Shelf life and the jar symbol

Published: 01-02-2017 15:57:18
Topic: Others

Shelf life and the jar symbol

Shelf life of Make-up

Within the European Union it is obligatory on makeup products to indicate how long the product can be used safely. The way in which that is indicated, depends on the period of time the product stays good in unopened state, also known as shelf life; the shelf life of the product if you would put on a shelf unopened and wouldn't use. There are three categories to the shelf life:

  1. Long shelf life: If the product stays good unopened (not used) for a period of 30 months or longer, it should be indicated how long the product can be used AFTER opening it. This has to be indicated by the 'jar-symbol'. That is a picture of a small jar with in it the number of months a product can be used safely after the product is opened.
    All products from Unity Cosmetics - except for the nail polish (see category 3) - fall into this category. Unused these products stay good for years, but once you start using them, the shelf life is limited. Usually shelf life is 24 months (24 months after first use), but for some products it's 12 months or 6 months. It is always mentioned on the product!

  2. Short shelf life:  If the product stays good unopened (not used) for a period shorter than 30 months, the ultimate date should be indicated with an expiration date (the ultimate date on which the product can be used safely). Most of the times this is done with the words 'To be used before Date X'.

  3. Unlimited shelf life: If the product stays good forever, even after using it for the first time, the shelf life does not have to be indicated on the product. This also applies to products to be used one-time-only. The Unity Cosmetics nailpolish belongs to this category, shelflife is unlimited.

The intent of this law is that the consumer has a right to know when a product can be used safely. For Unity Cosmetics this sounds logical and you can find the jar symbol on all our products – except the nail polish - so you know the number of months that you can use the product after first opening.

Do you have a product where no jar symbol is listed on and where no expiration date is on? Then that product has unlimited shelf life (in the cosmetics area, however, only few products are within this category!), or the product is not manufactured in the European Union, or the manufacturer is not adhering to this European legal regulations!

Doubts about the shelf life?

If a product shelf life is short and therefore contains a date (as explained in category 2), it is easy to determine whether a product is or is not safe to use.

But when a product has the jar-symbol, or no information at all, then it's not that simple: How do you remember when you first used the product? Most consumers have no idea when they have used their lip gloss or mascara for the first time. As a result, it is difficult to know if the product expired, because you need to know the date on which you have used the product for the first time. If you do not remember, just use your common sense:

  • If the smell, colour or structure of the product has changed, then it often means that the product is no longer safe.
  • If a product all of a sudden gives complaints while that formerly were not so, then that may have to do with the shelf life.
  • Liquid products in a closed jar with an applicator (or fingers) to get in touch with the fluid (creams, mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss) are particularly susceptible to decay. The shelf life of such products is often limited (that's why most mascara stay good for only 6 months) so be extra critical with these kinds of products. In particular, the eyes are sensitive to bacteria, so always take a close look to the structure, color and odor of such products!

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