Cosmetic expiration date

Cosmetic expiry dates

Cosmetic expiration date

People are very sensitive about expiry dates. But, what do expiry dates tell a customer or a manufacturer? How is this field regulated and monitored?

All manufacturers of cosmetic products must follow EC Regulation No 1223/2009, which establishes rules that any cosmetic product made available within the European Union has to comply with. These rules seek to ensure the effective functioning of the internal market and protect human health.

According to EC Regulation No 1223/2009 all cosmetic products with a minimum durability under 30 months must show the expiry date on the product. For products with a minimum durability above 30 months, however, an expiry date is not required. Instead, the regulation requires the latter products to indicate how long after the date of opening they may be used without causing harm to the consumer.

We are talking about ‘Expiry date’ or “best used before end of”.date and the Period After Opening (PAO). Particularly, the use of PAO usually stirs up many dilemmas and may result in negative publicity among end users. However, we would like to shed some light on this issue from the point of view of a manufacturer.

Expiry date and PAO are discussed in the Stability Testing section of the cosmetics compliance process, a component of a product’s Safety Assessment. Both factors are evaluated during this process in an effort to ensure maximum safety for the consumer.

Expiry Date

Expiry date symbol

Expiry date symbol

A product’s expiry date (or “shelf life”) is generally accepted as the amount of time it takes for a product to cease performing as outlined or advertised. Essentially, this denotes the period the product is safe to use and will perform its function. Depending on the type and nature of the product, an expiry date can vary. This can depend on a number of factors:

  • How the product is used or handled (interaction with human bodies, bacteria, fungi, etc.);
  • Where and how the product is stored (temperature and exposure to light);
  • Whether the product can dry out or become too moist (change its consistency) over time;
  • Chemical make-up of the product, and whether that may lead to product separating into its various elements (stability).

Period After Opening (PAO)

PAO refers to the amount of time a product will remain stable and safe for human use after it has first been opened. As such, PAO is very much dependent on the scale of degradation a product faces, in the same way as the shelf life is. However, the scale of degradation in this instance is far more directly influenced by the first use or first interaction with the consumer (and the inevitable risk of microbial contamination therein).

PAO symbol

PAO symbol

How do cosmetic manufacturers deal with product expiry deadlines?

Let us tell you about our practice. We will deliberately not simplify it, so that you can get the idea of manufacturing cosmetics on a bigger scale, and that it is not same as cooking jam for home use. Especially if the manufacturer exports the products outside EU (to Asia, USA, etc.) it has to face numerous controls from national health inspections, as well as foreign country authorities. Exported products must be accompanied with all the relevant documentation and certificates that prove the product’s stability, absence of microorganisms or heavy metals and the claimed efficiency of the product.

When manufacturing a new product, we set down:

1. benchmarks for ORGANOLEPTICS tests. This include benchmarks for physical appearance of products (stability), odour and viscosity.

2. We perform MICROBIOLOGICAL TESTS, where our products must conform to the following criteria:

Microbiological controlCriteria
Total aerobic mesophilic microorganisms:

Escherichia coli:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa:

Staphyloccocus aureus:

Candida albicans:

Salmonella:

< 1 x 103 CFU per g or ml

Absent in 1 g or 1 ml

Absent in 1 g or 1 ml

Absent in 1 g or 1 ml

Absent in 1 g or 1 ml

Absent in 25 g

Microbiological control also involves performing Challenge tests. For these tests we artificially contaminate the finished product, and then evaluate the subsequent decrease of contamination, thus verifying the effectiveness of preservatives and ensuring that the levels are within the allowed microbial limits. The microorganisms used in the challenge test may be issued from official collection of strains from any state in the EU, to ensure reproducibility of the test, and those microorganisms are: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphyloccocus aureus, Candida albicans and Aspegillus brasiliensis.

3. TEST FOR HEAVY METALS, where our products need to comply with the following limitations:

Chemical control – Heavy metalsLimits
Arsenic:

Lead :

Antimony:

Mercury:

Cadmium:

Chromium:

< 3 ppm

< 10 ppm

< 5 ppm

< 1 ppm

< 3 ppm

-/- not specified

During product development we also need to make so called COMPATIBILITY and VISCOSITY TESTS, where we check the compatibility of the product with the packaging.

