It’s that time of year to spring clean, de clutter and spruce up your beauty products, home and wardrobe.
When I was a child living on Long Island, NY, I could remember how excited I would be when I would get off the bus and walk home and see that my Mom had put up that seasons decor. The spring cleaning was always the hardest preparation though, the windows had to be cleaned on the inside and out and all the curtains had to be washed, ironed and hung up. I love how the light color fabric on the curtains would blow and wave when the wind blew into the house. It always bought to mind, new life and summer break was getting closer.
While you are giving your home a spring facelift did you know it is a great time to clean out your beauty and personal products too? Yes, many products have expiration dates on them and they need to be thrown out even if they are not used up yet.
Let’s start in your bathroom, are you using expired hair care products and don’t even know it? It’s time to start thinking about throwing away some of those out dated beauty products you’ve collected from seasons past, it also includes shampoo and conditioner bottles.
Didn’t know these products could expire? You’re not alone, and it doesn’t help the FDA doesn’t make manufacturers label their products with expiration dates which means the whole process is voluntary.
According to the FDA website, they only look at cosmetics to see if there are color additives and if the product does what the label says. Does the shampoo de-frizz hair? Yes. What if that same product goes bad the day after you buy it? You may be out of luck, that’s under the FDA’s umbrella. It’s entirely up to the manufacturer to include an expiration date.
What can bad product actually do to you? At the very least you’re applying product to your hair that does absolute nothing. Over time the actual product becomes less effective and won’t perform as intended. For example, de-frizzing shampoo will do little to nothing for fixing the frizzies if the product is a couple years old.
A WORST case scenario is using that product on your hair and scalp and risking possible infection. Product goes bad due to contact with human skin and drops of water. Over time as the product deteriorates harmful bacteria gets into the bottle. To maximize the product’s life keep your fingers out of it. There’s less risk of bacterial contamination that way.
So how are you supposed to know if the product is actually bad? Extremely expired bottles of shampoo and conditioner typically smell funny or feel funny between your fingers. However, they tend to go bad before strange smells come about.
Always check to see if there is an expiration date on the bottle. The expiration symbol will typically be located near the products UPC and will display the drawing of a little container with a number inside of it, like 6, 8, or 12 or 24. That means you have 6, 8, or 12 , 24 months of use after you open the bottle, double that if you don’t touch it.
Here’s a look on the back of my shampoo bottle it shows 24 months that this product was good for.:
If there’s no label, a good rule is to keep unopened bottles for no more than 3 years and an opened bottle for at most 18 months. Anything after that you may be pushing your luck! To keep track of your date you can write with a sharpie when you opened it and then count up the months to see if it is still good.
Keep in mind this is mostly for your typical shampoo and conditioner products. If you are like me and use more “natural” versions the rules are quite different. This is because regular hair care products have additives and preservatives included to help extend their lives. Natural products forego these rules which means you have to keep a sharp eye (and nose) out for those expiration dates.
As for extending products’ life, try to buy items that are in spray containers or tubes. The less chance oxygen or water droplets have to get inside to hurt the product the longer your products will last. Also store them in cool, dark places when you’re not using them as constant light might further the deterioration process along Don’t leave them on a bathroom window its not good for the product and it just looks ugly from the outside.
Now go check your products it might be the reason why your volumizing shampoo doesn’t give you volume anymore. I also found the month expiration symbol on a body cream too. Now you can be sure your hair, body and health will have the protection it needs all year long!
Are you guilty of storing some old, expired and useless hair care products?