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The shelf life of natural products

The shelf life of natural products

Happily, more and more consumers are purchasing natural products to look after their skin. But some are still shying away from ‘kind’ ingredients due to uncertainty around shelf life.

For these buyers, the benefit of having a long-lasting product can outweigh the benefits of the ingredients themselves. The good news is that it is possible have the best of both worlds. You can have natural products that also have a substantial shelf life, by applying some product knowledge and sound storage advice.

One of the key issues to keep in mind is that in most natural facial creams and lotions, the predominant ingredients are plant oils and water. When water is present, so is an immediate risk, over time, of mould and yeasts growing in the product. Any natural formula that contains water needs to be stabilised with an effective preservative. If it contains no water (a pure oils blend, for example), no stabiliser is required.

Preservatives help keep a product safe to use both before and after it's opened, and that's important given the environment most skincare is stored and used in. Bathrooms tend to be warm, steamy places - ideal conditions for moulds, yeasts and bacteria to grow in a natural formula.

Your best strategy to ensure adequate shelf life is be aware of your products' date of manufacture, and store them in a cool dry place.

All Evolu botanical skincare products carry a batch number, the first three digits of which will tell you the date that the product was manufactured. For example, ‘037034’ can be read as ‘03’ for March and ‘7’ for the last number in the year 2017. The final three numbers is our own reference for manufacture. This product would have a three year life span if unopened, until March 2020. The packaging also includes a symbol indicating how long the product should last once opened: '6M' indicates a lifespan after opening of up to six months.

Remember, however, these times are indicative and based on optimal storage conditions. Incorrect storage of a botanical or natural product can significantly shorten a product’s shelf life, especially if not kept in a cool, dry place, or worse, under direct heat, for example a sun-drenched bathroom windowsill. It is always best to check the recommended storage instructions on the back of your product and choose sensible storage alternatives for the safe keeping of your beauty essentials.

Remember that the stores who supply you with your products also have a responsibility to store the products correctly. If you do take a product home and it is either lumpy, runny, separates, smells off or growing mould then you should always return it immediately and have the product replaced. If an un-opened product has been sitting at home for quite some time then it will be difficult to return, so, by all means continue to take advantage of those specials...but please, avoid buying bulk.

Quick tips for a long lasting natural product:

  • Don’t take the seal off a product until you need to use it
  • Check the manufacture date before purchasing products
  • Store both opened and un-opened products in a cool dry place