If product passes all the tests, we consider it safe for human beings. We start selling it, however, we still do all the above-mentioned tests on sample products (that we keep in stock) in 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, etc. months. Why? Because we are gathering extremely important internal information for ourselves; for example – how effective are the preservatives used, how active ingredients behave in time, how different packaging effects/ protects the products, etc.

For products that we have been producing for longer period, we make tests in case of special circumstances or once they get 24 months old – to make sure that they are still effective and safe for customers. If products do not pass all the above-mentioned criteria, we are obliged to remove them from the market.

However, if the products are not defective even after the expiry date, why should they be thrown away? On one hand, we all keep saying that we should start taking better care of our environment and our planet, live in a more conscientious manner, reduce waste, reduce CO2 footprint, etc, but on other hand, we are throwing things away just because some indicative expiry date has passed. And manufacturers are destroying completely usable products and polluting the environment because:

  • We cannot reduce the price, because that would devalue our brand;
  • We cannot re-label the products, as this is too expensive and time consuming;
  • It is not good for the company image, as customers are very sceptical towards expiry date extensions.

That is why the use of PAO is more manufacturer friendly. It allows us to behave in a rational and environmentally protective manner, but at the same time it requires us to behave consciously towards the end users. It requires us to make sure that products which are on the shelves are safe and adequate. We owe this not just to our customers, but also to our business partners – distributors and retailers. To everyone who trusts us.

We live in times where there is less and less trust among people and we follow guidelines as the ultimate Law. Don’t! When you have an expired cosmetic product in front of you, open it, smell it and try it on your hand. If a product has gone off you will know. Just trust your senses and feelings. Do not throw away products that are ok. Even if you get rid of them and do not see them anymore, these products are still (unnecessary) waste that must be processed.

Essentiq was established because the owners care for nature and our Planet. As manufacturer of natural and organic cosmetics, we strive to have as low carbon footprint as possible. This also includes responsible treatment of any waste. Therefore, we are not against discarding things until they prove to be useless.

However, to behave transparently towards our customers, we are preparing an application, where you will be able to enter the product lot number and you will see the product validity date. The timeframe in which each product can be used safely is documented with Certificate of Analysis that summarises the results of the above-mentioned tests.

Cruelty free product

Animal Testing in EU

Cruelty free productANIMAL TESTING IN EU AND ENTERING THE CHINESE MARKET

Testing cosmetics products and their ingredients on animals has been a controversial topic for a long time. Fortunately the European Union banned such tests in 2013.

Read more about EU ban...

Testing cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals was banned in the UK in 1998 and across the EU in 2013.

  • Since March 11, 2013 it is illegal to perform animal testing for cosmetics purposes across the EU, as well as market or sell cosmetics in the EU, where the finished product or ingredients have been tested on animals. The regulatory framework is part of EU Regulation 1223/2009 (Cosmetics Regulation) (former EU Directive 76/768/EEC).

As always there are some exceptions to EU bans, which of course allow for excuses when it comes to strict implementations:

  • Under the EU law, bans only apply to EU market – i.e. testing within the EU or sale within the EU.
  • The bans only apply to cosmetic products and ingredients which are only used in cosmetics.
  • The bans do not apply to all types of testing. They mainly apply to tests specifically aimed at consumer safety. Tests to determine if there is a risk to the environment (so-called ‘ecotox testing’) or worker safety tests are excluded.

At Essentiq we firmly believe in cruelty free product development and production as part of our company’s values and philosophy. In our opinion, values are not and should not be overlooked for sales opportunities. Values are a part of our ethics and integrity.

Many companies face a challenge to their values and integrity, when they are presented with the possibility of entering the mainland Chinese market. If you want to sell your cosmetic products in brick-and-mortar or on-line stores in mainland China, the Chinese authorities require that the products be tested on animals before being exported to mainland China. Those tests are done in China, but with producers consent. In theory, by performing animal testing in China for cosmetic products that are going to be sold in mainland China, you are not in violation of the EU legislation on one hand, and you comply with Chinese legislation on the other. Nevertheless, the question remains:  what about respecting your own values and ethics? What about maintaining your own personal integrity?

