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What Does 'Best Before' Really Mean?

How to tell if your skincare is past use by date


Did you know there’s no legal requirement in many countries to put an expiry or best before date on skincare products? Yet, almost all skincare and cosmetics carry a ‘best before’ or ‘expiry’ date - so what do they really mean? 

When it comes to natural skincare, the shelf life may be far shorter or longer than the stated ‘best before’ date. If stored away from heat and direct sunlight, and kept closed, natural skincare may last quite a bit longer than its official use by date. Also, how it’s treated after it’s opened can greatly affect its use by date. Kept dry, clean, used with clean fingers and hands and closed tightly after use, it may keep for far longer than the ‘use by after opening’ indicators on the product (which is often 6 months). 

So, how do you tell when a natural skincare product is past its prime? Well, when it comes to truly natural products, you’ll be able to tell from the colour, smell and look. So, a moisturiser might smell ‘off’, appear a lot more watery than usual, or its colour might change so that it’s a lot lighter or darker than normal. We know well the changes in our products as we monitor them closely. Much like food, when the ingredients in your skincare are truly natural, without the addition of colours, fragrances or fillers, the product will tell you if it’s past its best! 

Unfortunately, in many cases it can be difficult to tell, especially if a product contains fragrance, colours or additives. In those cases, our advice is always; if in doubt, throw it out!