Shelf Life of lavera Naturkosmetik

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The best before date (abbreviated as BBD) is familiar to us from everyday life, for example from grocery shopping. This date indicates until when a product can be safely used and maintain its promised efficacy if stored properly.

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What does the best before date (BBD) mean in cosmetics? 

It indicates how long a product remains stable and can be expected to perform as intended when stored correctly and kept unopened. It represents a promise of quality, ensuring that the declared efficacy and safety of the product are maintained until this date. This also means: The BBD is not a consumption or expiration date—it merely indicates until when the promised efficacy and safety of a product can be guaranteed with proper storage. For your cosmetic products, the BBD means that you can use them without concern until this date.
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Are there legal requirements in this industry? 

In the EU Cosmetics Regulation (KosmetikVO), there are two prescribed methods for indicating the shelf life of cosmetic products - we at lavera Naturkosmetik use both:
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Shelf life of less than 30 months = indication of the best before date (BBD)

If cosmetics contain very sensitive formulations that would not remain undamaged for 30 months, then a best before date must be indicated on the product or packaging throughout the entire European Union. At lavera, we use a sandglass symbol close to the date indication for this purpose. This date indicates until when the product can fulfill its original function and be used safely if stored properly and kept unopened.

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Shelf life of more than 30 months = indication of the Period After Opening (PAO)

If cosmetic products have a shelf life longer than 30 months, they must indicate the so-called period after opening. This is the timeframe during which a product can be used without concerns after it has been opened. On the relevant packaging, this is marked by the symbol of an opened cream jar with a number and the letter M (e.g., 8M for 8 months). For a cream labeled 12M, this would mean that you can use your cream for 12 months from the first opening. The manufacturer guarantees a product's integrity for this duration, provided that you store the product correctly, for instance, by carefully closing it after each use.
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Why can cosmetic products expire? 

Cosmetic products often contain water, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Once a product is opened and used regularly, germs, bacteria, mold, yeasts, and other microorganisms from the environment can come into contact with the content and lead to contamination – this can cause your cosmetic product to spoil. Such contamination increases the risk of the product causing skin irritations or infections.

Cosmetic products can also expire because their natural active ingredients degrade over time, diminishing both their effectiveness and their fragrance. Extreme temperatures or temperature fluctuations and UV radiation can also negatively impact the shelf life.

Additionally, you should know that lavera natural cosmetics avoid preservatives (according to the Cosmetics Regulation KosmetikVO). This means that we do not use substances classified as preservatives in the KosmetikVO (e.g., parabens). Instead, we employ alternative preservation methods.
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How is the shelf life of lavera products ensured?

As already described above, we at lavera natural cosmetics refrain from using preservatives according to the Cosmetics Regulation KosmetikVO. This means that we avoid substances that are classified as preservatives in the Cosmetics Regulation KosmetikVO, such as parabens. Instead, we use alternative methods to preserve our products.

The preservation of our lavera products begins with clean manufacturing in a clean environment using clean ingredients. The latter can sometimes be challenging with natural ingredients because we want to handle them as gently as possible. Therefore, we use natural preservatives like organic alcohol in balanced concentrations, ensuring it supports the shelf life without compromising the nurturing effect of our products or drying out the skin.

Natural essential oils in our products also contribute to their preservation, as they contain little to no water. Without water, microorganisms such as bacteria have no opportunity to grow.

The chosen packaging can also be an important factor in the longevity of a product: For example, a small bottle opening reduces contact with airborne microorganisms, as does a tube whose opening points downward.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Shelf Life

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For lavera products, if present, you can find the BBD on the packaging, often near the EAN code or at the bottom of the products. A small hourglass symbol on your cosmetics indicates the exact spot where the BBD is embossed or printed in the format month/year. The BBD on lavera products can be found at the following locations:

-Tubes: At the top edge of the tube (tube seam)
-Jars: On the edge of the label or underneath the jar
-Pump dispensers: Underneath the product or on the seal label
-Spray bottles: At the back on the edge of the label
-Deodorant rollers: On the back of the label
-Sachets (masks and samples): On the back, at the lower or side edge of the sachet
-Folding boxes: On the bottom
On our sunscreen in the practical pump dispenser, you can find the BBD on the back, on the seal label.
The exact date or duration of shelf life from the production date varies depending on the product and its ingredients.
Unopened lavera products are shelf-stable up to their BBD when stored properly. After opening the product, you should use it within a reasonable period and store it properly (more on this in this section). It is advisable to watch for changes in color, smell, or consistency, which could indicate that the product may no longer be good.

Products with a PAO (period after opening) symbol are shelf-stable for at least 30 months and can be safely used for the indicated time after opening (e.g., 8 months as indicated by an 8M label). After the BBD or the usage period indicated by the PAO symbol has passed, the functionality and safety of the respective product can no longer be guaranteed.
We generally recommend not using expired products.
You should generally not use expired products. Unopened products are shelf-stable up to their BBD when stored properly. Beyond that, the functionality and safety can no longer be guaranteed.
No, because the BBD refers to the time until which the product, when stored properly and unopened, is guaranteed to be shelf-stable.

Unfortunately, due to many different factors, this cannot be guaranteed in every case. Proper storage at moderate temperatures with the lid closed, the environment, the duration of use, hygiene during use, and the frequency of opening the product all influence the shelf life of products.
We use the PAO symbol in accordance with the requirements of the Cosmetics Regulation KosmetikVO only on products that are shelf-stable for more than 30 months. For example, our decorative cosmetics (makeup, mascara, and others) do not carry a BBD but a PAO symbol – this means that these products are shelf-stable for at least 30 months when unopened and can still be safely used for the time indicated on the symbol after opening.

Editorial note: It is not necessarily a disadvantage if a product has a shorter BBD. This means that the product is preserved only as much as absolutely necessary.

How to make your lavera products last as long as possible

First of all: How can I tell if my natural cosmetic product has gone bad? It's not always easy, but there are a few clear signs of your product's deterioration, for example:

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Tip for optimal storage of your natural cosmetics

 Store your lavera products in a cool, dry, and dark place and avoid exposing them to direct sunlight. Heat exposure can affect the stability of the formula and thus the effectiveness of the cosmetics. This is just one example, so you should consider several points when storing your sunscreen, for example:
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Importance of Hygiene and Proper Application

To enjoy your lavera products for as long as possible, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using them:

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Conclusion

You can see that the best before date (BBD) plays an important role in cosmetics. Like food, cosmetics can expire, for example, because their natural active and functional ingredients degrade over time, thereby diminishing their effectiveness among other factors. Incorrect storage (such as extreme temperatures, UV radiation) can also negatively affect their shelf life. Contact with airborne microorganisms, such as bacteria, can contaminate cosmetics, which can also lead to spoilage. To effectively extend the shelf life of your cosmetics, it is worthwhile to follow our practical tips on proper storage, application, and hygiene.

The BBD on your cosmetic product indicates until when you can safely use it unopened and stored correctly while maintaining its promised effectiveness. The determination of the BBD at our company is based on extensive tests to check the microbiological, chemical, and physical stability. In cosmetics, there is a distinction between products with a BBD (less than 30 months of shelf life) and those with a Period After Opening (PAO) indication (more than 30 months of shelf life). At lavera, we rely on natural preservation methods such as organic alcohol or essential oils.


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