‘Freshly blended’ might sound like the kind of thing you’d expect to read on a juice bar menu, but the phrase keeps cropping up in the world of skincare too. One brand at the forefront of this movement is Nuori skincare, and in episode 12 of our podcast, The Skinterview, founder Jasmine Bonnen joined Ksenia to help us figure out if we should be concerned about the freshness of our face cream.
First, the back story: Jasmine is something of an industry veteran. It was in her role in which she headed up the L’Oreal Paris business in Denmark that she had her lightbulb moment. “This was in the period where the European Union started to increase the requirements for the labelling of products,” she explains. “They wanted to increase the transparency and information available to consumers. The intention was that in 2010 we should have had all cosmetics show an expiry date or best before date like we have in food or medicine, which makes total sense.”
Take a look at the products in your cabinet: how many expiry dates do you see? Not too many, we’d guess. And that’s all because this industry-changing proposal ended up being massively watered down. “It was not a very popular proposal to the big industry players, because when you work with large complicated global supply chains, having to keep track of expiry dates is very difficult,” Jasmine reveals. “So not surprisingly, there were lots of lobbies in Brussels and they managed to change the wording of this legislation. The compromise was, if you manage to guarantee your cosmetic formula stays ‘stable’ for a minimum of 30 months, you can leave out the expiry date. Overnight, this became the industry standard.”
The thing is, like foods and medicines, cosmetic products do deteriorate, and they deteriorate much faster than the two and a half years’ wiggle room the legislation allows for. “Active ingredients break down in formulations very quickly due to oxidisation, which begins something the minute you blend the product, not when you first use the product; that’s a common misconception.”
It’s not necessarily about safety, but more a question of efficacy. If we don’t know when a product was made, if we don’t know how long it’s been sitting in a warehouse, or on a retailer’s shelf, then how can we be sure that it’s actually going to work on our skin? That it’s actually going to make a difference?
It’s time we unpacked the big red question mark currently hanging over product efficacy, shelf life and best before dates. For the full intel, you’re going to want to listen to our interview with Jasmine in full.