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Love Your Skincare: 45-Day Returns

    TIME TO TOSS

    The Lovely Little Spoon

    Real talk, who has a drawer or cupboard filled with makeup and skincare products that are opened but you've hardly used? Who knows how long you’ve been holding on to some of these products? This is me. I love to explore and try new products, both experiments I've created and other brands that have something I find intriguing. Okay, the stock photo I used for this blog is definitely an exaggeration, but it's so easy to have cluttered bathroom shelves, drawers and vanities. If you think you could part with a few old items, then today is a great time to get rid of old skincare products.

    Let’s go!

    All skincare products have a shelf life and lose their effectiveness over time. Using old, expired and degraded skincare products not only leads to less than optimal results but also has the potential to cause skin irritation or even (rarely) infection. 

    Why Do Products Expire?

    Like food and medications, skincare products have expiration dates. Some of the primary reasons your products expire include:

    • Exposure to air and light can degrade natural oils and active ingredients.
    • Contamination from fingers or exposure to bacteria can occur with repeated use.
    • Changes in temperature or humidity can alter the product's composition.
    • Active ingredients can lose potency over time, reducing their effectiveness.

    Signs It's Time to Toss

    Check the packaging for the expiration date or the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol, indicating how many months the product is safe to use after opening. At aos, we attach a “Best By” sticker to the packaging of each product (usually on the bottom of the bottle or jar) that includes our batch number and expiration date. To ensure you know the date you opened a product, use a marker to write the date that it was opened on the product. While the PAO and Best By dates are good guides to use, also pay attention to any changes you notice in your products.

    • Change in Color, Texture, or Smell: If the product has changed in color, consistency, or odor, it's likely expired or contaminated and should be discarded. If you're unsure, please reach out to us! Send us a photo and we can tell you if a product is still safe to use.
    • Skin Reactions: If you experience redness, irritation, or breakouts after using a product, it may have gone bad or no longer be suitable for your skin. If your product has not expired but you have still had a reaction, return it. It is helpful to retailers and manufacturers when you let them know about any adverse reactions you’ve had to a product.
    • Separation or Clumping: If the product has separated into layers or developed clumps, it's a sign of degradation and should be replaced. Natural products may separate because the producer didn't choose to use an emulsifier. This happens in both our facial toners and serums, so if you're unsure, reach out to the brand before tossing.

      Note: The only reason you may want to keep a product is if you briefly exposed it to some heat. Who hasn't accidentally left a bottle of lotion or sunscreen in a hot car and then found it separated? I sure have, multiple times. Often, I'll simply shake or stir it up well and it re-homogenizes.
    • Lack of Efficacy: If the product no longer delivers the same results as when you first started using it, it may have lost its potency and effectiveness. Even in the best conditions, ingredients will eventually begin to deteriorate. Again, if you're unsure, please ask, we're always here for you.

    Guidelines for Skincare Shelf Life

    Cleansers: Typically last 1-2 years. Look for changes in texture or scent.

    Toners: Last about 12 months. Avoid if they become discolored or develop a strong unpleasant odor.

    Exfoliants: Last up to 1 year. Avoid if they become gritty or lose effectiveness.

    Serums and Treatments: Last 6 months to 1 year. Discard if they change color, consistency, or smell.

    Moisturizers: Last 6 months to 2 years, depending on ingredients and packaging. Watch for changes in texture or effectiveness.

    Masks: Last 6 months to 2 years. Look for changes in texture, scent, or color.

    Sunscreen: Lasts up to 2-3 years but should be replaced annually for optimal protection.

    Salves: Last up to 5 years. The wax and often essential oils in a salve naturally preserve the base oils from oxidizing. If you notice any hint of a rancid smell, it's time to toss.

    lovely little spoon


    Tips for Extending the Shelf Life of Your Skincare

    • Store products in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
    • Keep containers tightly closed to prevent air exposure.
    • Use clean hands or tools to dispense products to minimize contamination. The Lovely Little Spoon is the perfect tool to help keep your jarred products fresh.
    • Avoid transferring products into unsanitized containers, as this can introduce bacteria. For best results, wash the container with hot water and soap, then use a little vinegar to disinfect it and let it air dry.

    What About Skincare Products You Invested In, But Rarely Use?

    We all know the pain of spending a lot of money on something lovely and then watching it sit on the shelf. We often hold onto that thing because parting with it feels like such a waste. If may be a face scrub or mask you really like, but rarely get around to using, or a cream or serum that just isn't your favorite. I've run into this time and again and finally came up with a solution - I use these products on the rest of my body.

    Your face products work on the rest of your skin too. Often, a facial product that doesn't work for the skin on my face, works just fine on my arms and legs. Is your face cream too heavy and makes you breakout? Why not use it on your knees and elbows? That expensive anti-aging face serum that you just don't love the smell of? Try it on your thighs or wherever you want to see some anti-aging benefits.

    The Takeaway

    Knowing when to toss out your skincare products is important for protecting your skin. By being mindful of expiration dates, changes in texture or smell, and your skin's reactions, you can ensure that your skincare products remain safe and effective. Don't compromise your skin's health by using expired or degraded products. When in doubt, it's better to replace them and invest in products that will deliver the best results for your skin. Your skin deserves the best care possible, so don't hesitate to refresh your skincare stash when needed.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some spring cleaning to do. 

    Want to discover your skin type? Take our new quiz.

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    45 Day Love It or Exchange It Policy