Beauty Bible > Q&A > Q&A Skin > Use-by dates

Use-by dates

Q. What is the estimated life span of skin care products? Does it start from the production, purchase date or from when you open a product?

A. The life of a product varies – but for the past few years, manufacturers have been legally obliged to put a little icon on the packaging which tells you how long, after opening, the product should last before spoiling.  (As with so much that’s on cosmetics packaging, you may need a magnifying glass to see this;  we both keep one on our desks at all times and yes, it drives us nuts how tiny the print on packs is).  Basically, the clock starts ticking from the moment you open the product.  We wouldn’t recommend keeping something in the bathroom cupboard for years and years and then using it, but in general, the date is from when you start to use it.  We would always advise, though, not dipping hands in a product unless they’re scrupulously clean, to avoid introducing unwanted bugs.  And if you can manage to hang onto the spatula (we never can), use that…  (But be sure to clean it regularly.)

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