Why plastic packaging can wreck a skincare formula

In any other context it would be downright mean to encourage judgementalism, but skincare is kind of an exception: in all honesty, it’s a really good idea to judge a skincare product by its packaging.

Here’s why: How long your serum or moisturiser lasts before it goes off (yes, that happens) depends in part on the packaging.

If skincare isn’t packaged and stored correctly, the colour and odour can change, and the shelf life shortens. Worse yet, all that antioxidant goodness you’ve paid your precious dollars for (here’s lookin’ at you vitamin C) is destabilised and rendered virtually useless if not stored in an air-tight container.

So what is ‘good’ packaging?

Glass. It beats plastic hands down. For starters, glass is natural and sustainable. In contrast, millions of tonnes of plastic packaging ends up as landfill every year (where it will take nearly 1000 years to decompose). Eco credentials aside, glass looks and feel so much more luxe than plastic.

But plastic is so much lighter and it doesn’t smash!
True. It’s also cheap, which is why many companies choose to use it. As well as being environmentally unfriendly, there are some really powerful reasons to avoid plastic.

Let’s run through a few: it can leach plasticisers into your skincare formula (and we certainly don’t recommend risking unknowingly slathering toxins on your body’s largest organ); also plastic is not always air-tight (oxygen molecules can slip through some plastics, which will affect the stability and shelf life of what’s inside). Glass is, by nature, superior as it won’t leach and is impervious to oxygen.

But doesn’t the packaging design also come into play?

Absolutely. A pump-controlled jar (the kind where you press the top down to dispense product, rather than taking off the lid and sticking your finger in) is definitely superior to a jar that you unscrew and open right up. Jars restrict airflow and that keeps delicate ingredients, like vitamin C, stable so that they don’t lose their wrinkle-busting power. A pump-controlled jar made of glass is the bomb.

Jars are more hygienic too, right?

Every time you dip your finger into an open jar, you contaminate the product, even if you have just washed your hands or you use the fiddly little mini spatula from the packet. That whole process of fighting off invading bacteria stresses the preservatives used and will make a product deteriorate more quickly.

Skincare has no place near windows…

…no matter how much that pretty glass jar looks oh-so stylish on your windowsill. We get it – it’s tempting to put your luxe lotion out for all to admire, but just remember that sunlight is the enemy of all skincare. Just as it damages our skin, UV can break down active anti-ageing ingredients like antioxidants, so it’s best to store your products in a dark, cool cupboard, even if it’s in opaque or dark glass. We can’t stress this enough: the less daylight your skincare sees the better.

How long will my serum or moisturiser last?

If you do the right thing and store it somewhere cool and dark, your skincare product should stay in peak condition (if you’re using it daily, or twice daily, it will be gone long before it reaches its use by).

A little disclaimer…

We’re passionate about packaging at Claire Hill! We’ve gone to great lengths to use state-of-the-art, eco-friendly glass packaging that keeps the precious contents as stable as possible, and that’s why we like to remind you to keep them somewhere cool and dark. That way you get the most out of our potent anti-ageing product right until the very last drop.

Can I reuse the jar?

Sure! Why not give it a second life? You could use it to mix essential oils with carrier oil, for example, or if you happen to grow aloe vera in the garden (an excellent natural Summer sunburn soother!), you can squeeze the gel into a clean Claire Hill jar and keep it in the fridge for a day or so for easy dispensing. It even makes a lovely minimalist, single-stem vase for a dainty little blossom to brighten your workspace.

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