The producers that strictly adhere to their values enter the mainland Chinese market only by using the so called cross-border sales through Hong Kong. The sales amounts are of course much smaller, they can only be made on-line and directly to consumers with very strict limitations to purchased amount. Businesswise, this kind of approach limits the sales dramatically; however, by respecting your own company’s vales and maintaining its integrity you show what kind of a company you are.

Essentiq does not support or conduct animal testing for any kind of purpose (including worker or environment safety). We do not use ingredients that were tested on animals. Therefore, until laboratory testing of cosmetic products (vitro and vivo) are accepted as a basis for import to China, our products will be available to Chinese consumers only through cross-border sales.

Dry and Dehydrated Skin?

Dry skinDO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRY AND DEHYDRATED SKIN?

Most people do not differentiate between dehydrated and dry skin and consequently treat their skin with the wrong kind of therapy. So, what is the difference?

Dry skin is a type of a skin, while dehydration is a skin condition that can happen to every type of a skin. If you have a dry skin type, you need to add lipids to the skin, while for recovery or prevention of dehydration you need to add moisture and search for products that create some gentle layers on your face to prevent moisture loss. Let’s go into more details.

Dehydrated skin

 Dehydrated skin – lacks water, it is itchy, dull, and sensitive with tight surface. The skin is not necessarily dry; it only has a dried epidermis. Often, the skin is dried due to overly aggressive cleaning agents, weather conditions or inappropriate cosmetics used on a daily basis. The result is a highly dehydrated, dried epidermis. The skin is peeling on the surface, red blotches can appear, and there is a feeling of tightening. If you suffer from the above conditions, your epidermis is DEHYDRATED and your nourishing therapy should focus on moisturizing, protection from moisture loss and calming effects.

How to treat dehydrated skin?

In the morning and evening, clean your face with micellar water or cleansing milk. Cleansing milk should be washed off with lukewarm water, it is not necessary to wash off micellar water. Following that, apply the tonic with your hands and the intense moisturizing serum. The intensive moisturizing serum is initially used as a therapy (morning and evening). When the skin condition improves, it should only be used once per day. Your morning routine should end with application of a day cream, as it is very important that the skin is protected from moisture loss. Your night routine can be finalised with some nutritive creams with higher percentage of lipids.

We recommend using a face scrub twice a month to remove dead skin cells from the surface.

RECOMMENDED ESSENTIQ PRODUCTS FOR HOME CARE OF YOUR SKIN:

Dry skin

Dry skin – lacks oil (sebum), it is itchy, dull, sensitive with tight surface. Lower number of active sebaceous glands causes shortage of fat on the skin’s surface. Pores are smaller. The skin is extremely dry, rough and sensitive to weather conditions. There is a constant feeling of discomfort – tightening of the skin. The skin needs plenty of extra lipids to be added in order to achieve soft and supple feeling. Dry skin ages faster, therefore external delivery of lipids is extremely important. Appropriate nourishing therapy consists of products that soften you skin, delay ageing process, increase feeling of comfort and effectively protect against external influences (e.g. cold, wind and sun).

How to treat dry skin?

In the morning and evening clean your face with micellar water or cleansing milk. Cleansing milk should be washed off with lukewarm water, it is not necessary to wash off micellar water. Apply a tonic with your hands and finally apply a rich nutritive cream. We recommend using a scrub once a month to remove dead skin cells from the surface.

RECOMMENDED ESSENTIQ PRODUCTS FOR HOME CARE OF YOUR SKIN:

  • Cleansing Milk/Micellar Water
  • Moisturising Toner Green Lemon & May Chang
  • Some antiage serum – MAGIC serum, Antiage & Antiwrinke serum from PROLINE, Centella & Baobab serum
  • Face Cream for dry skin Immortelle & Avocado/Centella & Rose and MAGIC 50+.

