I’m not going to beat around the bush with this post and instead dig right in much like I did Friday night with my chocolate mousse. If you’re already a fan and customer of natural beauty then you know that freshness is paramount to a vital formulation and matters very much. As a matter of fact, freshness is why we’re here creating products in an industry that has led many (myself included at one point) to believe you can store a bottle of moisturizer on a shelf for years and that it will still be as fresh as day 1. We’ve learned about the risks it takes to do that and how it affects our health and the environment around us. Natural beauty is different. Most products are specifically designed not to last years on a shelf. By that I mean some of your favorite LBF formulas (I’m going to reference our products, although a majority of what’s on the natural market share a similar stance) have 6 months to 24 months before the product becomes ineffective or downright bad. I hope I didn’t burst your bubble but, If you didn’t know it before please believe it now. There are some natural brands that brag and exaggerate claims in order to be on the top shelves of certain retail stores. Black bottles, blue bottles, UV protected do not matter because truth be told if you’re purchasing truly natural products without the synthetic preservatives (which divide the malady between “natural” and “conventional,”) your products already fall under a more fragile category and need to be cared for and stored with extra loving care. Why are some natural brands claiming to last longer than others? It comes down to the dollar. It’s what some retailers fear the most, discarding products because they haven’t sold or sold fast enough. Natural products don’t have the allure of “long lasting shelf’ life to these retailers and therefore there is an almost instant turn off because of it. You know what I say? Their loss and your gain! Fresher products made with high grade ingredients, integrity and natural preservatives work better. End. Of. Story. If only this was the bottom line in this huge multi-billion dollar industry.
It’s been a year since we’ve rebranded, which means products that are out there for sale with our old packaging are indeed, old. They have been sitting in a warehouse or store shelf for at least a year and if you purchase that product you are purchasing something that has been formulated or bottled over a year ago. Even if that bottle is unopened it may have degraded enough to lose half of its power and viability and depending on heat, light and humidity even more than that. Again, this is how naturals differ from their conventional counterparts. The contents rely on a natural preservative system, but even that system has a shorter life span than products made with synthetic preservatives. Now you may have purchased an old product thinking it’s fine and you’re excited to take it home and try it and in essence it won’t likely harm you, but what’s happening is your product is aging even more rapidly than a freshly produced product in part because it’s already been sitting around for a year. I’ve learned from reading customer emails, comments or speaking to my clients that many keep their face oils in a bathroom cabinet, cosmetic kit on a vanity table in their bedroom and this is causing degradation even further if the room is exposed to heat and light. You’re probably freaking out right about now if you’re guilty of this practice, but I’m going to help you figure it out. I promise and I’m going to help you understand how important it is to use your products during the Period After Opening” (PAO) date. (Not required by law in the US, but definitely in the EU.)
We are our own manufacturers. When we formulate a batch of any product we bottle it right away and store the bottles in a cold dark closet. We make small batches at a time so we aren’t over producing large quantities that will sit on our shelves for longer than a month. That’s right, we make enough to sell for a month at a time and then we quickly sell that supply! When we send an order to a retail partner we expect our retailers to sell to their customers within 0-6 months from the time their purchase enters their store. Our retailers take special care of these products preserving their intended life span and most of our partners sell quickly, which means you receive fresh products and begin to use them right away. Once you’ve opened a bottle of ANY product (whether that’s LBF or another favorite brand) the clock is ticking on its potency and effectiveness. How you care for products could mean a world of difference and I’ll share a few tips and tricks at the end of this post.
Our products are tested for bacteria, mold, pH balance, peroxide value, irritants and allergens, you name it. Again, this is not required by law here in the US, but it is in Europe and what’s good about clinically testing products is that you learn. You learn what you can do better and that these products are indeed “alive” and deserve to be treated respectfully, by us, our retailers and the consumer. For these reasons and from all that is required from a production stand point we are sharing the intimate inside scoop of making and selling natural products. As a creator I take great pride in our work and I want you to have the freshest product possible that works as it is intended for you. Last year a customer complained about a product that she believed had gone bad, we asked for the batch number (usually located on the bottom of every bottle) and discovered the product was made two years prior, but had just been sold to her! She was shocked that a retailer sold her something that old. Unfortunately, it happens and it’s unfortunate for us, for you and ultimately the retailer as trust is damaged between them and their customer and truthfully by us as well. When I found out that this happened to a customer I was extremely disappointed and then I was angry enough to take action and to stop this from happening again. One of the things we did was contact all retailers and offered another training. The second thing we did was create a “Certified Retailer” program. This means every retailer listed under our program have been trained and retrained, sell only fresh products and are hand-stamped approved by us. Lastly, starting at the end of March, 2016 we will provide a “Best Before” date on the packaging of our products. This will help remind you to use the product before the expiration date. You should feel confident that your purchases from us and our current partners are super fresh and healthy and effective to use. So keep shopping and ask questions. The customer that purchased the old product asked me how she could trust a retailer again and I told her to ask if she felt unsure. Any good retailer will have no problem to answer your questions because they are in this to supply you with wholesome, fresh and luxurious products and they know that education is part of the key to success for all of us. We stand by our retail partners and their commitment to you and natural beauty.
Here are a few tips and little tricks to keep product fresh and effective:
Don’t purchase products that are over a year old. They may not hurt you, but they sure as hell aren’t going to do that much for your complexion either. If a product smells “off” then it likely has gone bad and you should discard it.
Use a clean spoon instead of fingers to scoop out your masks and Rainforest Hydration Treatment. This avoids contamination from bacteria getting into the formulation.
Never add water to a formula to “loosen” or make the product last longer. Water is enemy number 1 and can harbor contaminants that will damage a formula.
Keep face oils and cremas in a dark, cool closet, shelf or room and keep away from heat and direct light. All products and bottles (even Miron glass) needs to be kept away from direct light.
Wipe bottles clean after use and keep pumps and caps free from product accumulating.
Use products within the PAO date. If the period after opening is 6 months make sure you use the product within this time frame for best results.
You can keep products in the refrigerator until ready to open and use. Not recommended for our manuka masks or hydration balm.
Keep travel kits and cosmetic kits neat and tidy with lids securely on our makeup. Often products that open and spill in cosmetic bags collect dirt and bacteria and can ruin a product.
Don’t share makeup.
Look for our “Certified Retailer” list coming March 1, 2016 under our page. All of our current retail partners will be listed and you can rest assured these retailers are the best of the best and hand chosen to sell our products to the public.
With pride and love,