When it comes to skincare products, you’ve probably figured out that natural is the way to go. Our skin is our body’s biggest organ and everything we use on it can affect our health in some way, so it just makes sense to use products that come from plants, flowers, or food.
In fact, it’s hard to find any major downsides to using natural skincare products. There’s the peace of mind you get from using ingredients you’d actually eat – like coconut oil and olive oil – rather than some unpronounceable 20-letter chemical, and there’s also the fresh scent imparted by natural ingredients like lavender oil that no lab-created fragrance could ever hope to imitate.
The main drawback – if you can even call it that – is the fact that natural skincare products don’t quite have the shelf life of their synthetic counterparts. The absence of preservatives means these products typically aren’t going to be able to hang around in the back of your bathroom cabinet for years on end – but that’s why we love them!
A shorter shelf life is a small price to pay to avoid nasty chemicals, but that doesn’t mean you have to toss your products on a weekly or even monthly basis. If you want to keep your natural products fresh for longer, here are a few things you can do.
Give them an environment they love
How long can you sit outside in the sun before you’ve had enough and need to head indoors? Well, your skincare products feel the same way about harsh conditions. A dark cabinet is the ideal place to store these products as heat, light, and moisture won’t be able to get inside.
If possible, choose a cabinet that’s not in your bathroom so the steam from those hot showers doesn’t affect it. Experts say the water from the steam can condense on the surface of some cosmetics and start growing mold – no thanks!
One of the great things about balms and sticks is their portability, but if you’re keeping this type of product in your bag or backpack, just make sure you stash the bag in a cool, dark place as well.
Some experts recommend keeping certain skincare products in the fridge. Yes, the lower temperature can prolong their lifespan, but there are other perks as well.
For example, if you’ve got eczema, keeping your anti-itch products cool makes them even more soothing when you apply them. And we probably don’t need to tell you how amazing it feels to apply a cool after-sun lotion to burned or irritated skin. This is also a good idea when it comes to facial gels or liquids with a thinner consistency; the cold can also help reduce puffiness and the appearance of blood vessels.
This might explain why storing products in the fridge has become a real craze lately – some people are even taking the sentiment to the extreme and getting a mini fridge for their bathroom!
Look for natural ingredients that protect the products
Whether you’re making it yourself or buying from a reputable brand like Dr. Doug’s, seek products that contain anti-microbial ingredients.
Coconut oil, for example, contains medium-chain fatty acids that possess antimicrobial properties, which means it can help protect your product from becoming a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms – and it has the same effect on the skin you apply it to!
Other natural antimicrobials include vitamin E and grapefruit seed extract.
Consider the packaging of your product and how you’re applying it. If it comes in a tub or jar, consider using a little spatula to scoop out the amount you need each time and clean it between uses. This will stop any germs on your hands from setting up shop in your product.
If it’s in a pump, squeeze tube, or spray format, there aren’t as many chances for bacteria to make its way inside.
The nose knows
Oftentimes, skincare products won’t have an expiration date as it can depend on when you actually opened them. From now on, make a habit of writing the date you opened a product on the bottom of it.
If you can’t remember when you first opened a product, just take a quick whiff of it and see if it smells “off”. Any unpleasant scent or change in color could indicate there’s a problem. You might also consider checking with the company who made it to see how long they recommend you use a product after opening it.
Although this can vary depending on the ingredients, here’s a general guide to the shelf life of natural beauty products:
- Body lotions: 6 months
- Moisturizers: 6 months to 1 year
- Deodorants: 6 months to 1 year
- Lip balms: 1 year
- Soaps and bath gels: 1 to 2 years
- Shampoos and conditioners: 2 years
As you can see, avoiding preservatives doesn’t mean you have to worry about replacing your skincare products every other week. If you store them properly, choose the right ingredients, and pay attention to how you’re using them, you should have no problem getting plenty of use out of your favorite products!