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prettypolly 06-25-2012 10:34 AM

Shelf life

I know the little jar symbols on products (toiletries, etc.) mean "use within x months of opening", but what counts as "opening"?

Is it literally opening the bottle/jar/whatever, or is it opening and actually using a bit?

Some products do not have an internal seal. So if you flip the lid of a "6 month" product to smell it, then close it again and don't actually use it for a few years, has it gone past its useby??

I know it's something to do with bacteria getting in but not sure exactly how this works.

Thanks for any help!

blulight 06-26-2012 02:22 PM

I think literally opening is meant (I could be wrong). Not just bacteria getting in is bad, even exposing product to oxygen (and light) is bad for it. Although I don't really believe if you open something just to smell it and don't use it otherwise, and it's stored away, it will go bad just because it was opened for a second. And then, there are some preservatives that have short shelf life, so whatever expiration date is indicated it could mean preservs expire by then...

I don't really pay attention to expiration dates, I use anything as long as there are no changes in consistency/scent/color. I only pay attention to how I store my products, I make sure they are away from light, heat and humidity, and everything is closed tightly. I never leave anything sitting there with a cap or lid off, and when I use something I close it immediately. When it's something in a jar I don't dip my fingers and use a spatula or spoon to get it out, always making sure it's dry; no water ever gets in into anything I use. I have many products that are a few years old, and expiration dates have long gone by, but because I stored them well they are still fine and I am using them with no problems. I have back ups of facial cleanser, cream, some oils and butters, and they are all in the freezer, everything that will have to wait a while until I get to it is there.

prettypolly 06-27-2012 10:30 AM

Thanks, I think that makes a bit more sense. So it's to do with air and bacteria!

blulight 06-27-2012 02:14 PM

I just did a quick search, one of the first sites that came up was, and according to it, yeah, air is bad for products because germs and bacteria that are in the air get in them, and it also said to discard even unopened stuff after 3 years.

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