Using expired product: A cautionary tale

Use out of date skincare and makeup at your peril. The effects can be nasty!

While throwing away that expired eye-wateringly expensive moisturiser that was supposed to change your life is literally money down the drain, you'll be thankful you did. If it contains active ingredients such as glycolic and fruit acids in that skincare preparation, after a year or so, the buffering agents in the can begin to evaporate, making those acids more potent and potentially irritating on the skin. At the very least, the skincare will be less effective.

Beware too of bacteria in products. Bacteria thrives in moist or wet environments, so a tube of mascara can be a breeding ground for nasties. While it won't kill you, a quick coat of mascara before a big night out can be a fast-track to conjunctivitis - pink eye. Conventional beauty wisdom suggests replacing your mascara every three or so months to prevent this.

You can be more flexible with powdered eyeshadows and some dry powder makeup products however as they are less likely to "go off" or be inundated with bacteria so quickly given the absence of moisture.

As for sunscreen, be vigilant and bin anything past its use-by date. Expired sunscreen will be much less effective and the result could be sunburn, premature ageing and - worst case scenario – possible skin cancer.

Look for labels and expiry dates on your products. Many - particularly those made in Europe, and sunscreens - have expiry dates or period-after-opening dates. If it says 12M on the packaging, for example, that means you’re good to use the product for a year after opening it provided you care for your product.

Read the manufacturer recommendations, but rules of thumb are to keep skincare and makeup away from air, sunlight and bright light, and in rooms at reasonably steady temperatures to avoid accelerated degradation. 

And if the beauty police ever see you spit on your mascara to lubricate it, they’ll confiscate that tube in record time.

Because Corbin Rd Restorative Cleansing Balm’s ingredients are natural botanicals only, including the naturally antibacterial ingredient coconut oil, the potential for it to go off quickly is diminished. Common sense decrees not putting your unwashed fingers into any creams. If you wash your hands thoroughly before using your balm daily, it is highly unlikely it will go off within a reasonable time.

That said, never, ever be tempted to use your Viteve™ Silk Exfoliating Cloth – the most effective way of removing our Restorative Cleansing Balm – more than once before machine washing. 

But the best thing you can do to avoid a cupboard full of expired products is to become a conscious consumer and subscribe to the beauty equivalent of slow food. This means, buy just one cleanser at a time and resist impulse-buying another one that sounds like the answer to your prayers until you’ve finished what you’re using.

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