A crash course in “Skin care/Cosmetics products care”

I am a religious Oriflame and TBS  fan. I have been using their products for skin care and make up for the past five years now, and I see myself not shifting gears to any other brand for skin care. My skin regime is pretty simple. Other than CTM (Cleansing, Toning and Mositurising), and the recently added body scrub(Yeah, dont roll your eyes…I am a mother to 2 kids. Having a head bath is luxury for me!) There are nights when I am so tired that I just want to hit the bed. And those are the days when I ditch my night cream, foot cream and hand cream. And yeah…I have done the beauty crime of not removing make up too a few nights. Shhhh..

But one thing I am extremely cautious about is binning my skin care and make up products on time. The practice I follow is that the moment I open a product, I write the expiry date, manufacturing date and package opening date (the date I start using the product, or open the lid) on the product package (the lid, the bottle, the tub). For eye pencils, kajals, mascara, liners and lipsticks, I cellotape the details written on a piece of paper, on the product. This is extremely useful as anytime I want to check, I have a ready reckoner.

As much as it hurts throwing away cosmetics, especially make up, (In the past, I have thrown almost new mascara and lipsticks) it is essential to make this a habit to avoid any chances of any infections. Not that one can lose eyesight if an expired eye pencil is used, but ya, a bad rash or an eye infection is definitely a possibility, especially if one has a sensitive skin.

I have also observed that it has pulled back my binge on cosmetic purchase. When you throw a 10%-used-almost-1000-bucks-spent eye pencil which the girl at the counter told you looks oh-so-awesome on you, it terribly sucks.

The longest (and the only time) I have kept a cosmetic is 20 years. No, it’s not a typo. It was a Poeme perfume by Lancome, gifted to me by my uncle when I was in the 5th grade. It smelt so heavenly that I was hooked to it. I was emotionally attached to it, I should say. When I threw it last year, it still had almost 10% left!

So, how do we ensure that we are using products which are safe? Most of the products carry the expiry date and the date of manufacturing. The problem gets resolved there. But some good brands are notorious enough not to mention it. Some mention it on a plastic tag, which gets removed when we want to use the product. Well, I recommend this (It works for me just right):

1. If it smells or looks funny, different, waxy or is runny, BIN it. Dont even think twice.
2. If you have not used it in the last 3 months, you will not be using it ever. BIN it. Sometimes I have skipped this rule, and given the product 6 months…you guessed it right, I did not use it.
3. If you do not remember when you bought it or started using it and the expiry date is not visible, either finish the product ASAP (provided rule no. 1 is not applicable) or if you are brave enough, BIN it.
4. As a general thumb rule:

  • Powders, foundation, blush, shadows, lipstick and lip and eye liners have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years (unless mentioned otherwise on the pack). Powdered products have a better shelf life.
  • Mascaras and liquid eyeliners have the lest shelf life of 3 – 4 months. (The product being liquid is home for bacteria)
  • Perfumes stay good for 3 years. 

The other day, I was unusually bored, and I ended up looking at my face wash more closely than normal. And I noticed a few symbols. Some I understood and some I did not. When I asked a good friend about these symbols, I realised there were other ignorant souls like me. I am just sharing one important symbol (relevant to the topic) which is most commonly found in skincare packages.

(image courtesy: google images)

The Period-after-opening symbol (PAO): The number inside the symbol signifies how many months can the product be used after opening the pack. Don’t get confused between PAO and expiry date. Expiry date is the date by when the product must be used whether the pack has been opened or not.

Eg: The expiry date says 24 months from manufacturing which is 1st June 2011. The product is usable till 1st June 2013. But if you have opened the product on 1st September 2011, and the PAO mentions 12 months. Then the product must be used only till 1st September 2012.


Using good products is as important as disposing them at the right time. After all, we love our skin, don’t we? 🙂
This ends gyaan for the day.

4 Replies to “A crash course in “Skin care/Cosmetics products care””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*