How to Tell if Your Cosmetic Product Has Expired
As the owner of a cosmetic company I get this question all of the time. How do you tell if your cosmetic product has expired? Cosmetic products do not have expiration dates on them, like food products do, so you can not go by that. The way to tell if your lotion has gone bad is to use your senses.
Sight: First look at your cosmetic product. Does your face cleanser have visible mold or other growth? If so toss it. Most cosmetics contain preservatives to help control bacteria, mold and fungus from growing in them. Preservatives are usually put in products at a rate of around 1%. That is not much compared to 99% of ingredients in products that are not preservatives, but it is enough to keep the product safe to use. If your product does not contain preservatives it will go bad at a much faster rate. Also, if your product contains dyes you might not be able to see the bad things growing in your lotion.
The second thing to look for in your cosmetics is if the product has separated. When making cosmetics often times ingredients are added that do not want to stay mixed together, such as oil and water. Ingredient called emulsifiers are added to mix the oil and water together. Stabilizers are then added to keep the liquids in an emulsified state. Stabilizers also keep the product in its proper pH balanced state. If a cosmetic product has separated, either the emulsifier or the stabilizer has gone bad. This means that your product is no longer in a pH balanced state and could be very harmful for your skin if used. Do not just mix the product back together, instead toss it.
Smell: Now that you have done a visual on your cosmetic product you need to smell the products. Is there an unusual odor, does it smell old or bad? Does it smell a bit like rancid oil? These are all signs that your product is not at its peak and should be tossed. It could mean that your product is breaking down and there is unwanted growth in your night cream. Toss it. One problem with this test is that many cosmetic products contain perfume or a masking fragrance which will hide the smell of a product gone bad. I prefer to use products without added fragrance and this is one of the reasons why.
Touch: Is your lotion gritty or slimy when it is not supposed to be? Have you used this product many times before and now it just doesn't feel right? Trust your instincts, play it safe, and toss it.
Now obviously we don't want to taste our cosmetic products and we can't hear them talking to us, but in a way we can. Use your other senses when determining if your product is still good to use and let that product tell you if it is bad or not. Also use your common sense.
If stored properly, usually at room temperature away from humility, and if your product contains some type of preservative your cosmetic product will probably last for years to come, but just in case it doesn't you now know how to tell.
547 original words by Pam Carpman