Monday, January 11, 2016

Yikes! or, Hashtag PoppyPurge

I've been messing around a bit on the makeup forums on Reddit, and a story one woman posted gave me a serious case of the creeps about the age of some of the products cluttering up attractively displayed in my bathroom dressing room.

Smart people already knew this, but it was news to me: most skincare and makeup sold in the U.S. have a graphic printed on them. It's a jar with a number, indicating the months the product is safe to use, once opened.

(Mind you, this isn't a hard and fast date, like you find on cartons of yogurt. So you won't get food poisoning, which can happen if you eat very old cartons of yogurt. Heh.)

Right then. Need a graphic? It looks like this:

As should be clear to the meanest intelligence, this jar would be good for 12 months. Seems pretty clear, right? But I never noticed these graphics. In my defense, these images tend to be very small.

At any rate, I checked a bunch of my products, and holy hell, people. For example:

This Elemis Refreshing Apricot Toner (which I hardly ever use because in my opinion, it's a little too apricot-y to be truly refreshing) has an expiration date of six months. And I bought it when I was on a cruise. Almost three years ago.

Out of curiosity and a desire to come up with material for my blog, I investigated, which is a polite way of saying I ran into the bathroom and checked every jar and bottle for the little expiration graphic.

I realize that this is a statistically-insignificant sampling, but if my bathroom is any indication, the more niche the product, the less the shelf life. Elemis and Le Couvent des Minimes give me only six months to use their shit up, whereas Estee Lauder generously allows me a full 24 months to kill off a jar of Re-Nutriv, her 1950s-era wrinkle creme that I bought because retro. Which just go to show you that chemicals work.

If you're like me (although there's very little need for that to be the case, as there are over 10 years' worth of blog posts here that will amply demonstrate why you're better off being you) your house is harboring a lot of "expired" skin care.

Mind you, they're not yogurt; you're not going to get food poisoning from them. But they might not be all that effective. They might have turned, even if ever-so-slightly. The sun protection, if any, might be minimalized.

And maybe you don't want to risk getting some kind of skin infection, like MRSA. Which actually can happen. According to Reddit.

Oh, and here's another way to determine that your product might be a little long in the tooth. If you go to the company's website, and the product is in different packaging:

image courtesy of Elemis

consider it God's way of letting you know that yours might be as old as Methuselah's mother.


  1. I regularly purge out of date products...and keep only what I use.
    That saves money too!

  2. Ah, Miss Poppy. It's so lovely to have you back.

  3. I must take a look ! Some on the shelves must be ready for the dustbin sadly :(


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xxx, Poppy.