One thing I love about natural skin care is it’s all about the senses. Sight, touch, taste, smell. Mainstream skin care isn’t about any of those things and it puts a barrier between the product and our natural instincts.
With commercial products the smell is covered up with fake fragrance and additives. Our senses are affected by how many preservatives go into a product to stop it from ever going off… and, in fact, it difficult to tell when a product has turned. There’s you using that product 2+ years after you purchased without knowing it’s ready to be discarded. There is so much added to commercial skin care that we can no longer rely on our senses to tell us if there is something amiss about the product or if it’s time to discard the product and get a fresh tub.
For all appearances natural skin care doesn’t last as long as mainstream products because it doesn’t contain all those additives to enhance some type of super longevity. The truth is no product is really meant to be kept and used beyond a certain time, usually within 12 months, and two years at most.
The beauty of natural skin care is you get to rely on your senses to tell if a product is still ok or if you need to purchase a fresh batch.
Sight: Use your eyes. Is it changing colour slightly? Is the product turning a slight yellow colour on the surface of the product?
Touch: Use your fingers. Is the product forming a slight hard shell on the surface or around the edges? Is the product becoming more soft or runny than it was before?
A customer recently talked to me about how her eye cream had formed a hard layer on the surface of the product because she’d opened it and used it a couple of times, ages ago, then left it. This hard surface is caused by oxidation – air getting to the surface of the product forming a hard shell or outer layer. It tells us this customer doesn’t have time to dedicate to her eye area and this product isn’t a suitable part of her skin care regime.
Taste: Use your mouth. Is the (lip) product starting to taste funny? Did the moisturiser you used on you face taste different?
I’ve told this story before, though I’ll tell it again. My husband kissed me once after returning from a long trip and when he kissed me I told him, “Your lip balm tastes funny”. Turns out he’d stored the lip balm in his hot car for the two weeks he was away. He hadn’t noticed but I could taste the difference. His caramel lip balm tasted tangy, sour. Time to discard and make a fresh one and not leave the product exposed to heat for any period of time.
Smell: Use your nose. Does the product still smell fresh, vibrant and lovely? Is their a tangy smell to the product? Does it smell like that old chip oil you’ve had in the cupboard for over 12 months that needs to be thrown out?
Note: an expired product (gone off, turned, gone rancid or oxidised) won’t hurt or damage your skin if you use it and don’t realise it has expired, although it will have lost some of its beneficial properties and won’t work as well.
- In the case of the hard layer on the eye cream, I’d remove the outer layer and still use the product so long as it still looks and smells good and I’d store the product in the fridge if I wasn’t going to use it often.
- In the case of the funny tasting lip balm, the oils in the lip balm had turned sour because they were exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time, this changes the composition and beneficial properties of the ingredients. It didn’t harm hubby or I to taste it (he is still alive and well) though it does mean the lip balm no longer had its beneficial moisturising properties and no longer tasted yummy.
So, when it comes to natural skin care don’t be put off by the fact that commercial products last longer and never go off (they do you just can’t tell), and don’t be put off by the fact that natural skin care doesn’t last forever, it’s not meant to.
Rely on your senses they way we did before all these artificial additives and preservatives came into play. Natural skin care is great in that it re-teaches you to rely on, experience and trust your senses. It teaches you what skin care is really about, that is: the joy of touch, taste, smell and sight of a luscious beautiful rich and creamy product.
It’s like eating an organic apple that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides, it might not look perfect or last as long, yet it id delicious and SO good for you!