 

Allergens in Organic Cosmetics

Allergens in Organic Cosmetics

Allergens in Organic CosmeticsALLERGENS  IN NATURAL & ORGANIC COSMETICS – WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW?

Natural & Organic products may be even MORE ALLERGENIC than synthetic ones. Natural & Organic products contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that are sources of allergens, naturally found in the plants.

The 26 most common allergens can be found here...

INCI NAMEORIGINCan be found in
ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONESynthetic
AMYL CINNAMALSynthetic
AMYLCINNAMYL ALCOHOLSynthetic
ANISE ALCOHOLSynthetic or NaturalHoney, essential oils of Anise, Tomatoes, Tahiti Vanilla
BENZYL ALCOHOLSynthetic or NaturalPeru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Essential oils of Jasmin, Apricot, Almond, Apple, Asparagus, Banana, Black Currant, Blackberry
BENZYL BENZOATESynthetic or NaturalPeru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Essential oils of Jasmin, Ylang-Ylang
BENZYL CINNAMATESynthetic or NaturalPeru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Copahu
BENZYL SALICYLATESynthetic or NaturalPropolis
BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONALSyntheticIt is a synthetic fragrance compound with a strong floral scent. It replicates the beautiful smell of the flowers known as “lilies of the valley”.
CINNAMALSynthetic or NaturalEssential oils of Cinnamon, hyacinth, Patchouli, Nutmeg
CINNAMYL ALCOHOLSynthetic or NaturalHyacinth
CITRALSynthetic or NaturalAllergen that appears in essential oils of lemon, essential oils of orange peel, essential oils of eucalyptus, grapefruit, orange, celeris, apricot, blackcurrant, grape, kiwi, mango, ginger, melon, plum, raspberry, rose
CITRONELLOLSynthetic or NaturalAllergen that appears in essential oils of lemon grass, essential oils of Ceylon, apple, apricot, cassis, blackberry, blueberry, orange, passion fruit, peach, rose
COUMARINSynthetic or NaturalWoodruff, Flouves, Sweet clover, Angelique, Berce
EUGENOLSynthetic or NaturalEssential oils of Clove, Allspice, Bay (Myrcia acris), Avens, Ceylon cinnamon, Laurel, Cistus, labdanifere, Basil sassafras, Basil Java, Cassie, Sweet flag, Carnation, Boldo, Cascarille, Galangal, Bay leaves, Nutmeg, Pale rose, ylang-ylang, marjoram, calamus, camphor, lemongrass, patchouli
FARNESOLSynthetic or NaturalEssential oils of rose, Neroli, Ylang-ylang, Lime tree, Tolu Balsam
GERANIOLSynthetic or NaturalAllergen that appears in rose oil, orange, palmarosa, thyme, verbena, neroli, lemongrass, geranium, hyssop, laurel, lavender, mandarin orange, lemon balm, nutmeg, myrtle, apple, apricot, black cranberries, blackcurrant, blackberry, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, geranium, rose, ylang-ylang
HEXYL CINNAMALSynthetic or NaturalEssential Oils of Cinnamon and Jasmin
HYDROXYCITRONNELLALSynthetic
HYDROXYISOHEXYL 3-CYCLOHEXENE CARBOXALDEHYDESynthetic
ISOEUGENOLSynthetic or NaturalEssential Oils of citronella, Essential Oils of Ceylon, Essential Oils of ylang ylang
LIMONENESynthetic or NaturalAllergen that appears in essential oils of: lemon, dill, common juniper, orange, verbena, neroli, niaouli, melaleuca, lemon balsam, pepper mint, nutmeg, myrrh, angelica, aspic, anise, bergamot, mandarin orange, bitter orange, caraway, celery, lavender, lime
LINALOOLSynthetic or NaturalAllergen that appears in essential oils of: thyme, lavender, pine, laurel, sour orange, marjoram, peppermint, lemon, orange, thyme, ylang-ylang, verbena, myrtle, neroli, coriander, geranium, lime, lemon balsam, nutmeg, lemongrass, basil, bergamot, rosewood, banana, blackberry, bean, blueberry, apple, apricot, artichoke, thyme, rose, palmarosa
METHYL 2-OCTYNOATESynthetic
EVERNIA PRUNASTRI (OAK MOSS)NaturalOak moss extract
EVERNIA FURFURACEA (TREE MOSS)NaturalTree moss extract

