Industry News

Cosmetic's Shelf Life, Display and More With Vonda Simon

Maggie Mulhern | July 10, 2011 | 10:32 PM

Vonda Simon, President of Seacliff Packaging, agreed to answer some of our most pressing questions about the packaging holding our most precious hair, skin and make up products:

1. What is the typical shelf life for the following items: foundation, powder, moisturizer, mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, shampoo/conditioner, and body lotion?

The typical shelf life is affected by the use of a paraben preservative system with the addition of a good anti microbial; if the preservative system is a non-paraben type system- (phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexyl glycerin) type system, the shelf life is reduced to 50-60 percent of a paraben preservative system. If an 'all natural' type preservative is claimed, it reduces the shelf life to 20-25 percent of a paraben preservative system. If no preservative system is used I cannot recommend any shelf life for the product.

The times I'm giving are based on the first parameter.

Powder: 3 years; anhydrous powder - 2 years, liquid powder- 1 to 1-1/2  years
Moisturizer: 1 year
Mascara: 6 months to 1 year
Lipstick: 2 years (if natural fragrance is used, 1year) ,
Powder eyeshadow: 3 years, anhydrous eyeshadow - 2 years, liquid eyeshadow - 6 months to a year
Shampoo/conditioner: 1 year
Body Lotion: 1 year

2. What is the ideal temperature for the aforementioned products to be stored at? 

It is ideal for them to be stored at a temperature between 40 degrees F to 70 degrees F.

3. Is there any way that salon professionals can extend the lives of cosmetics?

Avoid heat and direct sunlight--the cooler the product can be kept (so long as it's above freezing), the longer the product will last, just like anything with organic components. Sunlight kills color: A tester exposed to direct sunlight will fade in as little as 2-3 weeks; clear packaging should be kept out of direct sunlight.  Also packaging kept in a cool room but exposed to direct sunlight will get warmer than the room it's stored in due to solar radiation.  As far as testers are concerned, keep the components closed as much as possible as the product will also decay quicker if left directly exposed to air' open air will speed up the oxidation of the product.

(Photo above: Some of Vonda Simon's favorite packaging.)

4. What is the proper way to display cosmetics on shelves?

From a product integrity perspective, the product should be kept out of direct sunlight and kept in an environment around 70 degrees F. If you're using shelves I would imagine that you're displaying  like in a showroom.  If that is the case and the products are more for looking and not touching, you can leave them there until the color fades  and put samples for people to touch and play with nearby. Those samples can be kept closed. Swap out those samples whenever you want to or every 2-3 months.

If you're talking about displaying in a store,  you should design a point of purchase display that would ideally sit on a standard height and width counter (for a salon or nicer store); for a mass market or beauty supply you should design your point of purchase for a wall unit or concise enough for an end cap. Designing something for a shelf may be more cost effective than an entire- floor up display,  but it tends not to look as nice. Also the POP display brings more substance to the presentation than just leaving a product(s) sitting loose.

5. How much weight should a shelf be able to hold? And what is the maximum weight/size of a bottle for ideal retail?

The answer to the first question really depends on how strong the shelf is, as well as its individual measurements. For ideal retail in size, shampoos are ideally 8.5oz, 12oz and 32oz for back bar. Skin toners are 4-5 oz, skin creams can be 1oz and eye creams can be 1/2oz to give you some sort of perspective. On a retail shelf in a help-yourself-type of store, the maximum size is 9" overall on the shelf. With salons and with high-end skin care, it's more flexible.

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