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm1240208.htm

Cichowski, H. (n.d.). 8 Beauty Product Storage Mistakes You’re Probably Making. [online] theFashionSpot. Available at: https://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/777761-makeup-storage-ideas/ [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018].