If one of the 26 substances in the chart is present in a product formula, producers are obliged to comply with the labelling requirements (rules) of the European Regulation that states (Annex 10 III entry 83 of the Cosmetics Regulation No 1223/2009):

The allergenic substances must appear on the label if:

  • The concentration is higher than 0.01% in a rinse-off product, e.g. shampoos, shower gels,
  • The concentration is higher than 0.001% in a leave-on product, e.g. creams, lotions.

If an allergen is contained in different ingredient of the product, producer has to add up all concentrations to verify the threshold and label the product in accordance with the rule above.

As a cosmetics manufacturer we often have to explain our decision to use a certain ingredient in a product. Very often people worry or complain about effect of certain ingredient, which they have read on the internet about. Unfortunately, the internet articles are not always based on scientific research, and often even the scientists do not agree on every aspect of an ingredient.

Lately there have been many open discussions about the harmful effects of BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL or LILIAL. In the past there were some articles published, stating that it causes hormonal imbalance or even cancer. We have noticed that recently many of those claims have been removed. So what is the extent of harmful effects of lilial?

Due to its floral scent butylphenyl methylpropional or lilial functions as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics and other personal care products. It is used in aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, cleansing products, hair care products, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, shampoos and skin care products. In most of the mentioned products lilial is a part of a fragrance. That must be clearly stated on the product’s label.

At Essentiq we take great pride in our products which contain 98–99% natural/organic ingredients, but as mentioned above, those contain certain allergens. When working with essential oils, it is hard to avoid them.  They are also part of fragrances, even if a fragrance is natural.  We use fragrances. In low quantities 0.2–0.3% of total product, mostly to cover the base of products and stabilise the odour among different bulks.  Within Essentiq products we only use IFRA certified fragrances. Some of the fragrances contain 2-3% of butylphenyl methylpropional, if any at all. In case that a fragrance includes butylphenyl methylpropional this means 0.004–0.009% of butylphenyl methylpropional in total product. If we strictly followed the EU regulation on labelling requirements, we would not be obliged to list butylphenyl methylpropional as an allergen for rinse-off products. However, we list all allergens that are contained in the ingredients of our products, even if the % is below the required threshold for labelling. The same goes for butylphenyl methylpropional which we consider as one of the 26 allergens, not any more toxic, harmful or skin irritating than the others. It just depends on every individual if he/she has a dermal sensitivity to a certain allergen and if he/she is aware of it.

The safety of butylphenyl methylpropional has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) Expert Panel. Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard was established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of butylphenyl methylpropional in fragrances because of potential dermal sensitization.

You can read the current valid restrictions on the use of butylphenyl methylpropional here...

Product typesFinished product concentration (%)
Hydroalcoholic-based fragrances (e.g. Eau de Toilette, perfume, Aftershave, Cologne)*1,42
Deodorant0,09
Make up products (e.g. eye make-up, make-up remover, liquid foundation, mascara, eyeliner)0.04
Face cream0,05
Hand cream0,05
Body lotion0,06
Hair styling0,04
Bath cleansing products (e.g. soaps, shower gels, rinse-off conditioners, shampoos)0,1
*Maximum finished product concentration for hydroalcoholics on shaved skin is 0,6

On May 10, 2019, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that butylphenyl methylpropional is safe at 200ppm when used as a fragrance ingredient in different cosmetic leave-on and rinse-off type products at the concentration limits proposed by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). However, it stated that the substance cannot be considered safe at the proposed concentrations under an aggregated exposure scenario, that is, if using different product types together.

We can assure you that Essentiq products containing butylphenyl methylpropional are perfectly safe for you and your family. Nevertheless we are still advising you to check the list of allergens in the product. Read INCI, especially ingredients marked as ‘*** Components from fragrance and natural essential oils’. And if a product contains an allergen that you are allergic to it, do not use it. Even if allergen appears within the safety limits, it is always better safe than sorry.