How to tell if you skincare is fresh

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKINCARE IS FRESH… Plus what the expiry date actually means!

In Skincare hint's & tip's by Cheryl Wooodman3 Comments

Skincare is like sitting down for a 3 course meal, but instead of chomping down on it, you slather it on your skin. YUM! Great skin needs food from within and from outside. Like ALL good foods, when they are packed with yummy vitamins and minerals, they like to go OFF… and quickly. These goodness shots are just so FULLA energy that it can’t hang around and NOT be used. Its pretty obvious when a carrot or banana is waaaaay passed its best, but HOW do you tell if your skincare is?

Do you KNOW how to tell how FRESH your skincare is and when it was made? There's 2 different ways that tell us how fresh 'n active a skincare yummy is, these are the 2 ways to tell...!


You are probably VERY used to seeing ONE of the ways used to show when your skincare expires, and not so used to seeing the other. That’s because one has a lotta money benefit to the skincare companies, but might not be the best for your skin, let’s get to the grit lovelies.


This is THE most common way you will find an expiry date labelled on your skincare. This is the little tub symbol with a number of Months inside it, most of the time this will be 12M, for 12 months, but you can find ‘em as LOW as 3M, which a lot of face wipes are.

Period after opening date for skincare


This ‘period after opening’ or period after letting the product be born into your loving arms date is only HALF the story. What happens to the skin yummy ingredients BEFORE you open it? Essentially to get this little ‘pot-symbol’ on a skincare product, the lotion, serum, face oil needs to be tested as ‘STABLE’ meaning it doesn’t go yucky in the bottle for 30 months. That sounds like a LOOOOONG time ‘ey, that is 2.5 years. Your skincare yummies could have been made 2.5 YEARS ago – huh! This is a skincare companies DREAM as it means, they can take their time with supplying it to your local Boots, AND if it doesn’t sell for a while, they have 2.5 years before they’d have to SCRAP it.

This is why a lot of skincare products will contain a little of precious ingredients, the ones that go-off like an apple cut open, and a lot of stable and not so vitamin rich ingredients like Mineral oil, and Capric/Caprylic triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil). Time for a moment of reassurance, some precious ingredients have a short shelf-life of 6 months, BUT they can be made to last longer with anti-oxidants (that’s why you’ll find a little Vitamin E, aka Tocopheryl acetate in MOST skincare products) and preservatives. It’s also why you’ll find MOST skincare in bottles and tubs that you can’t see through, light, heat and air all speed-up the DEATH of your skincare yummy ingredients. As much as possible, skincare companies will try to put your skin reliable’s into a ‘homeostasis’ or as close to ‘cryogenically frozen’ as possible, basically make it cold and dark and it’ll die less quick. If you are a FAN of Grey’s anatomy, House or other medical drama fest, then you’ll be as qualified as a doctor *wink wink* in knowing why cold means you got more time to make something LIVE!

If your skincare has some active natural oils in there that do HAVE a short life OR there are oh so sensitive vitamins in there, then even though it might not do your skin any harm, the older it gets the less GOOD it’ll do your skin, because those actives, become less active. It’s like eating chewing gum!

PRO:TIP: Skincare companies HAVE to put a ‘batch code’ that’s like the identifier for the day it was cooked up! Usually you can use your 007 skills and make out the day that is WAS manufactured from this code. Look for numbers that look like a date code, like 1 NOV 2015 would be 01112015. Simples. *Take yourself back to your last supermarket sweep* Did you rifle through the milk cartoons until you found the one with the LONGEST best before date? #OhYourSavvy! Use those supermarket skills to grab skincare that wasn’t made yonks’ ago!


The expiry date that’s less common and more of a prized GEM! This guy will have a little symbol that looks like an hour-glass-sand-timer AND there will be an expiry date next to this (more like you find with food), it’ll be labelled with a ‘before you should lay me to rest date, or just a chuck me in the bin date’, like NOV 16 or 1 NOV 16.

Date of minimum durability, skincare expiry date


This one is less good for the company, because they might have to chuck it, if no-one buys before its good before date, aw how sad. This ‘minimum durability date’ should be worn with a badge of pride as it says, Hey! There’s a hella lotta goodies in here, all JUST for you AND we want you to get them WHILE they CAN do all their maximum goodness for you. #HellYes

The date of minimum durability takes into account that you CAN’T stop the aging, YO! This is probably something you learnt back in science class, when there’s a lot of energy somewhere it needs to ‘do its thing’, you can’t really hang onto it, it’s the law of everything eventually turning into the ‘norm’, like a floating balloon eventually falls back to planet Earth!

Your MOST likely to find a ‘date of minimum durability’ on organic and natural products, products with lower amounts of preservative in there, and sensitive products like sunscreens.

That’s all you need to know to be SAVVY as when making sure your skincare is SUPER fresh and a yummy drink for your skin. Look for the PAO (period after opening date) and then have a super-sneaky gander for the batch code/cooking date. OR make sure to take a note of when your skincare expires if there is a date of minimum durability with the hourglass booty on there.

Do you check the expiry date of your skincare?