In college, I took a History of Cinema class as a requirement for my Media Studies Major. There was a particular film I watched that stuck out to me; the 1934 film Imitation of Life by John M. Stahl which centered around the success of an African-American woman named Delilah. With her pancake recipe, Delilah helped solve the financial troubles a white widow (and her daughter), who took her into her home to care for her young child and her home; in exchange she provided shelter for Delilah and her daughter Peola. Aside from the very hypocritical intentions of the white people to make money from her secret family recipe, there was also the words of the manager who help bring success to their small restaurant. He said the best way to make money out of the recipe is to put it in a box and sell it.
This is the same thing that has been happening in the Natural hair community. I remember five years ago when I went natural, how badly I struggled to find products that would tame my frizz and help my hair hold. We ALL know how the story begins with styling our natural hair; it seems like the beauty market is spitting out products for natural hair by the second. These small companies then reach out to bloggers, Instagram models, public figures and youtube Gurus to advertise their products and say how good or bad they are.
Let’s face it, even if a person says a product doesn’t work for them, they’re still going to say it MIGHT work for you.
But here’s something important to keep in mind that throughout the years I have completely disregarded; Hair Products EXPIRE. Is not only food products and vegetables that go bad, so do your hair products. Still don’t believe me, here is what I’m referring to:
These are two different Shea Moisture products that I bought which are labeled with an expiration date underneath. Although I gave good use to the Leave in conditioner, I barely touched the regular Conditioner because I purchased it to have an extra one for when I finished the one I had at the moment. There was another piece of information that I also disregarded from my bottle:
I was in complete disbelief when one of my friends pointed out this part of the product packaging (that every product should have) to me after I told her I didn’t understand why every time I wore makeup my face would get all greasy. She asked me if my makeup was expired, and I was completely dumbfounded by the question. Makeup expires? What? Since when? Why didn’t I pay attention to this before? Oh I know, I was too busy watching videos of people recommending them and spending less time using them. Even the girl at Sephora couldn’t tell me this when I was buying two to save me a trip going back there to restock.
I can go on with this post, but let me get to my point. The propaganda that is the internet completely hypnotizes us into trying out new things and making us believe that using the expensive versus the cheap will be better. We buy one product for one style, put it down and buy a new one for the next look and so on. Once we put it down, this product loses its shelf life. The reality about packaging is that once you break the seal the clock starts ticking. So if you buy a product that expires in 12 months from today and open it right away, it will be good until the end of that 12-month period.
As far as makeup goes, if the product is still sealed, it is still good. There are different theories on when to know, but you should always check the back of the product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is important to keep this in mind when you accumulate a lot of products because they may be past their shelf life. One good advice that I read after reading up on this is to label the product with the month, date and year that you purchased it or simply label it with the date it should be tossed. If you find that you have a lot of products nearly expiring, you can always mix them together so that you can use them all before they go bad. You can’t do this for all products obviously but anything like shampoo and conditioner will work just fine.
If you’re an online shopper, you can also look at your purchase history to see when you bought the product if it doesn’t indicate when to toss it. A good rule of thumb to use in this situation is, if a year has already gone by, just toss it.
This is the main reason I no longer wear make-up, because I used to wear it for special occasions only and later on I realized is better to focus on improving the health of my skin.
What are your ways of taming your inner product junkie?
Share in the comments below.