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How long do natural cosmetics last? All about expiration

caducidad de la cosmética natural

Think about this for a moment:

How long is the life span of a plant?

How long can you keep your salads in the refrigerator before they go bad?

How long does an apple last in the big bowl of fresh fruit on your table?

The same goes for quality natural and organic cosmetics. With cosmetics that are composed, for the most part, of natural organic ingredients, first cold-pressed vegetable oils and botanical essential oils.

High natural cosmetics are as precious and delicate as the beauty of a flower in springtime: they are captivating, they play their role with art and mastery, and they are ephemeral.

And although the life of a natural cosmetic is much longer than that of a flower, it is important to understand and respect its shelf life.

Remember that things well done, follow a slower cadence and out of convenience.

The shelf life of natural cosmetics can vary depending on several factors, such as the formulation of the product, the ingredients used, the way the product is stored and the care of the product by the buyer.

In general, natural cosmetics tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to conventional cosmetics that contain preservatives from synthetic chemistry, which are often harmful and damaging to our bodies.

High quality natural cosmetics, which have been formulated with botanical ingredients and do not contain synthetic preservatives, have a shorter expiration date, for example, our creams have an expiration date of 1 year and a half from their manufacture, conventional creams can have more than 5 years of expiration, even some do not expire if you do not open the jar.

On the other hand, once cosmetic products are opened by the consumer, natural cosmetic products such as face creams, body creams and facial tonics can last from 6 to 12 months once opened. However, this varies greatly depending on the product. This information can be found in the icon of the open jar, the number inside is the number of months that the product lasts once you have opened it at home:

icon expiration 12 months

Some products, such as pure vegetable oils, which we use in virtually all of our formulations, may have a longer shelf life due to their stability and resistance to microbial contamination.

As this subject is somewhat complex, we are going to debunk some of the myths that circulate around and explain the reality of the shelf life of natural cosmetics.

storage of cosmetics at home

Myths and facts about the shelf life of natural cosmetics.

To begin with, let’s distinguish the myths that have been created around quality natural cosmetics and the reality behind these precious and unique bottles.

First Myth: natural cosmetics do not expire.

Fact: All cosmetic products, including natural cosmetics, have a shelf life and can expire. Natural ingredients can also deteriorate over time and become less effective or even cause skin irritation if used after they have expired. Remember that the elements of nature have a specific life span and their rhythms must be respected.

Second Myth: natural cosmetics do not need preservatives.

Fact: Preservatives are necessary to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms in cosmetic products, including natural ones. The difference is that the preservatives used in certified natural products do not come from synthetic chemistry, nor are they endocrine disruptors.

Third Myth: natural products last longer than conventional products.

Fact: In general, natural products have a shorter shelf life compared to conventional products. This is because natural cosmetics tend to use fresh and less processed ingredients, which makes them more susceptible to degradation, and they also tend not to use preservatives from synthetic chemistry, so the expiration date is reduced, as explained above.

In addition to the use of authorized preservatives in certified natural cosmetics, at Saper we have found a sustainable and wonderful solution to improve and extend the shelf life of our products; we combine the use of preservatives of natural origin, such as bencyl alcohol, together with violet glass bottles, which not only better preserves the active ingredients of a formulation, but can also enhance its nutritional value. If you want to know more about it, we have written a complete article about the benefits of crystal violet.

Fourth Myth: You can use natural products after the expiration date without any problems.

Fact: using products after the expiration date can be risky, even in the case of natural cosmetics. The expiration date indicates until when the quality and efficacy of the product is guaranteed. After that date, ingredients may decompose, preservatives may lose their effectiveness and the product may become unsafe for use. It is best to discard products once they have expired and replace them with new, fresh products.

Like everything else in life, natural cosmetics have a limited shelf life and can expire. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, store the products properly (if you want to know how to do this, we recommend this other article) and discard any expired products to ensure their safety and efficacy.

cosmetic conservation at home

How to maximize the shelf life of your natural cosmetics?

And although everything has an end, there are also certain practices and tools that can help extend the life of a natural cosmetic.

  • Proper storage: store your products in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Light and heat can accelerate the degradation of natural ingredients.
  • Close containers tightly: be sure to seal containers tightly after each use to avoid exposure to air and microbial contamination.
  • Avoid contamination: wash your hands before using the products to avoid transferring bacteria. Use clean spatulas or utensils to remove the products, especially those in jars, to avoid contamination with your hands. At Saper, we always send a small wooden spatula, in order to better use our natural handmade cosmetics and not to damage its ancestral magic.
  • Do not share your products: avoid lending your cosmetics to others to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Avoid contact with water: while some natural cosmetic products may contain water as an ingredient, try not to expose them directly to additional water, as this can encourage the growth of microorganisms. Dry yourself well with an organic cotton muslin (like the one we have in our online store), use dry hands and/or clean utensils to take the necessary amount and immediately close the container.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: pay attention to the specific recommendations of each product regarding shelf life and any special storage instructions.
  • Observe changes in the product: if you notice signs of deterioration such as separation of ingredients, it is best to discard it even before the indicated expiration date.

Remember that, even if you follow these recommendations, natural products have a shorter shelf life compared to conventional products. It is important to be vigilant and use products before they expire to ensure you get the best results and avoid potential irritation or contamination problems.

Nature is wise: take advantage of its magic at its optimum moment and do not wait for its power to weaken to benefit from it.

shelf life of natural cosmetics

About the author
Picture of Victoria Sánchez
Victoria Sánchez
Soy una apasionada de la cosmética natural y ecológica, y creadora de la marca Saper Organic Skincare en 2011. Máster en Cosmetología y experta en evaluación y seguridad del producto cosmético. Mi objetivo es la belleza, la salud y la sostenibilidad del planeta. Para ello busco siempre los mejores ingredientes e investigo formulaciones de cosmética vegana, obteniendo los mejores resultados para la piel, cuidando siempre del medio ambiente.
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